What’s with all of these primary polls?

Mark Penn provides analysis :

South Carolina:

There’s yet a new case-in-point of poll confusion today with the release of a slew of Mason-Dixon polls – but a look at their past polls paints a very different story than at first glance. For example, they have Hillary ahead by 3 points today in SC and pundits suggest that this shows how the race has closed. But while other polls showed a strong lead in June, the Mason-Dixon poll had Hillary losing by 9 points in June, so this actually shows Hillary’s margin up by 12 points from their last poll and surging. When you look at the facts by tracking results over time from the same poll, she is up, not down. Other polls give her a much wider lead than Mason-Dixon: the latest Pew poll has Hillary ahead by 14 points in South Carolina and the latest ARG poll has her 24 points ahead.

New Hampshire:

2nd case in point: Last week three polls of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters were released. One showed Hillary with a 14 point lead (Marist), one showed Hillary with an 11 point lead (Zogby) and one gave Hillary a 6 point lead (ABC/Washington Post). Which poll got the most attention? The one that showed the closest race – ABC/Washington Post.


In Iowa, polls all show it close, with no clear leader. Friday’s Newsweek poll shows Hillary ahead by one point among all Iowa Democrats. Among likely caucus-goers, Hillary is in second place, six points behind the leader, just two points lower than in September.

Four other polls this past week show Hillary ahead in Iowa: by 3 points in the Zogby poll, 5 points in the Pew poll, 7 points in the Iowa State University poll and 3 points in the Edwards campaign’s internal poll. And a poll in last weekend’s Des Moines Register put Hillary Clinton in second place – three points behind the leader.


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