Which pollster to trust?

As the incessant political calls to our homes over the past 6 weeks proved, firms that perform surveys and polls are finding their services in increasing demand during election cycles. However, simply calling people up and asking questions is not the measure of a successful firm. Pollsters are prized based on their accuracy. It’s been said repeatedly that the only poll that matters is the one taken on election day so how accurate a survey firm is can be objectively measured by the results at the polls. Riley over at Virginia Virtucon looks at all of the firms that released polling results for the VA Governor’s race and rates them in order of their ending accuracy. It’s an interesting list.

The top pollster in terms of accuracy was SurveyUSA. They called the winner of the Governor’s race as Bob McDonnell with 58%, 18% over Deeds. The actual results were McDonnell at 58.6% with a margin of 17.4%, a difference of just 0.6% on each measure. That’s some mighty fine shooting, folks. Rassmussen showed a 9% difference, the WaPo 11%, and ole’ Kos was off by 12%.

Keep that in mind when you’re deciding whom to trust when the questions get asked. Have a look at the link for the full list.