By Gary Reese –
The Des Moines Register’s Pollster Ann Selzer was nowhere to be found during Monday night’s Iowa caucus returns. Nor was self-proclaimed statistics guru Nate Silver. Both had predicted a huge victory for Donald Trump. But not Atlanta-based OpinionSavvy, which polls for Fox affiliates in the Southeast, Morris News, and for InsiderAdvantage.
While other major pollsters had Donald Trump winning outside of their margins of error, including the Des Moines Register poll (known as the “gold standard” of Iowa polls) OpinionSavvy, founded by Matt Towery, Jr. (son of InsiderAdvantage founder Matt Towery) went out on a ledge showing the race between Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio extremely close. The OpinionSavvy poll, part of the RealClearPolitics average, showed Trump ahead by just one point with Cruz and Rubio tied for second.
Other than an Emerson College poll, no major national pollster came close to the OpinionSavvy numbers.
The poll was carried by Newsmax, for whom the elder Towery is a contributor, and by Fox5 Atlanta where he is a political analyst. But a shot by “polling expert” Nate Silver of ESPN– which wrongly equated the OpinionSavvy poll with poor grades he assigned to InsiderAdvantage’s past polling (and which were contested)– seemed to bias national commentators. Silver is known for his infamous “prediction” of a World Cup soccer match between Germany and Brazil, which left the world scratching its head.
The full poll and its commentary (posted Sunday) can be found at www.opinionsavvy.com. In response to Silver, InsiderAdvantage CEO Phil Kent defended the firm’s past polling, wrongly imputed to OpinionSavvy. He said:
“Our firm had a tradition of accurate polling in Iowa. The proof is the RealClearPolitics final numbers from 2004 through 2012. One might note that InsiderAdvantage was one of the few firms to match or exceed the Des Moines Register poll each and every time. Here are the past results. InsiderAdvantage congratulates OpinionSavvy for its nationally stunning and accurate performance.”
RealClearPolitics results 2004-to-2012: