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About those Democratic pre-election polls

Yesterday's Democratic result is sure to fuel debate among poll-watchers about the accuracy of polls in contests with African American candidates. In several well-known, but long-ago examples, pre-election polls underestimated support for the white candidates in such campaigns. But in the 2006 elections, a strong showing by polls in elections with black candidates seemed to finally put that notion to rest; and there was no apparent problem with reliable pre-election polls in Iowa.

A more likely culprit than the role of race is "likely voter" modeling, with pollsters perhaps over-counting the boost of enthusiasm among Obama supporters following his victory in Iowa. Another possibility is that independents opted at the last minute to participate in the Republican primary, depriving Obama of crucial voters.

Another potential source of error stems from New Hampshire ballot rules. In previous contests, the state rotated candidate names from precinct to precinct, but this year the names were in alphabetical order, with Clinton near the top and Obama lower down. Stanford Professor Jon Krosnick, a survey specialist and expert witness in a lawsuit about ballot order in New Hampshire, has estimated a three percentage point or greater bounce for a big-name candidate appearing high on the ballot. Therefore, if pre-election polls randomized candidate names, as most do, they would have underestimated Clinton's support by at least three points.

Regardless, there were no immediate clear answers, and lots of data analysis ahead.

cross posted on The Trail.

By Jon Cohen  |  January 9, 2008; 12:51 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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Polls have become the main campaign tool of both the press and the politicians. Both are obsessed with them. Whatever happened to real debates about issues, original ideas like ending slavery, (a modern candidate would have never taken this opinion like Lincoln did without taking a poll.

Posted by: KRitt from WA | January 9, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Watching the debates is like watching a wrestling match!
The idiots that are watching this farce think that it is for real!
The biggest show on earth is choreographed by the super rich that make blood money fighting phony wars!
The 1% of the population that control our economic life, control both of our political parties, and control our major media by buying them and owning them!
The Neocons, the Military Industrial Complex, the major political parties, the super rich dynasty families, are all in the same bed with each other!
The Democrats talk the talk of candidate Dennis Kucinich, but walk the walk of the special interests that finance their campaigns!

Posted by: Richard Walters | January 12, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I honestly beleive that Situation room needs to be off tv or at least get rid of wolf and cafferty
Those two are so bias...They have no respect for women and their constant remarks toward Hillary were unfounded. They always sound like woman haters or they have a very unhappy marriage and take it out on hillary. Shame on them.

Posted by: lucille Morefield | March 4, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Very good place " target="_top">read forex charts

Posted by: Braden eroxt | April 9, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

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