Two Georgia pollsters fare poorly in nationwide ranking

The New York Times last week announced that it would begin hosting the popular political blog FiveThirtyEight, and bring founder Nate Silver into its stable of regular contributors.

The NYT’s justification:

Mr. Silver, a statistical wizard, became a media star during the last presidential election season for his political projections based on dissections of polling data. He retains all rights to FiveThirtyEight and will continue to run it himself, but “under the banner and auspices of,” The Times said in a news release.

In other words, what Silver writes suddenly has more weight. And on Sunday, the author ranked the nation’s pollsters. Georgia’s two polling firms, Strategic Vision and InsiderAdvantage, fared poorly.

Strategic Vision was blacklisted “for extreme misconduct; substantial likelihood that polls were fabricated.” See the background here. Dave Johnson, the CEO of Strategic Vision, has denied wrongdoing, but has severely cut back his firm’s polling.

InsiderAdvantage of Atlanta, run by Matt Towery, ranked second-to-last on the Nate Silver ranking.

Towery has partnered with WSB-TV over a series of polls in the race for governor, and most recently declared that former Gov. Roy Barnes had a 64 percent lead in the Democratic race.

Towery declared himself puzzled by Silver’s ranking. “Ask him to show me the races that we’ve missed,” Towery said.

The InsiderAdvantage CEO also pointed the curious to a 2008 address at Fordham University where Silver said the following, as noted by the university’s public relations team:

Silver’s analysis showed that Zogby, AP-GFK and Insider Advantage were the most accurate of all polling firms, although the percentages separating them were small. Comparing polling firms can be misleading, he said, because pollsters such as Rasmussen Reports include states like Alaska, whereas Zogby sticks to so-called battleground states.

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18 comments Add your comment

Ron Revog

June 7th, 2010
3:07 pm

Like Mark Twain said, there are “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”. But one thing we can be 100% certain on is that Roy Barnes is the wrong choice for Georgia. Everyone needs to vote against Mr. Barnes and rally behind House Minority Leader DuBose Porter in the primary regardless of political affiliation. He is a true statesman and by far the most qualified candidate on either side of the race.

Not DuBose Either

June 7th, 2010
3:12 pm

DuBose, the anti-choice candidate, is not what Democrats in Georgia need.

Of course, neither is Roy.

I’ll vote for Poythress.

[...] I’ll wager there are at least two people in Georgia who disagree with that analysis. The Political Insider has the full story. Strategic Vision was blacklisted “for extreme misconduct; substantial likelihood that polls were [...]

Don't You Dare!

June 7th, 2010
3:30 pm

NO! Bad boy, bad! Don’t you dare turn this into a debate on abortion! It’s what the conservatives use to blindly beat dems even though they have never even tried to get a bill through both houses and we must not reduce ourselves to that level. Listen to Carol Porter, she states: “The question politicians really need to be asked is not, “Are you pro-life or pro-choice,” but instead, ‘will you work to reduce abortions?’ My answer is yes, but if you have to give me a label you will have to call me pro-Georgian.” I freaking LOVE this woman, Carol Porter for Governor!

Just Nasty & Mean

June 7th, 2010
3:44 pm

This ranking firm appears to have schizophrenia. It doesn’t seem to be able to make up its mind.

I think THEY are last on their list and have ZERO credibility.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

June 7th, 2010
4:24 pm

Instead of lecturing, maybe Nate Silver ought to read the numbers published by Costas Panagopoulos, Ph.D., Department of Political Science, Fordham University, (

1. Rasmussen (11/1-3)**
1. Pew (10/29-11/1)**
2. YouGov/Polimetrix (10/18-11/1)
3. Harris Interactive (10/20-27)
4. GWU (Lake/Tarrance) (11/2-3)*
5. Diageo/Hotline (10/31-11/2)*
5. ARG (10/25-27)*
6. CNN (10/30-11/1)
6. Ipsos/McClatchy (10/30-11/1)
7. (D)/Research 2000 (11/1-3)
8. AP/Yahoo/KN (10/17-27)
9. Democracy Corps (D) (10/30-11/2)
10. FOX (11/1-2)
11. Economist/YouGov (10/25-27)
12. IBD/TIPP (11/1-3)
13. NBC/WSJ (11/1-2)
14. ABC/Post (10/30-11/2)
15. Marist College (11/3)
16. CBS (10/31-11/2)
17. Gallup (10/31-11/2)
18. Reuters/ C-SPAN/ Zogby (10/31-11/3)
19. CBS/Times (10/25-29)
20. Newsweek (10/22-23)


June 7th, 2010
4:26 pm

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 7th, 2010
6:57 pm

Right. Fordham’s the source for truth and honor….NOT! Why do you thing Avery Dulles was a cardinal there vetting good Roman Catholics to enter the FBI to slaughter the Black and White Davidians at Waco…for outing the Roman Anti-Christ on shortwave radio?

G-d made Matt Towery bald…and runt Towery tries to hide his baldness as a fraud and fake “man.”

Rome is the Anti-Christ and Towery works for them, urinating on the graves of all righteous – Black and White = Southerners’ ancestors.

Bobby Anthony

June 7th, 2010
10:20 pm

I am going to vote for Poythress for Governor and will consider Mrs, Porter for the number 2 spot.

George P Burdell

June 8th, 2010
9:09 am

FiveThiryEight’s response can be found at
Commenters above that characterize the rankings as either “good” or “bad” are missing the point.
Rankings of pollsters rise and fall depending on their performance.
InsiderAdvantage has not had good performance lately.
It doesn’t mean that they won’t have good performance in the future.
It does mean that people are now watching pollsters for their accuracy.
FiveThiryEight does point out that InsiderAdvantage is using misleading marketing material.


June 8th, 2010
9:46 am

According to the information from Fordham University which Ragnar shared, CNN’s polling was rated significantly higher than Fox news’ polling. No surprise there.

[...] In other words, what Silver writes suddenly has more weight. And on Sunday, the author ranked the nation’s pollsters. Georgia’s two polling firms, Strategic Vision and InsiderAdvantage, fared poorly. Read the complete story. [...]

[...] On Monday, we told you that Nate Silver of had ranked the nation’s pollsters. [...]


June 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

Who cares about pollsters. I have never let any poll influence how I vote.

Is that a poll in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

June 8th, 2010
1:01 pm

Towery couldn’t find the facts with GPS.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

June 8th, 2010
5:37 pm

FoxNews is “Vatican TV,” started by Mr. Vatican himself, Roger Ailes…who brought America a draft-dodging pederast, Rush Limbaugh, who stated “The Roman Catholic Church is the rock-ribbed backbone of American moral values.” The Gay Old Pervert party, with undercover operative like the accursed Matt Towery, are working to usurp Our Nation in every way possible…from debasement of the currency, to illegal immigration, to false war off 9/11. The Founder called it “the real Anti-Christ.” If any here think himself smarter than Jefferson, do tell.


June 9th, 2010
5:23 pm

CNN and Fox both use outside polling firms for their polls. Strangely enough, the names of those firms were omitted. You can also find different sources for ranking the firms as well.

Pollsters are having a difficult time with accuracy thanks to cell phones, VOIP, and sources like MagicJack. Samples are becoming more skewed among the 18-34 demographic and pollsters are trying to compensate for that. Add to the fact some firms use random digit dialing and there is a flaw in assuming the person answering is even being honest about being registered. Other firms use voter files themselves which cut that problem out from the get-go. I did not see PPP, Mason-Dixon, and the Polling Company on there which are three larger firms. Add to the fact the above list was solely based on the 2008 Presidential. Nationwide samples are harder to base results on. And picking one result and judging firms by is not scientific either.

[...] an article at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, InsiderAdvantage’s Matt Towery challenged me to [...]