The RAND Corporation’s New Poll

Nate Silver announced that his election forecast will now include a daily tracking poll from the RAND corporation. The poll is unique in two ways. First, it weighs a person’s likelihood of voting. If a person says there’s only a 50% chance they’ll vote, their response is only counted as half a vote. No more hazy “likely” and “registered” voter nonsense.

The second innovation is that the poll surveys the same people over and over. I love this idea so much that I randomly came up with it on my own a few weeks before RAND started publishing their poll. Measuring the same sample eliminates a lot of variance — this is one reason evaluations of educational outcomes are increasingly relying on student-level data that measures individual growth. It makes sense for public opinion polling to also move toward a paradigm based on individual change.


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