About this Site

If the name of this site (“Status of the Electoral College”) seems familiar, it may be because you visited my 2008 election website. Yeah, I had one in 2008 too, though I got started on it much later, and ended up ditching the domain name, which then got registered by someone else, so I had to get a new one. However, this one is so good I might just keep it. In any case, I had a very good track record in 2008 – I only missed Missouri and Indiana, which was basically a wash, so I hit the election pretty head on. So I decided to do this again.

What Polls do You Use?

I only use state polls, meaning national polls don’t factor into my calculations at all. National polls are fun to look at, but they really mean jack in the grand scheme of things. My site use a pretty broad white list of polls (see this post for my decision to white list and what factors I use. See the bottom of this page for list of pollsters). Within that white list, I also have three additional requirements:

  1. It has at least 400 respondents. That would give a margin of error of just about 5%.
  2. It is of at least registered voters. I will not include polls of merely “adults” or “carbon based units.”
  3. The poll was conducted in 2012, which at this point, isn’t really an issue.

So What About teh Maths?

Basically the jist of it is this: Every poll ever entered in the database has a little bit of influence, at least in theory. By that I mean, I don’t say “this poll is 4 months old therefore I will not even put it into the calculations.”

However, what I do is a weighted average on the polls, with the older polls getting less and less weight. The “weight” I give each poll is based on the most recent poll result for that state. Therefore, if one state has two polls on February 20th and February 13th, and another state has two polls on April 20th and April 13th, those 2nd polls would both be weighted the same for those states since both polls are 7 days older than the most recent poll for that state.

In practice, once a poll becomes 1 or 2 months old, the weight of it is so small that it doesn’t really make a difference, and a larger number of more recent polls will reduce older poll’s influence even more.

Polling Black List

The following are polls that are banned from the site:

  • Columbus Dispatch (mail)
  • Harris Interactive (online)
  • Knowledge Networks (online)
  • Research 2000 (see why)
  • Strategic Vision (see why)
  • YouGov (online)
  • Zogby Interactive (online)

Polling Grey List

The following are polls that aren’t included in the average, but may in the future if they demonstrate transparency, accuracy, and stability.

I decided to give pollsters a (grey list) score to show kind of where I think they are. Generally once a poll gets to a score of 3, I’ll likely include them in the white list. Good polling increases the score, bad scoring decreases it.

Note: Since there are enough polls in the final week that no single poll can really mess up the average, anyone with a positive “score” in the grey will be included in polling in the final week.

  • 20/20 Insight (Score: 0) – No history that I can really find, one poll which is significantly off other polling. definitely needs further review.
  • American Research Group (Score: 1) – due to their highly erratic polling from the 2008 cycle (and other reasons), I am choosing to not include ARG state polling in the averages at this time. ARG looking pretty decent so far, so I’ll bump them up enough notch so they’re at the “default” score now.
  • Chilenski Strategies (score: 1) – need more data, leaning to include
  • Critical Insights (score: 2) – need further research, PIE score of 2.56, leaning to include
  • Grove Insight (score : 1) – PIE score of 2.25 (just above 538′s default), a partisan pollster, and a poll that looks pretty off the mark. Definitely needs further review.
  • Mclaughlin & Associates (score: 2) – They have a bad accuracy rating from 538 (PIE of 2.34) and they’re marked as a partisan pollster. They’ve done a couple polls. One is OK, one is borderline, and one is pretty off of what everyone else is showing. I’d say the one good poll moves them closer to inclusion, but the bad poll keeps them off for now.
  • Landmark Communications (score: 1) – little data, partisan firm. single poll in line with other polls. needs further review.
  • Mellman Group (score: 2) – A low PIE score of 2.85 and a partisan pollster. They have one good poll and one bad poll, which is an outlier. If I see a couple more OK looking polls I’ll include them.
  • Mitchell Research (score: 2) – PIE score of 2.12, been around for a while. Polls have low variability but haven’t been terribly consistent with other pollsters. Still leaning to include.
  • MRG (score: 2) – high PIE score of 2.79. Two polls look in line with other polls, however. Leaning to include.
  • Myers Research (score: 1) – partisan poll. single poll is in line with others. needs further review
  • OnSight (score: 2) – not much data. partisan pollster. two polls they’ve done is in line with other pollsters. now leaning toward including
  • Opinion Dynamics (score: 1) – not much data. single poll in line with other pollsters. needs further review.
  • Pulse Opinion Research (score: 1) – Only seen one poll from them, but it seemed ok. Needs further review.
  • Pharos Research (score: 1) – Most of there numbers seem OK, but there seemed some question about where this firm suddenly came from
  • Public Opinion Strategies (score: 1) – They had a pretty bad PIE score from 538 for 2008 (2.73) and they’re a partisan pollster. however, the one state poll I’ve seen from them was pretty much inline so they get a point for that. Still needs further review.
  • Rosetta Stone (score: 1) - little data, partisan firm. single poll in line with other polls. needs further review.
  • Susquehanna (score: 0) – I actually had this firm on the white list under the false impression that it was a university-based pollster, but it is in face a private pollster. It’s PIE score of 2.28 on 538 puts it below his “default” rating. They’ve done 3 polls in PA so far that I’ve seen: the only poll with Romney ahead there all year plus polls that are 7-8% off the average. And they’re also considered partisan pollster. They basically have all strikes against them.
  • Voter Consumer Research (score: 1) – has PIE score of 2.26 (same as 538′s default/new pollster score). First poll is pretty much in line with others. Needs further research.
  • Voter Survey Service (score: 1) – as far as I can tell the’re new. their poll isn’t WAY off but it’s somewhat off. they may claim to be non-partisan but their website (or a website that shares a name with their company) clearly indicates that they aren’t exactly unbiased
  • Wenzel (score: -1) – Not much track record I could find, the one state general election poll they’ve done is way off of anything else anyone has shown. Needs further review.
  • White/Baydoun (score: -3) – this poll has serious concerns about methodology. Their 2nd poll still shows many of the same methodological flaws as their first poll, such unrealistic weighting of subgroups. If they come out with another such poll, I will consider black listing it.
  • Wiese Research (score: 1) – no history I could find from 2008, couldn’t find any history of state-wide political polling this year either. Their one poll was within reasonable range of other polls done. Needs further review.
  • Zehnder (score: 1) – little history that I can find. single poll seems perhaps a little dodgy (though no other polls to compare to). Needs further research

Polling White List

These polls will be included in the averages:

  • ABC/Washington Post
  • Alabama State
  • AP/GfK
  • Badger Poll
  • Blum and Weprin
  • Boston Globe
  • Canisius
  • Capital Survey
  • Castleton State College
  • CBS/New York Times
  • Charleston Daily Mail
  • Chicago Tribune
  • Ciruli
  • CNU/Times-Dispatch
  • Crawford Johnson & Northcott
  • Dartmouth
  • Davis and Hibbits
  • Des Moines Register
  • Deseret News/KSL
  • Elon University
  • Elway Poll
  • Fairleigh Dickinson
  • Field Poll
  • Fleming & Associates
  • Fox News/Opinion Dynamics
  • Franklin & Marshall
  • Gallup
  • Glengariff Group
  • Gonzales Research
  • Gravis Marketing
  • Harris (telephone)
  • High Point University
  • Honolulu Advertiser
  • Howey/DePauw
  • Illinois Wesleyan
  • Indiana University
  • InsiderAdvantage
  • Ipsos
  • IVR Polls
  • Keating Research
  • KRC Communications
  • LA Times
  • Louisville Courier-Journal
  • Lycoming College
  • Kansas City Star
  • Magellan
  • Magid
  • Marist
  • Market Shares
  • Marquette University
  • MassINC
  • Mercyhurst University
  • Mason-Dixon
  • Merriman River Group
  • Merrill/Morrison Institute Poll
  • Miami Herald/St. Pete Times
  • Middle Tennessee State
  • Monmouth
  • Montana State
  • MPRC
  • Muhlenberg College
  • National Journal
  • National Research
  • NBC/Wall Street Journal
  • New Mexico State
  • Northern Arizona
  • Ohio State
  • Old Dominion
  • OpinionWorks
  • Pew
  • Philadelphia Inquirer (Global Strategy/National Research)
  • Potomac
  • PPIC
  • PPP
  • PSRA
  • PurplePoll
  • Quinnipiac
  • Rasmussin
  • Research and Polling Inc.
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Riley
  • Roanoke College
  • Rocky Mountain Poll
  • RT Strategies
  • Rutgers
  • Scripps Howard
  • Seltzer and Co.
  • Siena
  • Sooner Poll
  • Southern Illinois University
  • Southern Opinion & Media Research
  • St. Norbert
  • Strategies 360
  • Suffolk University
  • SurveyUSA
  • Talk Business/Hendrix College
  • Tarrance Group
  • Temple University
  • Time
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Washington
  • Washington Post
  • WeAskAmerica
  • West Chester University
  • Western New England University
  • Wilson
  • Wisconsin-Milwaukee