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 http://www.harrisinteractive.com/.