Politics Podcast: The Gold Standard For Polling Has Changed

By Galen Druke and Nate Silver

On Thursday we published our updated polls here at FiveThirtyEight. While they showed that polls haven’t gotten significantly less accurate in recent years, 2020 was a pretty bad year for them. Our analysis also found that a long-standing polling truism – that polls with live callers are more accurate – is no longer true . When comparing live caller surveys with online surveys, text messaging, automated calling, and mixed methods, it is not systematically more likely that the former will reflect the bottom line of an election.

In this part of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver talks to Galen Druke about why the gold standard for polls has changed and what it means for the future. In retrospect (and with updated poll numbers) they also rate the performance of the polls in 2019 and 2020 in general.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the Play button at the top or bottom of the audio player Download in iTunes, the ESPN app or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded on Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show Leave us a rating and rating on iTunes. Do you have a comment, question, or suggestion for “good poll vs. bad poll”? Contact us by email, on twitter or in the comments.

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