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Polls and Elections: Preelection Poll Accuracy in the 2008 General Elections


Costas Panagopoulos is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Center for Electoral Politics and Democracy at Fordham University.


This report examines accuracy and bias in national and subnational preelection polls conducted during the 2008 presidential election cycle. The analyses indicate that, despite concerns about poll methodology voiced during the election cycle, polls across the board generally performed quite well in 2008. That said, concerns about poll methodologies should not be wholly and readily dismissed. While the evidence suggests that improvements in accuracy and declining bias in preelection polls as a whole, compared to previous election cycles, sources of inaccuracy and bias can also be detected using 2008 polls.