Thursday, January 31, 2008

Super Tuesday Polling at a Glance

Updated: 2/5/08, 1:58pm est

No time for commentary this morning, so here is an explanation.

It is ironic and annoying that the most important date on the primary schedule is also the date with the fewest polls per state. Just as the campaigns are struggling to run 22 simultaneous campaigns, so pollsters and the media have invested little in comprehensive polling of the Super Tuesday states. Even large states such as New York and California have fewer than 10 polls since January 1, far fewer than we saw last week in Florida for example. As a result, we have many states with no data at all, preventing a comprehensive overview of the prospects for Tuesday. Even where we do have polls, we lack enough to consistently estimate the trend with data taken since Iowa. Where we can estimate trends, we've done so on the "regular" state pages at You should go there for the best trend estimates we can manage with so little data.

The charts here are a way of seeing the entire set of Super Tuesday states (where we have polling) at a glance.

Rather than plot the usual trends with so few data points, each poll is a point and the darker the point the more recent the poll. The points are also scaled in size to be proportional to the number of delegates at stake in the state.

Instead of a trend estimate, this plot highlights the median of all post-Iowa polling in the state. The shading of points will then let your eye tell you whether there is a visible trend around that median. Be your own data analyst!

When more states become available, they'll be added to updated charts. If a state is missing, we don't have polling for it. (If you think we've missed a state with polling data, let us know!)