Thursday, May 26, 2011

The predictive power of polls

If you're already looking at polls for the 2012 presidential election, be sure to glance at the awesome graph below from Chris Wlezien and Bob Erikson, courtesy of John Sides. The chart depicts the R-squared of polls predicting outcomes in presidential elections. R-squareds range from 0 to 1, with 1, in this case, meaning that polls perfectly explain what will happen in the election and and 0 meaning there is no relationship between polls and the election outcome.
Notably, we are still currently more than 300 days away from the next presidential election, meaning that any polls pairing up Obama against possible Republican nominees are functionally meaningless. But enjoy them anyway.

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