New Hampshire Pollsters: Who Got it Right? Most got it Wrong
Rasmussen, my favorite pollster, saw the reversal. Sees Hillary’s tearing-up moment may have played a role and another powerful moment came in the debate on Saturday night where the only woman in the race reminded everyone that she embodies change.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Hillary Clinton’s victory in New Hampshire was a shock to anyone who followed the pre-election polls. At Rasmussen Reports, our final numbers suggested a 7-point victory for Barack Obama. In the end, Clinton won by three. Other polls also foreshadowed a solid victory for Obama, some projecting a double digit margin. The campaigns themselves expected a significant victory for Obama (the Clinton campaign was even saying that anything less than a double-digit loss would be a victory of sorts for their candidate).
It is hard to remember a time when the polling and expectations were so universally different from what really happened. At the same time, It is worth remembering that polling was generally on target for the Republican race. John McCain won, as expected, by splitting the Republican vote with Romney and winning big among Independents. Independents accounted for 37% of the Republican Primary voters, a bit higher than projected.
So what happened with the polling on the Democratic race? There are several possibilities.
First, there may truly have been very late changes in the race. Hillary’s tearing-up moment may have played a role (another powerful moment came in the debate on Saturday night where the only woman in the race reminded everyone that she embodies change). There is some evidence to support this theory, even if we only recognize it in hindsight.
In Rasmussen Reports polling, our final trend was in Clinton’s direction—our tracking poll showed Obama’s lead declining from 10-points following the Sunday interviews to seven points after the Monday night calls. Extrapolating that trend another day would have pointed to a much closer race. Additionally, the Rasmussen Reports surveys showed that Clinton supporters were somewhat more certain that they would stick with their candidate than supporters of Obama or Edwards. If this is the case, why didn’t the late trend get more notice? Perhaps because few other firms polled on Monday night. So, the last polls reported by many continued to show an uptick for Obama.
The Polls Missed the Gender Split between the young and seniors, Independents voted in the Republican Primary.
the late polls missed on how votes divided by gender. Pre-election polls from CNN-WMUR-University of New Hampshire and USA Today-Gallup showed Obama and Clinton about evenly splitting female voters and Obama winning men by a margin of 2 to 1. But Clinton won among women by 12 percentage points, exit polls showed, and she lost among men more narrowly than suggested, drawing 29 percent to Obama’s 40 percent.
Yesterday’s result is sure to fuel debate among poll-watchers about the accuracy of polls in contests with African American candidates. In several well-known past examples, pre-election polls of such campaigns underestimated support for the white candidates. But a strong showing by polls in 2006 in elections with black candidates seemed to put that notion finally to rest.
Other factors that are more probable than the role of race include “likely voter” modeling, with pollsters perhaps over-counting the boost of enthusiasm among Obama supporters following his victory in Iowa last Thursday.
Independents may have opted at the last minute to participate in the Republican primary, depriving Obama of voters.
Republicans: We got the order right. We didn’t think McCain and Romney would get in the 30s. We thought Huckabee would have done a bit better in NH. The rest of the percentages we were right on the money!
We had McCain 29% Actual was 37.98% We Had Romney 24% Actual was 32.3% We Had Huckabee 14% Actual was 11.4%. The rest was right on.
Democrats: We missed the winner. We thought that Obama was on an up trend and was double digits above Clinton. Senator Hillary Clinton came back with a surge. Some pundits are saying that her win was minimal, from our standpoint, if she was down 10-15% points, she had to came back 12-17% points, this would translates into 22000-33000 Votes. I think Senator Clinton, in whatever way you chose, made a tremendous comeback in NH. Edwards Came in third with 17% of the vote. Politisite got it right. We thought Richardson would do a bit better in the election. We had him getting 7% he actually got 4.7%. Richardson refuses to attack or refute other candidates. He runs on his resume. Politisite thinks he is actually running for vice-president or secretary of state.
From our story, on NowPublic on Jan 7, 2008, Who Wins New Hampshire? Politisite Political Polls Review
Here is what Politisite says the out comes will be:
Due to recent world events: Bin Laden tapes, The American
Spokesman for Al-Qaeda coming out with a statement that said when
Bush visits the Middle east greet him with bombs not flowers, A
confrontation today between Navy Ships and Gun Speed boats from Iran,
I believe that John McCain will win by 5% Pints or less. My
number for him is 29%
Romney will be 2nd, with 24% of the vote
Huckabee Third with 14%
Giuliani 4th with 9%
Ron Paul 5th with 8%
Obama: Due to The congressional and
presidential approval ratings being 25-35.7%, The “Change” is
playing well in New Hampshire, NH having 44% independent voters and
65% of them probably will vote for Obama. Politisite Gives him the
win. We think the poll numbers are incorrect and Obama will Beat
Clinton by 13% points at 41%
Clinton 2nd with 28%
Edwards 3rd with 17%
Richardson 4th with 7%
The Atlantic Points out that Pollsters more Right then Wrong
Commenter Brian makes an observation “No one is talking about how the polls actually nailed Obama’s number. Obama didn’t lose this election. He stayed steady and Hillary surged ahead.” That seems to be true. Here’s a chart comparing the actual results to the most recent Pollster.com current standard estimate polling average.
Just as Brian says, the difference between the Obama poll level and the Obama vote total level seems to just be your basic statistical variance. The pollsters underestimated Clinton’s level of support. People who were undecided as of the last round of polling seem to have gone overwhelmingly in her direction.
[also note the relevance of this to Wilder/Bradley effect speculations]
The American Research Group was Close
Did Scott Spradling’s question to Hillary Clinton about likability in the Democratic debate on Saturday night and her “emotional” response to a question in Portsmouth on Monday help her rebound from a drop in support among women following the Iowa Democratic caucus and propel her to victory in the New Hampshire primary?
While we missed the final number that Clinton would make in New Hampshire, our polling was one of only two daily polls that showed Clinton regaining support following her drop in New Hampshire the day after the Iowa Democratic caucus. Clinton was moving up in the final days and hours before the primary, and our polls and the Rasmussen polls were the only daily polls to catch Clinton’s rebound. The Suffolk University, UNH, and Zogby polls all had Clinton trending down as primary day approached.
Our polling showed Clinton at 35% on January 1-3 (before Iowa), 26% on January 4-5, 28% on January 5-6, and 31% on January 6. Clinton stopped her slide in New Hampshire when women age 45 to 64 started to return following the Saturday debate.
The Day After New Hampshire
By Amy Walter, NationalJournal.com
© National Journal Group Inc.
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008
The New Hampshire stunner threw whatever conventional wisdom was developing about the Democratic and Republican races out the window. And given just how off the polling was for the Democratic contest, it seems downright dangerous to make any predictions at this point. Even so, here’s what the Granite State results could mean for the candidates and the race overall:
Conclusion: Hillary Clinton was a big winner here. We see New Hampshire as being a state cut out for McCain. Romney, with all of his resources, lost big. Huckabee made a reasonable Showing. Ron Paul is doing much better then the media is expecting. We have got his numbers right in both elections covered so far. He has beat the national front runner, Rudy Guliani, twice.
See you in South Carolina. Politisite is covering the Fox News debate in Myrtle Beach, SC January 1oth. See you in the Spin Room!
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