Scott Rasmussen Tries To Explain Why His 2012 Polling Was So Bad
Rassmussen Reports was among the least accurate pollsters of the 2012 Election Cycle, tying for 24th with Gallup out of 26 pollsters ranked in one post-election study. The main reason for this, of course, is the fact that Rasmussen went into his polls with a pre-conceived notion of what the electorate was supposed to look like and, based on those assumption, weighted his polls according to Party ID to fit into the model, something that practically no other pollster does. Four years ago, Rasmussen Reports was among the most accurate pollsters of the bunch, this year it what among the worst. So, what went wrong?
Scott Rasmussen tries to explain:
So what happened? “In general,” says Scott Rasmussen, “the projections were pretty good. The two differences I noted were share of white vote falling to 72 percent. That’s what the Obama campaign, to their credit, said all along. We showed it just over 73 percent. Also, youth turnout higher and senior turnout lower than expected. That’s a pretty big deal given the size of the generation gap. I think it showed clearly that the Obama team had a great game plan for identifying their vote and getting it to the polls.”
The problem with these polls—which are automated, as opposed to using live callers—was that they missed the correct model of the electorate. “The reality is that there were eight toss-up states,” says Rasmussen. “Some people projected Romney would do a couple of points better than the polls and sweep those states. Instead, it was Obama who did a bit better and swept them. I look at the campaign as about fundamentals. Obama job approval on Election Day was 50 percent. That meant there was a good chance he would get 50 percent of the vote. Also, 36 percent said their finances were in good shape. Up from 35 percent the day Obama took office. In other words, the fundamentals were just good enough for the president to keep his job.”
Interestingly, Rasmussen doesn’t address the flawed assumptions behind his own polling. Which makes me think he’s not going to correct his mistakes. Based on the performance of Rasmussen Reports in 2010 and this year, it’s hard to figure out why they should be taken seriously in the future absent a massive change to the way their polling is conducted.