This week, you probably saw some headlines that said things like, “Poll: Clinton clobbers potential GOP foes.” Which sounds pretty definitive. But! You may have also noticed that the Republican National Committee did not publish a press release that read, “Piss it, we’re conceding the race and regrouping for 2020.” Why is that?
Well, there’s a quirk in the science of polling, which holds that leading up to any presidential election, there will be months in which the head-to-head polling of the race is very accurate and other months in which it’s very inaccurate. I’ve prepared a little guide here, ranking the 10 best months for polling accuracy for the next presidential election, in order from least to most accurate:
10. March 2016
At this point, you may be wondering, “Well, if polling is so inaccurate until you get very close to an election, why do they continue to do it?” The short answer is that pollsters ask many questions that are more interesting than “Who would you vote for in this head-to-head matchup?” The answers just don’t make for banner headlines.
We will know more in 20 months than we do now. Feel free to relax.
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]