Wednesday, 3 November 2004


I think the biggest news out of yesterday’s presidential election, at least for scholars of voting behavior, was the third consecutive meltdown by the national opinion polling service (previously Voter News Service, now Edison/Mitofsky).

What went wrong? Megan McArdle ponders, while the Mystery Pollster explains the process. My gut feeling is that the system in part failed because the networks replaced VNS; Edison/Mitofsky was new at this, and a rookie effort is fraught with perils—as I learned myself yesterday. Coupled, perhaps, with a small cognitive bias on the part of the people being paid by Edison/Mitofsky to conduct the poll themselves (one suspects the typical person looking for day-work isn’t a Republican) and you can easily see why they were quite a bit off, notwithstanding the advertised margin of error.