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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Early Horse-Race Polls: How Relevant?

Is all the time, expense and energy that goes into early political horse race polls and poll analysis justified? Maybe not, if Robin Toner’s article in today’s New York Times is right. Toner pulls together interesting examples and observations from political insiders to make her case. Mark Blumenthal’s Pollster.com article “The Merits of the Horse Race” agrees with Toner that early polls have little value in predicting election outcomes. But he sees value in monitoring polls to assess campaign progress and in polls in early primary states. Blumenthal has a round-up review of recent articles on the relevance of early horse-race polls here.

One comment on “Early Horse-Race Polls: How Relevant?

  1. mjshep on

    It had been my belief for some time that of the three leading candidates from either party – Giuliani, McCain and Romney on the one side and Clinton, Obama and Edwards on the other, none will be on the ballot next November.
    Nonetheless, all the horse race talk must sell something. Maybe it’s TV advertising or consultant services. Plus, it serves an equivalent place in political junkies psyche as the conversation about who will win the pennant three weeks into the season does for baseball fans.
    On the practical side, we do get a closer look at the candidates, just to see how much we don’t like any of them. For Democrats, the smartest guy in the race is Gore, because he is not in the race at the moment.


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