I have written many times about how polls done this far ahead of a presidential election are meaningless, despite the media’s urgency in printing, broadcasting, and analyzing them. Fortunately, Robert Shapiro of Washington Monthly dug into the actual numbers and discovered that the results of polls done in early June have been, in his words, “way off the mark” for forty-four years. That goes all the way back to Reagan-Carter!

Beyond all that, history shows that early June polls bear no reasonable relationship to general election outcomes, even the Gallup polls that are as close to an industry standard as we have.

Incumbent presidents have run for reelection seven times since 1980. While 2 percentage points currently separate Trump and Biden, the early June Gallup polls in those seven reelect cases differed from the ultimate election results by an average of 9 percentage points, including three cases in which the early June leader lost in November.

When I told my wife about this, she said, sarcastically, “Well, they have to have something to put between the commercials.”

To which I replied, “How about some actual news?”

Read Shapiro’s full piece here.