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Here are five questions to ask when analyzing political polls

Not all political polls are created equally. And different surveys sometimes show different results.

As the 2020 presidential race kicks into another gear — and with hundreds of different polls expected to be released between now and Election Day — here’s some helpful guidance when examining the horserace numbers.

1. Who conducted the poll?

Was it a reputable news organization? Or a pollster with past experience measuring public opinion in political races? Or none of the above?

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The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, is conducted jointly by two polling outfits – the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, both of which have a long history polling for political candidates and parties.

2. Do the findings confirm the conventional wisdom, or do they cut against the grain?

In August, a Monmouth University poll found Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in a three-way tie for first place in the 2020 Democratic horserace – contrary to other polling showing Biden with a significant lead over his Democratic competitors.


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