Marist College is widely known for their Marist Poll, which is a survey research center located on its Poughkeepsie campus. The Marist Poll was rated number one for accuracy by Bloomberg Politics for their work during the 2016 Presidential election.
Marist is also known for their athletic programs, with 23 Division I sports available, and many of them are known for their long-term success, such as women’s basketball. In the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, they are pitted against schools such as Rider University, Iona College, and Fairfield University, to name a few.
The unique part about the MAAC is that three other schools besides Marist have their own poll. The other three schools are Siena College, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac University.
We wondered, how do the polls rank against each other? It’s quite rare to see four schools in the same conference have a public polling center.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Pollster Rankings, The Marist Poll called 84 percent of races correctly, and edged out the Quinnipiac Poll who called 83 percent correct. This is a reflection of the unspoken rivalry between the schools, which has been bleeding into the sports programs recently. Specifically, we have to look back to the 2019 MAAC Men’s Lacrosse Championship when the Red Foxes beat the Bobcats, by the score of 15-14. To turn the tables, Quinnipiac defeated Marist in the 2019 MAAC Women’s Basketball Championship, by a score of 81-51. The last few seasons, Marist and Quinnipiac Women’s Basketball have battled atop the MAAC, with the Bobcats having Marist’s number throughout, and going on a three-peat since 2016. But in the poll, Marist has an average error percentage of 5.2, while Quinnipiac’s is 4.6. Quinnipiac has the slightly better error in this case. In the overall grade, Marist’s Poll is rated an A+, while Quinnipiac is rated a B+. Regardless of sports rivalry, it’s safe to say the Red Foxes have the better poll than the Bobcats.
Now it’s time to compare Marist to its upstate rival, the Siena Saints. Marist has dominated the Saints in football. The Saints haven’t defeated Marist in the sport since 1991. To be fair, Siena hasn’t had a football team since 2003. But that’s still a 12 year span without beating Marist in football. Perhaps that’s the reason they got rid of the team? In the all-time series between the Red Foxes and Saints, it has been relatively close. Marist has 36 wins compared to Siena’s 30. Both teams have also gone on long winning streaks. Plus, Marist went on a 25-game win streak after Siena went on a 17-game win streak of their own.
For now though, let’s just get back to the polls. According to the Pollster rankings, Siena has a 69 percent accuracy rate, compared to Marist’s 84 percent. Is there anything else that needs to be said?
While the Siena poll is rated as an A+, only 57 of their polls have been analyzed, compared to Marist’s 172. That equates to another tally in Marist’s column in the poll power rankings.
Last but not least, we have Monmouth. This one’s tricky. These two seem to be evenly matched throughout the MAAC as Monmouth has dominated women’s soccer and Marist has dominated women’s basketball. Aside from that, they are both tied in baseball, but Marist has had more recent success. The Red Foxes are currently on a seven-game win streak against the Hawks in women’s basketball, giving them a 26-19 record overall against them.
As for the polls, the two also seem pretty even. Both are graded A+, both have an accuracy rate in the 80 percent range, and both have a similar error rate of 5.2 percent. As for the better poll, it’s hard to say. It’s only fitting to end this matchup in a tie.
In the end, none of this really matters. All four polls of the MAAC are tremendous organizations and work hard to measure the public opinion of people throughout the region. They have all received national notoriety from distinguished companies like NBC, The Wall Street Journal, and former President Barack Obama.
Edited by Nick Aprea
Header photo from Marist Athletics