Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-n6p7q Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-03-01T23:32:38.898Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Robo-Polls: Taking Cues from Traditional Sources?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2013

Joshua D. Clinton
Affiliation:
Vanderbilt University
Steven Rogers
Affiliation:
Princeton University

Abstract

After the 2012 Republican New Hampshire primary, 159 poll results were released prior to the subsequent nomination contests in the Republican presidential primary. More than two-thirds of these polls relied on interactive voice response (IVR) software to conduct the interviews. We evaluate the ability of polls to predict the vote-share for the Republican candidates Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. We find no overall difference in the average accuracy of IVR and traditional human polls, but IVR polls conducted prior to human polls are significantly poorer predictors of election outcomes than traditional human polls even after controlling for characteristics of the states, polls, and electoral environment. These findings provide suggestive, but not conclusive, evidence that pollsters may take cues from one another given the stakes involved. If so, reported polls should not be assumed to be independent of one another and so-called poll-of-polls will be misleadingly precise.

Type
Features
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Asher, Herbert. 2012. Polling the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know. Washington, DC: CQ Press.Google Scholar
Bartels, Larry M. 1986. Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Blumenthal, Mark. 2005. “Toward an Open-Source Methodology: What We Can Learn from the Blogosphere.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69 (5): 655–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blumenthal, Mark. 2009. “The Case for Robo-Pollsters: Automated Interviewers Have Their Drawbacks, But Fewer Than Their Critics Suggest.” National Journal, September 14. http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/the-case-for-robo-pollsters-20090914.Google Scholar
Chang, Linchiat, and Krosnick, John A.. 2009. “National Surveys via Rdd Telephone Interviewing versus the Internet, Comparing Sample Representativeness and Response Quality.” Public Opinion Quarterly 73 (4): 641–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gardner, Amy, and Helderman, Rosalind S.. 2012. “Mitt Romney's Presidential Campaign Stuck in Lukewarm.” Washington Post, February 9. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mitt-romneys-presidential-campaign-stuck-in-lukewarm/2012/02/09/gIQAhEMh2Q_story.html.Google Scholar
Gelman, Andrew, and King, Gary. 1993. “Why Are American Presidential Election Campaign Polls So Variable When Votes Are So Predictable?British Journal of Political Science 23 (4): 409–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goidel, Kirby. 2011. Political Polling in the Digital Age: The Challenge of Measuring and Understanding Public Opinion. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.Google Scholar
Groves, Robert M., Fowler, F.J., Couper, Mick P., Lepkowski, James M., Singer, Eleanor, and Tourangeau, R.. 2004. Survey Methodology. New York: Wiley-Interscience.Google Scholar
Hillygus, D. Sunshine. 2011. “The Evolution of Election Polling in the United States.” Public Opinion Quarterly 75 (5): 962–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kiesler, Sara, and Sproull, Lee S.. 1986. “Response Effects in the Electronic Survey.” Public Opinion Quarterly 50 (3): 402–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moore, David. 2008. “The Fluctuating Convergence Mystery,” Pollster.com December 8. http://www.pollster.com/blogs/the_fluctuating_convergence_my.php?nr=1.Google Scholar
Patterson, Thomas E. 2005. “Of Polls, Mountains: U.S. Journalists and Their Use of Election Surveys.” Public Opinion Quarterly 69 (5): 716–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rosenstiel, Tom, Jurkowitz, Mark, and Sartor, Tricia. 2012. “How the Media Covered the 2012 Primary Campaign.” Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, April 23. http://www.journalism.org/analysis_report/romney_report.Google Scholar
Schaeffer, Nora Cate, and Dykema, Jennifer. 2011. “Questions for Surveys: Current Trends and Future Directions.” Public Opinion Quarterly 75 (5): 909–61.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shear, Michael D. 2012. “In Santorum's Sweep, Sign of G.O.P. Unease with Romney.” New York Times, February 8. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/09/us/politics/santorum-sweep-sets-stage-for-new-battle-in-republican-race.html?pagewanted=all.Google Scholar
Traugott, M.W. 2009. An Evaluation of the Methodology of the 2008 Pre-Election Primary Polls, Unpublished Manuscript. AAPOR Ad Hoc Committee on the 2008 Presidential Primary Polling.Google Scholar
Weisberg, Herbert. 2005. The Total Survey Error Approach: A Guide to the New Science of Survey Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar