Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pollsters Take a Big Hit in New Hampshire

Pollsters are under scrutiny today following the New Hampshire Primary where the information passed on to the mainstream media turned out to be far from the reality of the actual results. While most of the information supplied by the pollsters was close to being correct in most of the races in both party's, the race between Obama and Clinton turned out to be a "egg on the faces of the pollsters". Let's look at some examples:

Poll favors Obama in New Hampshire------UPI

NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., went into Tuesday's New Hampshire primary with a 7-percentage-point poll lead, CBS News reported.Among 323 Democrat voters in the state, Obama had 35 percent over Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who was at 28 percent. Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., logged 19 percent.

From the Political Wire (Jan. 6th):

Rasmussen Poll: Obama Expands Lead in New Hampshire

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey in New Hampshire shows Sen. Barack Obama leading with 39% of the vote, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton at 27% and John Edwards at 18%.The poll shows Obama picking up two points since yesterday.Among Republicans, the poll shows Sen. John McCain edging Mitt Romney, 32% to 30%, with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul each earning 11% and Rudy Giuliani behind at 9%.

Peter A. Brown wrote on Saturday, January 5, in the Boston Herald:

Real N.H. poll will be Tues.

"then, numbers may not add up".........

"View the New Hampshire polls you see in the final hours before the voting occurs with a large grain of salt. It’s not because the pollsters doing the surveys aren’t good at their jobs.
It doesn’t mean they won’t turn out to be correct. But the very short window between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary makes it almost impossible to do the kind of quality polling that professionals would like, if given their druthers."

The bottom line is..........Pollsters screwed up, BIGTIME. And they will be under their own microscopes for quite a while. The blogosphere is all over the map on why the numbers were so far off on the Obama/Clinton numbers. Screams of "diebold", Clinton bussing the masses into New Hampshire, voter fraud, you name it, it's getting written. My take is the pollsters had little time to do proper polling procedures in the short time they had between Iowa and NH (5 days). What did they do? They simply sampled far too much emotion and very little real data.

Remember, even as late as the day after Obama's victory in Iowa, Clinton (in many polls) still had a 10 to 12 point lead:

"On the Democratic side, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton maintains her front-runner status in the Granite State, with a 12 percent lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is coming off a big win in Iowa last night, according to the latest Suffolk University/7News poll released early this morning." Link

But, when we look at what Rasmussen released on Jan. 6th showing Obama ahead by 12 points, we must ask Mr. Rasmussen how his company was so flawed in these calculations. Rassmussen may very well attempt to explain that their models were flawed because no one predicted the turnout would be almost double the amount of the previous (2004) primary. The youth vote was also completely unpredictable. I think it was the tears.......... :)

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