How Accurate Are Election Polls?
In his commentary on tonight’s Special Report, Brit Hume described the polling process and whether recent polls ahead of the presidential election are accurate. Republicans are worried about the fact that many polls appear to have a disproportionate percentage of Democrats responding.
According to Hume, pollsters strive for samples from what census data says is the proper percentage based on characteristics like race, sex, and age. While these qualities are not subject to repeated change, a person’s political affiliation may be. Party identification is something a poll is intended to discover, “not something an honest pollster should try to determine ahead of time,” Hume said.
Hume did point out that four years ago, Election Day exit polling showed more Democrats voted than Republicans by seven percentage points. That’s the same margin by which Obama won.
“Not many people think as big a percentage of Democrats will turn out this year. Yet a compilation of all recent polls by Pollster.com showed samples contained on average more Democrats by, you guessed it, seven percentage points,” Hume said.