Tom Steyer, a billionaire, announced he was campaigning for president on July 9 and pledged to spend 100 million dollars of his own fortune to make that happen. Enough for a significant advertisement buy!

To make the third debate stage in September he will have to have at least 2% in 4 polls through the end of July and get at least 130k individual donors.

Yet, when I look at the most recent polls, they don't seem to be asking his name. Is his candidacy real or not?


2 Answers 2


If you look at the date ranges on those "most recent polls" (at the time this question was asked) you will find that they almost all started before July 9th.

The Hill/Harris X poll started July 12th. It includes Steyer (0%, rounded).

The Economist/YouGov poll started July 14th. It includes Steyer (1%).

The premise that Steyer is not included in polls that began after his candidacy was announced July 9th seems to be false.

  • 2
    Lag is a very important thing about polls most people miss. You can't expect to see good polls that fully account for a recent event until nearly a moth after the event.
    – T.E.D.
    Jul 18, 2019 at 18:00
  • @T.E.D. Agreed. Especially difficult for aggregating in this context when only the most recent polls even have a candidate included on the list, due to their criterion for including the name on the poll. They then have to decide whether to even attempt to aggregate those data or not. Jul 18, 2019 at 18:04
  • @T.E.D. Source on the month after the event? Seems like a week should be plenty for everyone that actually follows the news and I guess the rest will never know. Oct 21, 2019 at 0:04
  • 1
    @Benjamin - I said a month as a nice safe and easy to remember round number larger than a week (which is too short). National tracking polls tend to have a 5-day polling window (and don't poll on the weekend), and only release their polls weekly. That means you have look hard at the release date, and add something like 14 days to make sure an event is fully included in their numbers. Or you can just wait a month and look at their trendline, which is much easier and less prone to math errors.
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 21, 2019 at 13:15
  • @Benjamin - The best article I could find on this is this old 538 article from 2008. And before you post an "Ah-ha!" message back, please make sure to read the last half of the article starting at "Conversely, some of the national tracking polls are actually not all that fresh..."
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 21, 2019 at 13:17

Real Clear Politics is only listing thirteen of the twenty odd major candidates in their interface. Presumably this is because they lack the horizontal room on the page to show more. This leaves off eight of the candidates who made it to the first debate. If you look down further, the graph shows twenty candidates and Tom Steyer is included there (he currently averages .5%). That still leaves off at least three of the candidates from the first debate (because there are three people listed who weren't at the debate).

If you want more details, you'll have to click into the individual polls. In general, in their table, the name of the polling outfit links to the poll in question.

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