How confident should you be in election polls? Not nearly as confident as the pollsters claim, according to a new Berkeley Haas study by Prof. Don Moore and former student Aditya Kotak, BA 20.
Most election polls report a 95% confidence level. Yet an analysis of 1,400 polls from 11 election cycles found that the outcome lands within the poll’s result just 60% of the time. And that’s for polls just one week before an election—accuracy drops even more further out.
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Don Moore is the Lorraine Tyson Mitchell Chair in Leadership and Communication at Berkeley Haas. His research interests include overconfidence—including when people think they are better than they actually are, when people think they are better than others, and when they are too sure they know the truth. He is the author of the recent book, Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely.
Moore is available for interviews related to his research on the accuracy of pre-election polling.