Gallup explains how it got 2012 election polling so very wrong


Polling company Gallup shed some light on how it got polling for the 2012 Presidential election so very wrong. Gallup consistently underestimated Obama's support, leading many to think we were about to start saying President Mitt Romney.


Nicholas KAMM (R)/SAUL LOEB (L)

Polling company Gallup released some details on Saturday of how it got the numbers for the 2012 Presidential election so very wrong.

Gallup consistently underestimated President Obama's support throughout the election season, inflating Republicans' hopes that we would be swearing in a President Mitt Romney. 

The company's daily tracking polls ran against the pack - showing Romney with a regular 1 to 7 point lead.

Nearly every other polling company showed President Obama with a small but consistent lead.

Even just ten days before the election, Gallup's tracking poll showed the Republican challenger beating the Obama by 4 points. 

Obama went on to win the presidential election 51 percent to 47 percent.

Gallup's editor-in-chief Frank Newport said the company was going to get to the bottom of their flawed polling.

On Saturday, Newport reviewed the areas that Gallup was looking at, including drawing samples, interviewing voters, and how to weight data and select the likely electorate.

The ongoing review, which will be made public on June 4, awaits "a major experiment" in conjunction with the gubernatorial campaigns in the fall.

"We take it seriously" when polls misfire, Newport told a small group of reporters on Saturday.

"We've been doing presidential polling since 1936 which is what put George Gallup on the map ...The results [in 2012] certainly were not what we wanted them to be from Gallup's perspective."

After the election, Newport indicated that Gallup might withdraw from the daily tracking game, saying "it is likely that we could see significantly fewer polls conducted in the 2016 election."

Reporter asked Newport on Saturday if that meant Gallup was out of the presidential polling game for the next election.

"Well, check back with us in 2016," Newport replied. "I don't know what any polling organization is doing in 2016," given the increasing challenges to traditional pollster methods."

More from GlobalPost: Obama's approval rating holds steady despite string of scandals

Months into his second term in office, President Obama is still enjoying higher than usual polling numbers despite a recent string of scandals.

The CNN/ORC International survey, released Sunday, found that 53 percent of Americans said they approve of the job President Obama is doing; 45 percent disapproved.

His approval rating was 51 percent in CNN's last poll, taken in early April, before scandals involving the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department's gathering of phone records from the Associated Press hit the White House.