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Here's a sampling:
3 - Look for polls that use live interviewers; they have a better track record.Polls that use real, live humans to call people up and ask them what they think are more tested have a better record than interactive voice response (“robopolls”) or online polls. Pollsters that use live interviewers can more easily reach a representative sample, while convenience online surveysand especially interactive voice response polls have trouble contacting some demographic groups — young people and nonwhite respondents, for example.
4 - Know the polling firm – some are waaay better than others. There’s a ton of pollsters. Many are staffed with really smart people who put a lot of thought and resources into producing top-quality surveys. Some are not. Some produce fake polls. If you’ve never heard of the polling firm, be suspicious. When in doubt, check our pollster ratings to be sure.
12 - If the polls shift after the debates … wait. Short-term shifts in polls often reverse themselves. Debates are among the final events on every modern election calendar that can have a big effect on the polls. There’s an argument to be made that Ronald Reagan’s strong debate performance in 1980 shifted the polls in his direction in the final week of the campaign. But in 2012, Mitt Romney rose in the polls after the first debate only to lose most of those gains before Election Day. Better to wait and see if any change lasts.