When Pollsters Convene: 2009

More
Pollster.com's Mark Blumenthal has spent the week at the American Association of Public Opinion Research annual convention in Hollywood, Florida.  He's summarizing the highlights -- and we've summarized his highlights. 
Are political markets more accurate than polls?  Towards the end of an election, with high knowledge saturation, they are. But early on, polls are much more predictive

In the current era, the dominance of polls has inhibited election markets from thriving as they might. By all accounts betting markets withered with the dawn of polls (Rohde and Strumpf, 2004). Interest in them is renewed with the advent in recent years of electronic election markets such as the pioneering Iowa Electronic Stock Market and, more recently Intrade (formerly Tradesports) and other online election betting sites. Although the performance of these new infant markets may not always live up to their promise (Erikson and Wlezien, 2008), the future may be brighter. With growing interest and higher volume of trading, the performance of current trading markets may surpass that of its ancestral forebearers from the pre-poll era. By theory, the promise is that election markets, informed by polls plus other information, should perform better than polls alone. While empirical support for that claim may be in dispute, the future may hold a clearer verdict.

Cell phone users: not just the young, but the highly socially mobile. When these variables are controlled, the differences in political ideology between cell phone users and landline users go away. 

Blumenthal interviews CBS News deputy director of surveys Sarah Dutton about gender and race of interviewer effects on the 2008 Democratic primary polls. Was there a gender effect? Did men tell different things to women interviewers than male interviews? Not really. Was there a racial effect? CBS's meta-analysis concludes that, in the primary, both white and black voters were more likely to tell black interviewers that they supported Barack Obama than white interviews; the trend mitigated itself as the actual election approached. 
Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Technicolor Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In