Are National Polls Reliable Predictors of Midterm Elections?
The Cell Phone Challenge to Survey Research
Summary of Findings A growing number of Americans rely solely on a cell phone for their telephone service, and many more are considering giving up their landline phones. This trend presents a challenge to public opinion polling, which typically relies on a random sample of the population of landline subscribers. A new study of the […]
Horse Race Polls Not More Variable This Year
Lead Changes Contribute to Erroneous Perception
Polls Face Growing Resistance, But Still Representative
Summary of Findings Faced with a growing number of unsolicited telephone calls and armed with increasingly sophisticated technology for screening their calls, more Americans are refusing to participate in telephone polls than was the case just six years ago. Yet a survey research experiment to gauge the effects of respondent cooperation on survey quality indicates […]
Gauging the Impact of Growing Nonresponse on Estimates from a National RDD Telephone Survey
Public Opinion Quarterly 70: 759-779 (2006) – This article provides more extensive analysis of data from the study reported in Polls Face Growing Resistance, But Still Representative.
A Good Day for the Pollsters
The Accuracy of Pre-Election Tracking Polls in New Hampshire
Why The Generic Ballot Test?
Throughout the election season, the Pew Research Center and other major polling organizations report a measure that political insiders sometimes call “the generic ballot.” This measure is the percentage of voters in national surveys who say they intend to vote for either the Republican or the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in […]
Simply Put, The Public’s View Can’t Be Put Simply
by Andrew Kohut in The Washington Post
Screening Likely Voters: A Survey Experiment
Introduction and Summary Traditionally, pollsters trying to accurately assess voter intentions have struggled with a basic problem — figuring out who actually is going to show up to vote. In the 2000 election campaign, sharp fluctuations in the Gallup Organization’s daily tracking poll were blamed by some on difficulties in nailing down likely voters. Similar […]
Does an early lead in the polls usually hold up?
A stream of candidate announcements and polls showing Texas Governor George W. Bush leading Vice President Al Gore have spurred interest in the 2000 presidential contest. But with the nominating conventions still more than 16 months away, what do these early polls mean for would-be nominees? A look back at nearly 40 years of early […]
Consequences of Reducing Nonresponses in a National Telephone Survey
Online Polling Offer Mixed Results
The potential for conducting public opinion surveys online is a hot topic today. With the Internet’s tremendous growth, an online poll can now compile literally tens of thousands of opinions quickly and at a fraction of the cost of traditional telephone surveys. Already many commercial websites invite people to voice their views on a range […]
Possible Consequences of Non-Response for Pre-Election Surveys
Survey Findings Pre-election polling is tricky work. A number of unknown factors can stand in the way of accurate predictions — problems with identifying registered and likely voters, uncertainties about voter turnout, and last-minute shifts in candidate preference. But estimating voter preferences in biracial elections has been especially difficult. Pre-election surveys, even those taken just […]
Conservative Opinions Not Underestimated, But Racial Hostility Missed
Introduction and Summary A unique survey research experiment finds that public opinion polls, as they are typically conducted, do not understate conservative opinions or support for the Republican Party. Conservative critics of the polls have charged that these surveys are politically biased. A methodological study by the Pew Research Center finds little evidence of this, […]
Generic Congressional Measures Less Accurate In Presidential Years
The polling lesson of 1994 was learned first by the Gallup Poll in the 1950’s… that a generic measure of partisan support for House races in a nationwide poll can do a good job of estimating the popular vote for the Congressional election. Consequently, it is an excellent basis for predicting the number of seats […]
Chance Error and Bill Clinton’s Political Fortunes
The big difference this week between the CNN/USA/Gallup poll and ABC/WP poll is the first major polling disparity of the ’96 campaign. Gallup’s results indicate that support for the President has tumbled sharply, while the GOP leadership is viewed more favorably than a month ago. In sharp contrast, the ABC/WP poll found no trend away […]