Gallup Poll Reveals 4 Reasons It Got The 2012 Election Wrong

Source: Mark Blumenthal and Ariel Edwards-Levy / The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Gallup, the polling firm that took a major hit last year for finding better results for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney than other pollsters found, offered a detailed mea culpa on Tuesday, citing a confluence of small issues that tipped its results rightward.

Over the final weeks of the 2012 campaign, Gallup’s daily tracking poll showed President Barack Obama consistently trailing Romney, including a final survey that gave Romney a 1-point edge. Instead, Obama won by nearly 4 percentage points. While Gallup was far from the only polling firm to call the election wrong, its visibility and reputation, as well as the size of its error, made it one of the most notable.

On Tuesday, at a press briefing and in a 17-page report, Gallup named four factors that lessened the accuracy of its polling. As expected, no one problem alone accounted for its difficulties in 2012.

“None of these factors are large, in and of themselves,” said Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, “in the sense that they are not moving the numbers 10 points, 5 points.” However, each of the four nudged Gallup’s numbers slightly in Romney’s favor, making them collectively “significant enough,” according to Newport, “that we think they made a significant difference in our overall estimate of who was going to win the presidential election last fall.”

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