Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Did The Polls Get It So Wrong?

With Jari Askins taking the Democratic nomination for governor from Drew Edmondson in an upset, many are asking today how the polls got that race so wrong.

Just days before the votes were counted, SoonerPoll had Edmondson up by a bunch, 49 to 33 percent. Sixteen points is a substantial lead, even with 18 percent undecided.

The poll came much closer on the GOP side, at least with Mary Fallin's percentage; it was considerably off on Randy Brogdon's percentage, although 22 percent were undecided.

An earlier SoonerPoll was much closer to the actual finish in the Askins-Edmondson race, although it still had Edmondson ahead.

The Sooner Survey's final pre-election measurement had Edmondson's lead over Askins at 38-27 percent, with a huge undecided of 35 percent.

It's a reminder that polls are merely snapshots in time and may or may not reflect actual voter sentiment at the time they are taken, and often are less than accurate after they are taken; that's particularly true in today's volatile political environment.

It's also a reminder that in races with large numbers of "undecided" voters, the results are assumed to be correct at the reader's peril.

Share |