Poll guru Nate Silver’s preferred way to judge a poll’s accuracy is “simply to compare the margin in the poll against the actual result.” With that in mind, we looked at the final polls for some of the most talked-about races this year. We chose polls with recent data on likely voters and, when possible, polls with high ratings from Silver’s site, fivethirtyeight.com. Not all elections have been decided yet as the counting continues, especially for tight races in states like Arizona and Florida.
Polls always come with some margin of error, which depends on the number of people surveyed. A poll can show the losing candidate ahead and still be accurate if the winner’s lead falls within the margin of error.
The margins of error shown for each poll represent the margin of the lead the winning candidate has over the losing one.
Election results as of the morning of Friday, Nov. 9.
† The Fox News poll for the Missouri senate race and the NBC News/Marist poll for the Indiana senate race both included more than two candidates.
Sources: Associated Press, individual polls
Credits: Additional reporting by David Lauter and Ellis Simani