Now the results are in from Iowa, it is time to see how accurate the many polls were in predicting the actual outcome. This diary intends to offer praises to the winners and lampoon the losers for brazenly shifting the RCP & the pollster average with their ridiculous polls.
First, the Desmoinesregister poll which drawed strong criticisms from virtually all the Democratic field (excerpt Obama who was clearly the beneficiary) was almost perfect. Let's see how did the courageous pollster, Ann Selzer, fares for the top three finishers:
Last Iowa poll of DMR Actual results (delegates)
Barack Obama 32% Barack Obama 38%
Hillary Clinton 25% Hillary Clinton 29%
John Edwards 24% John Edwards 30%
This was what the pollster, Ann Selzer, predicted and keep in mind this poll was conducted in the period of Dec.27-30, a very precarious time considering the holiday. yet, She was almost perfect! As Tom Beevan bluntly puts it after the Iowa result:"Here's one lesson from tonight: do not mess with Ann Selzer, the pollster who conducts the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines register. The Edwards camp, the Clinton camp, and various talking heads poo-pooed her projection that 220,000 would turn out tonight. They said it was a fantasy, and that her model included too many independents and first time caucus goers. (To be fair even the Obama folks didn't think it would be that hight).
Well, with 91.5% of precincts reporting, turnout tonight for the Democrats is 212,000. The woman is good".
I don't see anyone or any campaign, for that matter, apologizes now to her but has she been wrong, they sure would relish the moment to attack her more stingingly than they did when this poll was released. For the republican side, the Desmoinesregister poll was so accurate it's like they saw the actual results before releasing the poll. Give props to Ann Selzer for being a professional with strong ethics. She sticks with her data even when the finding seems outrightly at odd with the conventional wisdom.
Last Iowa poll of DMR Actual results
Mike Huckabee 32% Mike Huckabee 34%
Mitt Romney 26% Mitt romney 25%
John Mcain 13% John Mcain 13%
Zogby International did a very good job and I must say I was surprised. They don't have a very good record according to survey of their peers but this time they exceeded my expectation and I will trust their finding now for the continuation of the primary until they fumble the ball.
Iowa Zogby poll w. 2nd choices Actual results
Barack Obama 37.5% Barack Obama 38%
Hillary Clinton 28.8% Hillary Clinton 29%
John Edwards 33.7% John Edwards 30%
I think Edwards' numbers might have been off a bit because of the (rumored)deal between Richardson & Obama. Overall, this poll was right on the money.
Iowa Zogby poll Actual results
Mike Huckabee 31% Mike Huckabee 34%
Mitt Romney 25% Mitt romney 25%
Fred Thomson 11% Fred Thompson 13%
John Mcain 10% John Mcain 13%
Strikingly, this poll correctly shows Thompson narrowly edges Mcain for a third place finish. What more can one asks for.
Insider Advantage have a quick turn around right before the Iowa caucus to show Obama at the lead after he trails Clinton and Edwards by 8& 7% pts respectively but to their credit, they get both the GOP and DEMS orders of finish correctly for at least the top three.
The CNN polls was completely wrong and as I correctly suspect they were wrong all year as they show Clinton leading poll after poll. The moment of truth came January 3rd and they failed miserably. Check RCP chart to see how they did.
Strategic Vision, the republican pollster, did well but didn't get the right order for the top two republicans.
Finally, the worst poll of the polling industry as confirmed by the Iowa results: The American Research Group. Seriously, they should be banned from doing any more polling. I, for one, didn't trust them as were many others and I will never, ever trust them. Take a look at how they did:
ARG final Iowa poll Actual results
Barack Obama 25% Barack Obama 38%
Hillary Clinton 34% Hillary Clinton 29%
John Edwards 21% John Edwards 30%
Their leading pollster must have been drunk when he conducted this poll. In fairness, they did get the right order for the Republicans. Now we know for sure they are charlatans... well,everyone knows that all along.