Polls Not Good Predictors

Polls are not good predictors of electoral outcomes; for example, “Mitt Romney’s team in 2012 expected victory based on polls, but their own base was not fired up enough to turn out in winning numbers while President Barack Obama’s base did” (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, 9/16, 2015, sec. 1, p. 23).  Field experiments, on the other hand, are good predictors of electoral outcomes; see, for example, Sasha Issenberg, The Victory Lab.

For a complete critique of polls (and all other forms of survey research), as well as a brief description of experiments, see my book, The Problem with Survey Research.


About georgebeam

George Beam is an educator and author. The perspectives that inform his interpretations of the topics of this blog–-as well as his other writings and university courses -–are system analysis, behaviorism, and Internet effects. Specific interests include quality management, methodology, and politics. He is Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science; and, previously, Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Illinois at Chicago
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