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Study: Which Pollsters Most Accurately Predicted Election

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Pollsters not only predicted winners and losers. The pollsters themselves WERE winners and losers. A study by Fordham U. political scientist Costas Panagopoulos ranked 28 pollsters based on how well they predicted the actual outcome of the popular vote. 

In an exclusive interview, Costas Panagopoulos, Director, of Fordham's Center for  Electoral Politics and Democracy told Opednews.com that "Polls were pretty close to each other for the most part, were  pretty close to projecting what actually happened on election day."

Fordham's study found that the top pollsters, in terms of accuracy, were Ipsos/Reuters, YouGov, PPP,  Daily Kos/SEIU/PPP and Angus-Reid* 

Panagopoulos's study reports that none of the polls showed partisan biases, stating, "Most (22) polls overestimated Romney support, while six (6) overestimated Obama strength (indicated with a * below), but  none of the 28 national pre-election polls I examined had a significant partisan bias.  

Markos Moulitsas, founder and head of Dailykos, which used PPP, which was initially ranked first, before the election returns were updated, observed,

"PPP is a robo-pollster that doesn't call cell phones, which was supposedly a cardinal sin--particularly when their numbers weren't looking so hot for Obama post-first debate. But there's a reason we've worked with them the past year--because their track record is the best in the biz.

One last point--YouGov and Ipsos/Reuters were both internet polls. YouGov has now been pretty good two elections in a row. With cell phones becoming a bigger and bigger issue every year, it seems clear that the internet is the future of polling. I'm glad someone is figuring it out.

But let's be clear, you have to go down to number six on the list to get to someone who called cell phones. And Gallup called 50 percent cell phones and they were a laughingstock this cycle."

I asked professor Panagopoulos about his take on how his findings found that the top ranking polls did not include mobile phones. He replied,"They were not so far off to claim that we should not use mobile phones," but added, "The top polls were not based on contacting mobile phone users. They were automated or internet based surveys." And he concluded, referring to the robo-pollster and internet-based polls, "Some of these approaches may not be as  problematic as some of the critics believe."

Actually, Gallup, ranked among the lowest in both this 2012 poll AND a similar poll Panagopoulos did after the 2008 election did use mobile phones, at least in this poll. 

I asked "Are there are any methodologies that your findings suggest should be altered?" 

He replied, "I would look at the survey organizations -- I also did a similar study after the 2008 election and there are organizations like Gallup that come at the bottom of the list in both cycle. I think we ought to think about how those polls are being conducted and how they can be improved."

I also asked, "Any ideas on how orgs like Gallup should change their methodologies?" He replied, "Not at this time."

Panagopoulos did change the ranking, later in the day after he originally posted the study, when final counts continued to come, changing the margin of Obama's win from 1.7 to 2.2 percent. That moved PPP, which had been in first place in his first ranking, lower down, with Ipsos Reuters and YouGov ranking at the top. 

The study stated, "For all the derision directed toward pre-election polling, the final poll estimates were not 

far off from the actual nationwide voteshares for the two candidates. On average, preelection polls from 28 public polling organizations projected a Democratic advantage of 

1.07 percentage points on Election Day, which is only about 1.13 percentage points away 

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Rob Kall is editor-in-chief, publisher and site architect of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor. He hosts the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, aired in the Metro Philly area on AM 1360, WNJC. Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

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Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

See more Rob Kall articles here and, older ones, here. To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

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for the Massachusetts senate race should be embarr... by intotheabyss on Thursday, Nov 8, 2012 at 10:45:00 AM
and try using actual math next time!... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Nov 8, 2012 at 11:30:28 AM
but I stand by my comment below it: click her... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Nov 8, 2012 at 1:46:49 PM
a thousand. Which wasn't bad for Utah and a third ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 10:22:35 AM
just like the 2004 ones.Romney was a soc-puppet ca... by Dar Gary on Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 4:36:40 AM