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Trust the Florida polls? Look at their accuracy in prior Florida elections

Don't forget the margins of error in all these polls, which have been pretty darn accurate
Published Nov. 6, 2018
Updated Nov. 6, 2018

Happy Florida Election Day. Take a moment and consider how extraordinary it is to live in mega state with 13 million voters who over and over and over again deliver elections decided by 1 percentage point.

For those of us too weak to resist looking yet again at all those Florida polls, let's consider how the polls wound up stacking up to reality in prior neck and neck contests. Very well, it turns out.

Today, the RealClearPolitics.com average of recent public polls shows Democrat Bill Nelson leading Republican Rick Scott in the U.S. Senate race by an average 2.4 percentage points, and Democrat Andrew Gillum leads Republican Ron DeSantis in the governor's race by an average of 3.6 percentage point. Nelson has led in three of the last five poll, while Gillum has led in four of the last five.

Here's what RCP showed in previous years

2016 Presidential: RCP had Trump leading by .2 percentage points. Trump won by 1.2

2014 governor's race: RCP average had Charlie Crist leading by .6. Rick Scott won by 1.1

2012 Presidential: RCP average had Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama  by 1.5 percentage points. Obama won by .9

2010 governor's race: RCP average showed Rick Scott leading Alex Sink by 1.2 percentage points. Scott won by 1.2

2008 presidential: RCP average had Obama beating John McCain by 1.8 percentage points. He won by 2.8.

2006 governor's: RCP found Charlie Crist leading Jim Davis by 6.8 percentage points. Crist won by 7.1

The polls may have picked the wrong winner in '14 and '12, but we can't call those botched polls given how close they came to nailing the results. In the past six elections they have been remarkably close in the outcome – well within the margin of error.

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