RealClearPolitics announces Polling Accountability Initiative

RealClearPolitics, a major source of polling and election news, is reassessing its polling coverage. It will be ranking pollsters on accuracy and performance in an effort to increase transparency and accountability on political polling.
New York City polling station

RealClearPolitics, a long-time staple of election coverage with its closely watched polling average, has launched a new initiative to increase accountability and public trust in election polling.

The new project, called the "Polling Accountability Initiative," will rank polling organizations solely on their accuracy in anticipating election results, and will implemented in the upcoming weeks.  The midterms, less than a month away, will be a major factor in determining the rankings, the news site said.

The initiative is a response to recent questions on the value of polling in the United States, RCP said in its announcement, and the "less-than-stellar work" done by some polling organizations and media outlets that receives "a disproportionate amount of attention."

The ranking will have a two-fold impact: highlighting trustworthy sources while also "shining a light on firms releasing less accurate surveys," the news site said.

The problem is not that all polling is skewed but rather that inaccurate polls are warping election coverage, it said.

"Accuracy is the foundational bedrock of public trust," the news site said in its announcement Friday. That trust has clearly been lacking in recent elections, creating frustration for both the public and media organizations.  RCP hopes this initiative will be a "positive and constructive force" to improve polling, rewarding the organizations that reflect reality and rebuilding public trust in polling as a whole by increasing accountability.

The project is also a response to the changing landscape of both polling and politics.  Over the last two decades, public discourse has moved online, creating wide spaces for conversation and raising many questions about accuracy, bias, and censorship, RCP said.