Not all political polls are created equally. And different surveys sometimes show different results.

As the 2020 presidential race kicks into another gear — and with hundreds of different polls expected to be released between now and Election Day — here’s some helpful guidance when examining the horserace numbers.

1. Who conducted the poll?

Was it a reputable news organization? Or a pollster with past experience measuring public opinion in political races? Or none of the above?

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, is conducted jointly by two polling outfits – the Democratic firm Hart Research Associates and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, both of which have a long history polling for political candidates and parties.

2. Do the findings confirm the conventional wisdom, or do they cut against the grain?

In August, a Monmouth University poll found Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in a three-way tie for first place in the 2020 Democratic horserace – contrary to other polling showing Biden with a significant lead over his Democratic competitors.

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