Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics/polls


Hello sir,
Can you tell me the difference between the state and national polls? I realize that one is state and one is national but besides that,is one better than the other? A few days ago, the news announced that Hillary Clinton was ahead in the polls when Donald Trump chimed in that he was ahead in the national polls. I never knew there was more than one. But it takes all 50 state polls to make a national poll,right?

Hi Joyce,

A national poll does a national sampling from across the country.  Typically it would have a smaller sampling than you would have in 50 separate State polls.  So a national poll gives you a general idea of overall support.

State polls are focused on a particular State.  It is quite common for a single state to have very different views from the nation as a whole.  Particularly important are State polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, since those states have the first caucuses and primaries.  Typically if a candidate cannot finish in the top three or four in those states, that candidate drops out of the race.  Also, the candidates are focusing much of their money and time on those early states.  If they click with the voters there, that is an indication that when they move their campaigns to other States, voters will have a similar reaction.  So people watching politics focus on those early State polls to see which campaigns will be successful.

By the way, there are dozens of different national polls as well as dozens of different State polls.  They frequently have different results.

- Mike

Legislation, Presidential & Congressional Politics

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question about U.S. Political history, Constitutional law, the legislative process, elections, etc. I enjoy Presidential and Congressional historical trivia, but can answer more substantive questions too.


Former Staff member for a Congressman and Senator. I also worked on about 10 Congressional and Presidential campaigns (only one that won). For a short time, I worked in the legal department of the Federal Election Commission.    I have a B.A. in Political Science.

Former LBJ Fellow (paid fellowship for Congressional Staff).
Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary Society).

Washington Post
Washington Times

J.D. University of Michigan
B.A. George Washington University (Poli. Sci. major).

Awards and Honors
LBJ Fellow
Truman Scholar

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