Pollsters routinely point to their industry’s long record of success in predicting the outcome of the popular vote for the U.S. president. However, it is the statewide elections that matter most, since the president is chosen through the Electoral College and not through a national popular vote. In close national elections, reliable state polls and insightful state-level voting analyses are essential parts of predicting electoral votes and the result of the Presidential election, as well as control of the Congress. Given the likelihood of yet another close election in 2008, our ability to predict the ultimate outcome depends greatly on polls taken at the state level. But who is conducting these polls and how much does their reliability vary from state to state? What are the key demographic and social trends that really drive voting trends in the battleground states? Moreover, how will the statewide polls be affected by having, for the first time in history, a major party candidate who is African American?
The 2008 Presidential Election: Can the State Polls be Trusted?
On October 7, CSDP co-sponsored a panel discussion on the reliability of state polls in this election.
Christopher Achen, Department of Politics, Princeton University
Larry Hugick, Chairman, Princeton Survey Research Associates International
Andrew Gelman, Departments of Statistics and Political Science, Columbia University
Joe Lenski, Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, Edison Media Research
Co-sponsors: Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, The New York and New Jersey chapters of the American Association for Public Opinion Research