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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Government and Politics arrow Election Results Further Validate Efficacy of Harris Interactive‚ Online Methodology
Election Results Further Validate Efficacy of Harris Interactive‚ Online Methodology PDF Print E-mail
Written by Harris interactive   
09 Nov 2008

November 6th 2008 - Rochester, NY 

Probability samples no longer required for accuracy 

The Harris Poll issued its final presidential popular vote predictions late on election eve: Senator Obama 52% - Senator McCain 44%. Although the final voting results are not in, the most current data available indicate that Obama won by 53% to McCain’s 46%, showing our predictions to be fairly close.

"The 2008 presidential election provided us with a unique opportunity to further prove the effectiveness of our online survey methods," said Kimberly Till, CEO of Harris Interactive. "Election predictions are highly public tests of the efficacy of any methodology, and Harris Interactive proved once again that our online research methods are fast, are very accurate, and are equal to, if not better than the best in the industry."

Although the results aren’t final, we believe that our other predictions also were accurate, including:

"It will be the first time that the winning candidate has won more than half the votes since … 1988." (53%)
"Obama’s margin of victory is likely to result in Obama winning between 350 and 380 Electoral College votes". (current estimate is 364 electoral votes)
Also, the many demographic vote predictions in The Harris Poll, were almost all very close to the exit poll numbers published by CNN:

 Demographic                           Obama                                                                 McCain

                                    Harris Poll     CNN Exit Polls                    Harris Poll      CNN Exit Polls

Male                            50%                49%                                      45%                   48%
Female                       53%               56%                                      43%                   43%
2004 Bush voter       15%               18%                                      82%                   81%
2004 Kerry Voter       87%               89%                                     10%                     9%
Republicans              11%                9%                                      88%                   89%
Democrats                 87%               89%                                    11%                   10%
Independents           51%                52%                                    42%                   44%
East                            59%                59%                                    39%                   40%
Midwest                     50%                54%                                    45%                   44%
South                         47%                46%                                    49%                    53%
West                          53%                 55%                                    40%                  42%

 These results provide further evidence of the accuracy and reliability of the methods used by Harris Interactive to conduct marketing and opinion research online, consistent with our good track record in predicting more than 70 elections over the last eight years.

"There is much uncertainty about the future of telephone polls because of their very low, and still declining, response rates, the large and increasing number of people with no landlines and the difficulties and costs involved with adding samples of the "cell-phone only" population," said Humphrey Taylor, Chairman of The Harris Poll. "This election further confirms that well managed, panel-based online polls are a reliable and accurate way of measuring public opinion and predicting elections. They will be more widely used in the future."


This Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States between October 30 and November 3, 2008 among 5,210 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 3,946 were likely voters. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit

Last Updated ( 04 Jan 2009 )
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