Which election poll was the best?

November 7, 2012

The numbers didn't lie: Even though some accused the polls of slanting too Democratic before the election, those polls accurately predicted President Obama's win. In fact, The Fix's Aaron Blake wrote that the results were even friendlier to Obama than the polls predicted. Nate Silver, a statistics guru who blogs for the New York Times, got a lot of grief for his predictions in the days leading up to the election, but he was quickly vindicated.

But which poll was the best? Fordham University released a ranking of the most accurate pollsters of the 2012 election, and one firm has taken first and second place -- Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling of North Carolina.


Poll workers review voter authorization forms and provisional ballots after the polls closed at the Covenant Presbyterian Church during the U.S. presidential election in Charlotte, N.C., Nov. 6, 2012. (Chris Keane -- Reuters)

Here are the top five most accurate polls, according to Fordham's study comparing predictions to results:

1. PPP (D)*

1. Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP*

3. YouGov*

4. Ipsos/Reuters*

5. Purple Strategies

Full list here.

Blake breaks down the demographics of these polls, and the election, thusly:

The electorate was less white (from 74 percent in 2008 to 72 percent this year), more Latino (9 percent to 10 percent), just as African American (13 percent to 13 percent), more female (53 percent to 54 percent), more low-income (38 percent making less than $50,000 in 2008 to 41 percent Tuesday) and — perhaps most remarkably, younger (18 percent to 19 percent).

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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