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AAPOR Names Members of Special Committee on 2008 Primary Polling


January 31, 2008                                

Contact: Dale Leibach or Mike Tetuan
Prism Public Affairs     


  Panel to Assess Results of Presidential Primary Polls

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) today named a special panel of leading academic and business experts on public opinion research to help shed light on pre-election polling results in the New Hampshire presidential primary. 

The eleven-member AAPOR Special Committee on 2008 Presidential Primary Polling will review the New Hampshire pre-election polls.  It is also examining subsequent 2008 pre-election polls to see if they help explain what occurred in New Hampshire.  

“New Hampshire pre-election polls did not accurately reflect the outcome of the Democratic Party race, raising questions about the accuracy and reliability of pre-election polls,” said Nancy Mathiowetz, President of AAPOR.  “We are taking steps to examine what occurred, provide a timely report of our findings, and promote future research on pre-election primary polls. What we learn from this review will help us to continue to improve our methodology and ensure continued accuracy.”

Michael W. Traugott, Professor of Communication Studies and Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, will serve as the panel’s chair.  Traugott is a past president of AAPOR and the current President of the World Association of Public Opinion Research.  The committee plans to issue its report in April 2008.

“There are a lot of different explanations floating around about what happened with the polls, but the committee will look at the available data to see which ideas have more merit than others,” said Traugott.  “Pre-election polling has a long history of accuracy.  This committee's work will help to make sure that it continues to remain accurate and reliable.” 

AAPOR is the premier professional organization of public opinion and survey research professionals in the United States.  According to its mission statement, the panel’s goals are to “aid the public, journalists and pollsters in understanding the scientific, technical and ‘real world’ factors involved” in the New Hampshire polls, which have stirred controversy because of the difference between pre-election survey results and the outcome of the Democratic race.

As part of its examination, the committee will review pre-election polling conducted for all primaries, including all of the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries.

The committee has tentatively scheduled a Spring 2008 public forum on the topic of polling in the 2008 primaries.  It will be hosted by the Kaiser Family Foundation at its Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington, D.C., on a date to be announced later.  

The members of the committee are:

  • Glen Bolger, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies
  • Darren W. Davis, Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame
  • Charles Franklin, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin and co-developer of
  • Robert M. Groves, Director, the University of Michigan Survey Research Center, Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan, Research Professor at its Institute for Social Research, and Research Professor at the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland.  
  • Paul J. Lavrakas, a methodological research consultant
  • Mark S. Mellman, CEO of The Mellman Group
  • Philip Meyer, Knight Chair in Journalism at the University of North Carolina
  • Kristen Olson, Assistant Professor of Survey Research and Methodology and Assistant Profess of Sociology at the University of Nebraska.
  • J. Ann Selzer, President of Selzer & Company. 
  • Michael W. Traugott, Professor of Communication Studies and Senior Research Scientist in the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan
  • Christopher Wlezien, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Affiliate in the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University


Committee mission statement

Member bios 

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