Update: Reviewing our pre-election polls

As was obvious, the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was pretty far off on both pre-election polls last fall. In October we overstated the vote for now-Senator Cory Booker, while in November we also overstated the vote for Gov. Chris Christie. Over the last month we have been working with an outside consultant to examine our processes and results for those two pre-election polls. We anticipate having a report very soon. One thing that is very clear is that while our head-to-head vote was wrong, the other routine data we collected in those polls continued to track with both our prior results and the results of other polls at about the same time. So the focus is on our head-to-head questions, their design, and location in the questionnaire in particular, as well as our weighting strategies. In the end, we hope to be able to learn what we need to allow us to do a better job with pre-election polling.

These problems have given us pause as we move forward on our regular Rutgers-Eagleton polling. We spent a lot of time reviewing all of our numbers and benchmarks. If we had seen problems in the questions that did not ask directly about the vote (like job performance and favorability questions) we would be much much worried about our regular polls. But we do not see significant problems there. And as we run benchmarks against other polls taken at the same time, we see convergence in general, other than the vote itself.

Once we have the report from our outside consultant we will release it here. In the meantime, we are looking carefully at our newest polling results to ensure that we are confident in the numbers before we release them.

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Filed under 2013 NJ Election

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