Perils of Early Polls Redux

Yesterday at FiveThirtyEight Harry Enten looked at recent polls from Iowa and New Hampshire and suggested that Bernie Sanders’ “surge appears to be over.” It wasn’t that Bernie’s not continuing to do well in these early states, said Enten, but he was no longer making big gains on HRC, which indicated the easy pick-ups attributable to growing name ID might have come to an end.

And then, the very next day, the Boston Herald released a new Franklin Pierce University poll showing Sanders “surging” past Clinton to take a 44/37 lead in NH.

Maybe Harry spoke too soon. Or maybe it’s worth noting that the Herald‘s poll was a small-sample survey with a high MoE from a polling outfit with a shaky reputation for accuracy.

A lot of times you can just look at trends within a single pollster’s work as significant, but FPU hasn’t polled NH since April, well before Bernie’s candidacy was announced. So is Sanders still surging? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.