Election Polls Remain Volatile


Election Day is still more than six months away, but that's not stopping political pollsters from trying to predict what will happen. Of course, these are the same pollsters that were so wrong in the lead up to the 2016 election. Nevertheless, predictions of a Democratic "blue wave" have been common in recent months, thanks to polls showing the Dems with an advantage in the generic Congressional ballot and Democratic wins in a handful of gubernatorial races and special elections.

So just how accurate are this year's polls? Have the pollsters improved since their embarrassing performance two years ago? GOP pollster Conor Maguire with WPA Intel says for starters, generic ballots aren't a great barometer of what will happen. "A lot of voters are taking a look at the actual matchups, and not so much hypotheticals anymore," he tells KTRH. "They're saying this is my member of Congress, and I want to look at (this race) and distance it from national politics."

Maguire believes polls can be accurate and predictive of actual results if they focus on more specific criteria. "One of the things we look at when we do polling is the intensity, and who's actually going to turn out, and how people are responding," he says. "And we've definitely noticed that enthusiasm among Democrats is about 10 to 15 points higher (than Republicans), and that's one of the things we're going to have to pay attention to as we go into Election Day."

The GOP does seem to be closing the gap, with the latest generic ballot poll showing the Dems lead at just four points, down from 12 in January. Maguire agrees that Democrats have a slight lead, but isn't buying all of those blue wave predictions. "I think what we'll definitely see is Democrats picking up some seats, but Republicans being able to hold on to a lot more seats than expected," he says.


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