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Re: Details on the New University of Iowa Poll

Topics: Disclosure , Iowa

Sorry to blog one more time on the University of Iowa "Hawkeye" poll, but we want to clarify a few issues. Attentive readers may have noticed that we added the latest results from the Hawkeye poll to our Democratic and Republican presidential charts for Iowa, despite having excluded the poll from the charts previously and despite my words of caution about its methodology yesterday. Why the change?

The main reason for our prior exclusion had nothing to do with their method of sampling or likely voter selection. We left it out because it used an open-ended vote question, which required respondents to volunteer the name of the candidate they support. Earlier in the year, we were concerned the idiosyncrasies of the open-ended vote question would skew our trend lines given the small number of polls available. At this point, however, the undecided percentages reported by University of Iowa poll are in line with other recent surveys, and we now have sufficient polls that any one survey does not make a noticeable difference in the trends.

Our bigger concern, particularly with Iowa, was the perception that we were "drawing a line" in seeming to condemn one survey while including others of either largely unknown or questionable methodology. Yes, the University of Iowa survey has a relatively loose screen but it is not alone in that regard. And other pollsters continue to withhold the necessary details which would allow a fair comparison of all Iowa polls.

Our philosophy for Pollster.com is to track all polls that claim to provide representative, projective measurements of vote preferences and provide the tools and analysis to let readers sort out good from bad. So we decided that further exclusion of the University of Iowa poll serves no useful purpose.

But that brings me to the Disclosure Project. I have delayed an update in hopes that a few pollsters that have promised to do so would provide answers to our questions. But at this point, we have delayed too long. I will have a Disclosure Project update either later today or first thing tomorrow.

 

Comments
bob:

What would be helpful would be allowing users to pick and choose which polls to plot on the graph. Then we could decide which ones we think have the best methodology and judge the race using only those polls and not the ones we think are not as good (or don't know enough about to judge either way).

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