Gabe Fleisher has an interesting interview with pollster Ann Selzer and why she’s been so successful at polling the Iowa caucuses.
The bottom line: Selzer doesn’t try to model likely turnout in future caucuses based on past voting behavior: “We ask everybody who is a registered voter if they’re likely to caucus on the Democratic side, no matter whether they are registered Democrat, Republican, or Independent. We ask all of them.”
“In 2008, that meant her final pre-caucus poll projected that a “jaw-dropping” 60% of caucus-goers would be first-time participants in the primary process. That prediction received widespread skepticism, but on caucus night, 57% of attendees were new participants, fueling Obama’s upset — and cementing Selzer’s reputation.”
Selzer calls her approach “polling forward.” She explains: “Had I done anything that looked backward at what happened before, I would have been blinded from seeing what was coming in the future… Other people will weight their data to look like past caucusgoers and other sorts of things or decide that it’s really only registered Democrats that matter, that they don’t mind losing what might be happening with others. But if something big is happening, they won’t see it. They will be quite literally blinded to it.”Save to Favorites