Monmouth again aces FiveThirtyEight’s polling grades

By Eric Strauss
West Long Branch | May 26, 2020 at 12:26 pm

The FiveThirtyEight data website is out with its latest rating of the nation’s polling institutes, and Monmouth University again was at the head of the class.

Monmouth University Polling Institute received an “A+” rating, as one of just six such groups nationwide to earn the highest mark. Monmouth said it was the fourth straight time it has earned top marks, in 2016, 2018 and 2019 (there were no ratings in 2017).

“Our job has never been to ‘predict’ electoral outcomes, but to further our understanding of the dynamics driving each election as it progresses,” the institute’s director, Patrick Murray, said in a prepared statement. “It is rewarding for our team to be recognized for doing this as accurately as possible.”

New Jersey’s other pollsters earned solid ratings: Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind received an “A/B” grade, as did the Stockton Polling Institute. The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was given a “B/C” rating.

Nate Silver’s website rated hundreds of polling organizations, with factors including both 2019 gubernatorial elections and 2020 presidential primaries.

“If there was a ‘winner’ for the 2020 primaries, it was Monmouth University, whose average error of 7.5 points was the lowest among firms that released five or more primary polls,” Nathaniel Rakich of FiveThirtyEight said in the article accompanying the rankings. “Probably not by coincidence, Monmouth also has the highest FiveThirtyEight rating overall — a sterling ‘A+.’”

The other five “A+” grades belonged to Marist College, ABC News/The Washington Post, Siena College/The New York Times Upshot, Selzer & Co. and Muhlenberg College. SurveyUSA, Suffolk University and CBS News/The New York Times all earned “A” grades.

Ratings were based on an analysis of historical accuracy and methodology, FiveThirtyEight said.

For the complete rankings, click here.

Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | @acerimrat