“Pollsters and pundits” has become a dismissive epithet in modern politics. Pollsters, at least, deserve much better.
As the votes were counted on the night of this past January’s New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, pollsters and other professionals in the political game began to grapple with an uncomfortable fact: Virtually all of them had been dead wrong. Despite unanimous poll results predicting a Barack Obama victory (by an average of eight points) on the heels of Senator Obama’s surprising triumph in the Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton was going to emerge the winner.
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Scott Keeter is director of survey research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. A political scientist and survey methodologist, he is the author of A New Engagement? Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen (2006), among other books.more from this author >>