Disregard Polls at Your Peril

Political surveys are often more accurate than pundits.  This election’s two Congressional races, and a state senate primary race proved that this election cycle.  7th Congressional District polling

In the 7th Congressional District SurveyUSA took a great deal of grief for results that differed from polls taken a month earlier by Peggy Lamm supporters.  The final results in the race were:

Ed Perlmutter 53%
Peggy Lamm 38%
Herb Rubenstein 9%

The Survey USA/KUSA poll results were:

Ed Perlmutter 49 (51)
Peggy Lamm 37 (31)
Herb Rubenstein 8 (10)
Undecided 7 (8)

Perlmutter’s margin of victory 15 percentage points, was squarely between the 20 percentage points shown in the first poll, and the 12 percentage points in the second one.

5th Congressional District polling

Similar results were seen in the 5th Congressional District.

The end result in the 5th Congressional District was:

Doug Lamborn 27%
Jeff Crank 25%
Bentley Rayburn 17%
Lionel Rivera 13%
John Anderson 12%
Duncan Bremer 6%

The last poll results released before the election showed:

Undecided: 26%
Doug Lamborn: 22%
Jeff Crank: 15%
Duncan Bremer: 13%
John Anderson: 9%
Lionel Rivera: 9%
Bentley Rayburn: 5%

This wasn’t a perfect match.  It far overrated Bremer, who sponsored the poll, and it far underrated Rayburn.  But, it did pick the first and second place finishers correctly.  And, it correctly noted that Anderson and Rivera would come very close in the final result.

32nd Senate District polling

The result in the 32nd Senate District was:

Chris Romer 50%
Jennifer Mello 35%
Fran Coleman 15%

A leaked poll in that race showed that both Coleman and Mello were more than 20 percentage points behind Romer. 

This turned out to be true for Coleman, and Mello’s 15 percentage point lag behind Romer was probably within the poll’s margin of error.