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Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate; Quinnipiac, SurveyUSA Performed Strongly
New York Times ^ | 11/05/2010 | Nate Silver

Posted on 11/05/2010 10:45:22 AM PDT by WebFocus

Every election cycle has its winners and losers: not just the among the candidates, but also the pollsters.

On Tuesday, polls conducted by the firm Rasmussen Reports — which released more than 100 surveys in the final three weeks of the campaign, including some commissioned under a subsidiary on behalf of Fox News — badly missed the margin in many states, and also exhibited a considerable bias toward Republican candidates.

Other polling firms, like SurveyUSA and Quinnipiac University, produced more reliable results in Senate and gubernatorial races. A firm that conducts surveys by Internet, YouGov, also performed relatively well.

What follows is a preliminary analysis of polls released to the public in the final 21 days of the campaign. Our process here is quite simple: we’ve taken all such polls in our database, and assessed how accurate they were, on average, in predicting the margin separating the two leading candidates in each race. For instance, a poll that had the Democrat winning by 2 percentage points in a race where the Republican actually won by 4 would have an error of 6 points.

We’ve also assessed whether a company’s polls consistently missed in either a Democratic or Republican direction — that is, whether they were biased. The hypothetical poll I just described would have had a 6 point Democratic bias, for instance.

The analysis covers all polls issued by firms in the final three weeks of the campaign, even if a company surveyed a particular state multiple times. In our view, this provides for a more comprehensive analysis than focusing solely on a firm’s final poll in each state, since polling has a tendency to converge in the final days of the campaign, perhaps because some firms fear that their results are an outlier and adjust them accordingly.

(Excerpt) Read more at fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: polls; quinnipiac; rasmussen; surveyusa
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1 posted on 11/05/2010 10:45:25 AM PDT by WebFocus
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To: WebFocus

2 posted on 11/05/2010 10:46:11 AM PDT by WebFocus
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To: WebFocus

Yet if the drivebys like the New York Times were to be believed from their pre-election ‘reporting’, the Republicans just won 100 seats in the House.

I find it absolutely stunning that this article implies a Republican bias in polling.


3 posted on 11/05/2010 10:49:36 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg ("I'd rather lose fighting for the right cause than win fighting for the wrong cause." - Jim DeMint)
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To: WebFocus

How do you accurately poll vote fraud?


4 posted on 11/05/2010 10:50:32 AM PDT by Fresh Wind (Good riddance to bad trash-Patrick Murphy is gone!)
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To: WebFocus

Nothing more than a hit piece of Rasmussen and Fox News. Nothing to see here. Move along.


5 posted on 11/05/2010 10:50:44 AM PDT by Bushbacker1 (I miss President Bush greatly! Palin in 2012! 2012 - The End Of An Error! (Oathkeeper))
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To: WebFocus

One cannot factor fraud!!


6 posted on 11/05/2010 10:51:11 AM PDT by sodpoodle (Despair; man's surrender. Laughter; God's redemption.)
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To: WebFocus

Yeah, they had such a good rep too.

And the Gallup enthusiasm gap was way, way off.


7 posted on 11/05/2010 10:51:31 AM PDT by mrsmith
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To: Colonel_Flagg

Then-it looks like- they give you a graphic showing the opposite


8 posted on 11/05/2010 10:51:34 AM PDT by SMARTY ("..discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you")
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To: WebFocus

This is just more reinforcement of the old saying that “figures don’t lie but liars sure can figure”!


9 posted on 11/05/2010 10:53:15 AM PDT by Bigun ("It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." Voltaire)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

Knowing the way some of those devious bastards work. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them pad the Republican numbers, just to give them a false sense of security so the wouldn’t vote.


10 posted on 11/05/2010 10:54:31 AM PDT by ImJustAnotherOkie (zerogottago)
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To: WebFocus

Would also be interesting to see how accurate the polls taken across the course of the campaign season proved to be. Sometimes pollsters know they are oversampling one party or the other, but correct it at the last minute so that studies like this one don’t expose them.


11 posted on 11/05/2010 10:55:32 AM PDT by babble-on
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To: WebFocus

lol....a rat wing hit piece on Rasmussen by the NYSlimes...

nowhere in the article or their calculations does it seem they take into account if the pollster correctly called the winner of the election- just the moe...

if PPP called the ohio govenor race for Strickland by +2 they come away with a score for this table of -4...

if Rassmussen called the race for Kasich by +7 he comes away from with a score of -5....

Kasich won by +2


12 posted on 11/05/2010 10:55:50 AM PDT by God luvs America (When the silent majority speaks the earth trembles!)
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To: ImJustAnotherOkie

The only poll that counts was the final vote results.


13 posted on 11/05/2010 10:56:34 AM PDT by Mouton
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To: WebFocus
rasmussen cost me A LOT of money this election.

I lost tons on the senate races and associated bets. I still can't believe we managed to lose wash, Nevada, west virgina, AND Colorado!

you'd think we would of won at least ONE of those based on Ras pre-election polling.

14 posted on 11/05/2010 11:00:28 AM PDT by TexasFreeper2009 (Obama = Epic Fail)
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To: TexasFreeper2009

Did you look into the INTRADE website, where people bet on the elections with REAL MONEY?


15 posted on 11/05/2010 11:03:12 AM PDT by WebFocus
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To: WebFocus

I don’t think people in glass houses should be throwing stones, as Nate Silver is here. His predictions were pretty off. He had a 2.9% bias in favor of House Democrats in his predictions.


16 posted on 11/05/2010 11:04:26 AM PDT by Chet 99
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To: WebFocus

The Times is always biased and inaccurate, what of it?


17 posted on 11/05/2010 11:05:32 AM PDT by edge10 (Obama lied, babies died!)
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To: God luvs America

Overstating a candidate’s numbers, even if the outcome is called correctly, is still biased polling. In 1996, the pollsters correctly predicted Clinton would win — but many were wildly off (in Clinton’s favor) on his margin.


18 posted on 11/05/2010 11:06:59 AM PDT by Chet 99
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To: WebFocus
Did you look into the INTRADE website, where people bet on the elections with REAL MONEY?

People who look to Intrade for insight are idiotic.

19 posted on 11/05/2010 11:07:11 AM PDT by Crichton
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To: TexasFreeper2009
rasmussen cost me A LOT of money this election.

Not trying to be a smartass, but did Rasmussen cost you a lot of money, or did you cost you a lot of money? Granted, it's possible that Scott Rasmussen held a gun to your head and forced you gamble. Just saying.

20 posted on 11/05/2010 11:08:17 AM PDT by GOPyouth ("We're buying shrimp, guys. Come on." - Dear Leader)
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To: TexasFreeper2009
rasmussen cost me A LOT of money this election.

Not trying to be a smartass, but did Rasmussen cost you a lot of money, or did you cost you a lot of money? Granted, it's possible that Scott Rasmussen held a gun to your head and forced you gamble. Just saying.

21 posted on 11/05/2010 11:08:25 AM PDT by GOPyouth ("We're buying shrimp, guys. Come on." - Dear Leader)
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To: WebFocus

Where do you think people who bet on INTRADE get their information?

I’d like to see a scientific analysis of the polling this time around. Rasmussen has received a lot of praise from Fox News for having nailed the 2008 election, but they booted some of these races, badly. Whenever the polls are so wildly different than the actual outcome our first inclination is to cry “vote fraud!” but the simpler explanation is that the polls were simply wrong, and we allowed ourselves to believe them.


22 posted on 11/05/2010 11:09:14 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: mrsmith

The lesson is not to trust the “likely voter” models if they are off 10 points from the registered voters.


23 posted on 11/05/2010 11:09:30 AM PDT by nbenyo
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To: Mouton

Kind of suspicious that the New York Times/CBS News polls aren’t listed for accuracy.

Hmmm. I wonder why.


24 posted on 11/05/2010 11:11:21 AM PDT by FloridaSunrise
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To: Mouton

Can you folks at FR please stop screening all of my posts?


25 posted on 11/05/2010 11:11:23 AM PDT by FloridaSunrise
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To: WebFocus

Union/urban voter fraud/intimidation of 3-4% for dems should be factored into any polling data to obtain any amount of accuracy.


26 posted on 11/05/2010 11:12:53 AM PDT by RckyRaCoCo
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To: Chet 99
I don’t think people in glass houses should be throwing stones, as Nate Silver is here. His predictions were pretty off. He had a 2.9% bias in favor of House Democrats in his predictions.

This.

Silver is a leftist with an agenda. Rasmussen's polls were fairly consistent with most public polling, including those of SurveyUSA, who Silver praises. Accusations of bias are ridiculous and his method of poll evaluation is poor.

Polls are a snapshot of public opinion at a point in time for the population surveyed, and should be evaluated as such.

27 posted on 11/05/2010 11:18:45 AM PDT by Crichton
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To: TexasFreeper2009
I'm stunned that we lost CO on the one hand on the other, it really was because of the Governor situation. That killed Buck in the Senate. With no "R" basically running for Gov and some on the left coming out JUST to vote against Tancredo, this cost Buck at least 2-4%. Which is why he lost.

We lost NV 100% because Angle was the wrong choice and then ran the completely WRONG campaign. She did not nationalize that election. She made it about her and Reid. If it was all about the national scene or all about Reid we win. Yet, she made it about her Vs him. We lost. Stupidly so.

DE. We lost because O'Donnell was a terrible candidate from the word go. She is just immature first and foremost. Plus it is a blue state.

WV. This one does surprise me. The silly "hick" ad the RNC tried to help out with I do believe is what cost us here though...

28 posted on 11/05/2010 11:19:41 AM PDT by SevenMinusOne
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To: WebFocus

Um, I don’t think this shows a bias in polling. I really don’t.

I think it shows the measure of voting fraud perpetrated by the Dems. No joke...


29 posted on 11/05/2010 11:23:43 AM PDT by piytar (There is evil. There is no such thing as moderate evil. Never forget.)
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To: Bushbacker1

The professional polling crowd has always had an axe to grind with Rasmussen. His method are not conventional, and therefore considered “unproven”. Most years he does quite well, but this was not one of those years. This will bring out his critics in droves. All but one of the studied polls had a “R” bias according to the NYT. This is understandable as all of the buzz was in the Republican direction this year. They didn’t perform as well as expected in Democrat strongholds probably because the dead are seldom polled, and the polls weed out unregistered voters who also tend to show up on election day or vote absentee.

Rasmussen needs to continue tweaking his methodology, but one bad year is nothing to get too worked up about.


30 posted on 11/05/2010 11:33:05 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: Crichton

“People who look to Intrade for insight are idiotic.”

Evidence? Even skeptics of political markets concede that the predictive power of sites such as Intrade GENERALLY is superior to reliance on political polls:

“Indeed, three days out of four, a poll will be less accurate than the vote-share market price at predicting the election outcome. Someone who played the vote-share market based on the expectation that the division in the latest polls would translate one-to-one into the final vote division would lose decisively in the long run.”
http://www.edwardtufte.com/files/MarketsandPolls.pdf


31 posted on 11/05/2010 11:35:06 AM PDT by DrC
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To: bigbob
... but the simpler explanation is that the polls were simply wrong, and we allowed ourselves to believe them.

Good call. The simplest explanation is ALMOST ALWAYS the correct explanation.

32 posted on 11/05/2010 11:43:21 AM PDT by TexGuy (If it has the slimmest of chances of being considered sarcasm ... IT IS!)
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To: WebFocus

I took a look at Rasmussen’s polls. By using 21 days, Silver got to throw in a couple of that were way off, but that Ras (and others) had fixed as election day neared.

Why didn’t Silver go back 4 weeks or 2 weeks. Because it would not have helped his already-made-up thesis.

This is a bogus hit piece.


33 posted on 11/05/2010 11:43:29 AM PDT by nhwingut (Palin/Bachmann '12)
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To: Bushbacker1

If it’s a hit piece, it is definitely backed up by the election results.

Rasmussen overestimated the Republican performance in just about every race.


34 posted on 11/05/2010 12:05:29 PM PDT by nbenyo
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To: nbenyo

“Rasmussen overestimated the Republican performance in just about every race.”

Wrong...Rasmussen UNDERESTIMATED democrat fraud.


35 posted on 11/05/2010 12:08:09 PM PDT by Moby Grape (Formerly Impeach the Boy...name change necessary after the Marxist won)
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To: FloridaSunrise

Send me $75.00 and I’ll remove the screen. I hear if you donate to FR fundraising thread the screening stops quicker.


36 posted on 11/05/2010 12:11:36 PM PDT by listenhillary (A very simple fix to our dilemma - We need to reward the makers instead of the takers)
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To: WebFocus

My first thought when I saw the header, like so many above, was the Rasmussen probably has no fraud factor.


37 posted on 11/05/2010 12:34:17 PM PDT by steelyourfaith (ObamaCare Death Panels: a Final Solution to the looming Social Security crisis ?)
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To: DrC
Evidence? Even skeptics of political markets concede that the predictive power of sites such as Intrade

It's not predictive. It's reflective. Intrade simply reflects conventional wisdom as published by sites such as Cook Political Report or RCP. It's thus a lagging indicator of external data. Except that it's easily subject to market manipulation.

In summary, it's crap.

38 posted on 11/05/2010 1:32:53 PM PDT by Crichton
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To: Crichton

“It’s not predictive. It’s reflective.”

Yet it PREDICTS outcomes better than polls do 3 out of 4 times. As the paper suggests, polls are subject to a lot of volatility based on breaking news, hence they won’t necessarily be an accurate indicator of what voters actually will do a few days later in the polls. The prediction markets, OTOH, can take such volatility into account based on past experience and do a better job of predicting a future vote (as opposed to predicting how people would vote on the day a Gallup poll is conducted etc.).

If you know of a superior prediction tool, please advise. But until you weigh in, I’ll regard political markets as superior to reliance on polls: they may not be perfect, but neither are they crap, IMHO.


39 posted on 11/05/2010 1:43:37 PM PDT by DrC
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To: WebFocus
"Biased towards Republicans"

Yeah, that was real inaccurate polling. /s

40 posted on 11/05/2010 1:45:13 PM PDT by Bridesheadfan
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To: listenhillary

I can send you $75 in grocery coupons. Let me know if you are interested.


41 posted on 11/05/2010 1:55:38 PM PDT by FloridaSunrise
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To: nbenyo
If it’s a hit piece, it is definitely backed up by the election results. Rasmussen overestimated the Republican performance in just about every race.

Going backward from Ras/POR's latest polls:

WA-Sen 49-47 Murray - almost exact
OH-Gov 48-44 Kasigh - actual 49.4-46.7 - almost exact
NV-Sen 48-45 Angle - every public poll got this wrong
WV-Sen 50-46 Manchin - nearly identical to PPP result, both slightly underestimated Manchin
CO-Sen 50-46 Buck - every public poll in the final week had Buck leading
CO-Gov 47-44-6 Hickenlooper - every public poll overestimated Tancredo vs Maes, and many votes were cast well before the poll was even taken, likely favoring Maes
IL-Sen 46-42 Kirk - actual 48.2-46.3, right on target
IL-Gov 44-38 Brady - same result as every other public poll, all underestimated the final result of 46.1-46.6 Quinn
CT-Gov 48-46 Foley - very close to actual result of 49.0-49.5. No poll showed Malloy winning, the only one showing a tie had 10% undecided/3rd party.
CT-Sen 53-46 Blumenthal - actual 54-43, right on target

How much more do you need to see? In every single case, Rasmussen's polling was either exact, extremely close, or a bit off but in agreement with every other public poll.

42 posted on 11/05/2010 1:58:17 PM PDT by Crichton
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To: FloridaSunrise

I was pulling your leg and it came right off in my hand. I’m not sure of why some people are filtered for a while before their posts show up immediately.


43 posted on 11/05/2010 2:02:36 PM PDT by listenhillary (A very simple fix to our dilemma - We need to reward the makers instead of the takers)
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To: DrC
If you know of a superior prediction tool, please advise.

It's not "predictive", period. It just reflects conventional wisdom made by others. No value added whatsoever, and major potential downside since it's not a well-functioning market.

Cook Political Report, FR's own Key House Races, FiveThirtyEight (whose race ratings are massively driven by inputs from Cook Political / Rothenberg), RealClearPolitics, even an idiot like Larry Sabato are all better than Intrade.

All those sources use a synthesis of information, without being subject to market manipulation.

44 posted on 11/05/2010 2:06:52 PM PDT by Crichton
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To: SevenMinusOne

Right because she’s not 70+ years old that makes her immature.

She polled better than McCain, btw, as did Angle.

I don’t think they had a bad campaign, just that she was -17 going in, and that’s just too steep a hill to climb.


45 posted on 11/05/2010 2:13:51 PM PDT by BenKenobi
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To: Crichton

1. I’m comparing Rasmussen to actual results - not to PPP
2. You selectively omitted many races which don’t support your case
3. Many of your numbers are just plain wrong. see this chart:
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_senate_elections/final_rasmussen_poll_results_2010_senate_elections

I stand by my comment.


46 posted on 11/05/2010 9:08:40 PM PDT by nbenyo
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To: nbenyo
1. I’m comparing Rasmussen to actual results - not to PPP

I indicated each race where Rasmussen -- and all other public polls -- got the result wrong, which suggests if Rasmussen was to blame, they were no more than any others.

If you are arguing Rasmussen is biased, then to be consistent you should at least admit that all the other public polls were biased for those races. Or, more likely, there were non-polling reasons for the polls to diverge vs the actuals.

2. You selectively omitted many races which don’t support your case

I included every single poll released the last two days before the election by Rasmussen Reports using Public Opinion Research methodology or Fox News using Public Opinion Research methodology.

3. Many of your numbers are just plain wrong. see this chart:

As noted, I used all polls with POR methodology, whether conducted for Rasmussen or Fox News.

If you don't understand why, do some reading and be minimally informed before trying to reply again.

47 posted on 11/06/2010 7:35:14 AM PDT by Crichton
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To: Crichton

If you want to include other polls in your analysis, you need to do it in every race - not in just the races where it supports your hypothesis.

Again, your numbers don’t match Rasmussen’s own Senate analysis page, comparing their last poll to the actual result.

On top of this, Rasmussen estimated a 12-point margin on the generic ballot, and it was only 6.

They are biased by a few point to Republicans, everybody sees it now.


48 posted on 11/06/2010 10:16:23 AM PDT by nbenyo
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To: nbenyo
If you want to include other polls in your analysis, you need to do it in every race - not in just the races where it supports your hypothesis.

Completely ignoring my response. Pick one of those races and show me where Rasmussen (POR) methodology was more Republican-friendly than other polls, and thus got the race wrong. It's only the 10 races polled most closely to Election Day, surely it's not too taxing to find ONE of the ten to support your hypothesis?

You have no argument and can't counter mine.

Again, your numbers don’t match Rasmussen’s own Senate analysis page, comparing their last poll to the actual result.

You have no idea what POR (Pulse Opinion Research) is, do you?

49 posted on 11/06/2010 8:58:55 PM PDT by Crichton
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To: nbenyo
I'll even add the seven Rasmussen/POR polls released on Sunday and Saturday before the election, as well:

Released Monday before Election

WA-Sen 49-47 Murray - almost exact
OH-Gov 48-44 Kasigh - actual 49.4-46.7 - almost exact
NV-Sen 48-45 Angle - every public poll got this wrong
WV-Sen 50-46 Manchin - nearly identical to PPP result (only other public poll), both slightly underestimated Manchin
CO-Sen 50-46 Buck - every public poll in the final week had Buck leading
CO-Gov 47-44-6 Hickenlooper - every public poll overestimated Tancredo vs Maes
IL-Sen 46-42 Kirk - actual 48.2-46.3, right on target
IL-Gov 44-38 Brady - same result as every other public poll, all underestimated the final result of 46.1-46.6 Quinn
CT-Gov 48-46 Foley - very close to actual result of 49.0-49.5. No poll had Malloy up, one showed tie w 10% other/undec
CT-Sen 53-46 Blumenthal - actual 54-43, right on target

Released Sunday before Election
NH-Gov 51-45 Lynch - actual 52.6-45.1, almost exact
PA-Gov 52-43 Corbett - actual 54.5-45.5, almost exact
VT-Gov 50-45 Shumlin - actual 49.4-47.9 Shumlin: poll biased toward Democrat

Released Saturday before Election
NH-Sen 56-41 Ayotte - actual 61-36, poll biased toward Democrat
OH-Sen 57-33 Portman - actual 57.3-39.0, slightly underestimating D in a blowout
AZ-Sen 52-32 McCain - actual 59-35, slightly underestimating R in a blowout
AR-Gov 60-38 Beebe - actual 64.6-33.6, slightly underestimating D in a blowout

50 posted on 11/06/2010 9:33:02 PM PDT by Crichton
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