While I agree, especially after the New Hampshire debacle, that polls shouldn’t quite be taken as gospel, it is only fair to point out that overall, polls have been pretty reliable so far. They correctly predicted Huckabee and Obama would win Iowa. In New Hampshire, they were pretty dead on on the Republican side as far as predicting McCain’s margin of victory.
It’s pretty clear to me that what happened on the Democratic side is that they simply couldn’t take into account late-breaking developments the day before the primary. The surprise was compounded because male pundits–and I suppose even female Republican pundits–underestimated the effect that Clinton’s emotional incident would have on older Democratic women.
So, I’ll still watch polls closely because they are the best we’ve got and they have been pretty reliable most of the time, but I also know now to be a bit more careful, especially if big news breaks right before voting starts that wasn’t reflected in the polls.
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