Polls did pretty well in predicting the outcomes of this election, says a UW political scientist. While the campaigns of Democrats Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett argued right up to election day that polls weren’t giving an accurate picture of the electorate, UW political scientist Charles Franklin said that proved to not be the case. “It turns out that the average poll showed about a six point Republican lead. In both those races the vote totals look like about a five point or a little over a five point Republican lead. So the polling actually did quite well.”
And Franklin said polling appears to have been a pretty accurate indicator of outcomes in other races across the country. “The polling mostly got winners right, and so in that sense there weren’t very many shocking surprises,” said Franklin. “Harry Reid winning in Nevada is probably the most surprising on that score.”
As for the ‘cell phone gap,’ Franklin said it seems to account for just a couple of percentage points, but it may be time for polls to incorporate cell phone only users, despite the added expense.