The Accuracy of State
Election Polls in 2002
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON PUBLIC POLLS
In the days following the November 5 elections, some media reports
questioned the accuracy of state polls. They implied that many polls were
off the mark, that telephone polls have become so beset with problems they
could no longer be considered reliable.
The National Council on Public Polls believed these conclusions were based
on too few cases. They conducted an exhaustive search for final
media-sponsored and academic polls taken during the last two weeks of the
campaign. Their search of The Polling Report web site and other
sources yielded 159 state polls for U.S. Senate and governor -- over 150
more polls than were the basis for the media reports.
The NCPP concluded that the overall performance for most polling
organizations in 2002 was very good: (1) the
average candidate error for all 159 polls was only 2.4 percentage points;
(2) in 84% of cases, the candidate error did not
exceed margins of error; and (3) some races may
have continued changing after the final polls right up to election day.
For more information, see: