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(5,648 posts)
Sat Jan 30, 2016, 11:57 PM Jan 2016

The most accurate Iowa Democratic poll has just come out!

The final Des Moines Register Iowa Democratic Caucus poll has historically been the best predictor of the final results. The results of their final poll was published by the paper on their Website at 6:07 local time this afternoon and it there is good news for Hillary Clinton fans.

The Poll shows that Hillary has 3% lead over Bernie Sanders.

Clinton is the top pick for 45 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, with Sanders at 42 percent, The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll shows.

Clinton's support is up 3 percentage points from earlier this month, and Sanders' is 2 percentage points higher.

Hillary Clinton has kept a tight grip on her slim lead over Bernie Sanders in the waning hours leading into the Iowa caucuses, a new Iowa Poll shows.

Clinton, a former first lady and former secretary of state, wins a majority among caucusgoers who are 65 and older, Catholics and moderates. Sanders, a U.S. senator representing Vermont, wins a majority of those under 35, first-time caucusgoers and political independents.

"Clinton's voters are more certain and much more likely to have caucused before," Axelrod said. "Bernie's organizational task, counting so heavily on first-time caucusgoers — many of them young — is greater."

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley snags 3 percent of likely caucusgoers' support. He had 4 percent support in early January.

Clinton keeps slim edge over Sanders

Sanders supporters will claim that Bernie can easily make up the difference with a good turn out, but the final Des Moines Register has an excellent track record of picking the ultimate winner. It is particularly good in predicting new caucusgoer surges such as the one that gave Barack Obama an unexpected Iowa victory in 2008. Regardless, you can bet Bernie supporters wish that the numbers were reversed.

Discussion of Poll Accuracy

Some have asked for information confirming how accurate this poll is. With the link to the Politico article:

The recent track record of her firm, Selzer & Company, is impressive: Selzer, who has polled for the Des Moines Register for decades, was the only pollster to nail the order of Democratic candidates in 2004. Her final poll before the 2008 caucuses accurately predicted that a surge of first-time caucusgoers would propel Barack Obama to a decisive victory. Selzer saw former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s surge in the waning days before the 2012 GOP caucuses when few others did.


“I will take the Des Moines Register poll, which is the gold standard for polls in Iowa,” Sanders said in late October.

Ann Selzer's secret sauce

I suggest that you read this entire Politico article - well worth it if you want to sleep soundly tonight.
7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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The most accurate Iowa Democratic poll has just come out! (Original Post) CajunBlazer Jan 2016 OP
K&R. YEEESSSS! lunamagica Jan 2016 #1
So close! Cha Jan 2016 #2
We are still working hard. Thinkingabout Jan 2016 #3
Note: Just because the poll results are within the poll's Margin of Error (or MoE).... CajunBlazer Jan 2016 #4
You really explained it well... DemocratSinceBirth Jan 2016 #5
Is it wrong that I got goosebumps reading this ^^ Stuckinthebush Jan 2016 #6
A good turn-out for her is a must pandr32 Jan 2016 #7


(5,648 posts)
4. Note: Just because the poll results are within the poll's Margin of Error (or MoE)....
Sun Jan 31, 2016, 03:24 AM
Jan 2016

... does not make it a statistical dead heat - if you think it does, you have been listening too many talking heads on TV.

(I wrote this in response to a reply from a Bernie person that there results of this poll essentially means Hillary and Bernie are tied - that isn't true by a long shot.)

First of all the the MoE works both ways. With a 4.0 MoE the results could be Sanders +1 (least likely), A tie, Clinton +1, Clinton +2, Clinton +3 (most likely), Clinton +4, Clinton +5, Clinton +6, Clinton +7 (least likely). Note that with most of the possible outcomes, including the most likely outcome (Clinton +3), Clinton wins.

In addition, as you move one step at a time away from the most likely outcome (Clinton +3) towards the edges (Sanders +1 and Clinton +7) the chances of those results happening get less and less. The least likely outcomes by far are Sanders +1 and Clinton +7.

If you want to get technical, there is a 95% chance with this poll that the result will be within the MoE of 4.0, and a 5% chance that it will be off more than 4.0%. Since the graph of this poll's possible results is the area under a bell shaped curve, there is actually just a 2.5% chance that Sanders could win by more than +1 and 2.5% that Clinton could win by more than +7, so such results are highly unlikely.

If you have kept up so far - great! If you haven't, no worries, the statistical calculations of polling are complicated. But here is the bottom line, according to this poll's results, there is a much greater chance that Clinton will win the caucus fights than she will lose them.

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