Articles Posted in News


Game of Inches #2 — Likely Independent Voters: Who they are? And what do they think?

The US presidential election in November will be a close one.  Many poll watchers, myself included, see this one as a nail bitter which will be won at the margins.  I still strongly believe that Obama will be the victor (link) but details and not generalities will carry the day.

In elections of this type, success is typically defined by a percentage point here, another there.  This puts a special premium on targeting and winning over those undecideds constituencies who have not chosen their champion.  One such group is likely independent voters who will probably show up at the ballot box, but do not lean strongly towards Republicans or Democrats.  Without a doubt, both the Romney and Obama camps will be giving this segment a very close look this electoral season.

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A, RV, LV (All adults, registered voters, likely voters)? Population effects in public opinion polling

As we count down to the November general election, opinion research outfits (like us) are going to release an ever-increasing number and variety of election poll results. Poll aggregation sites (link) help polling consumers make sense of this barrage of data by presenting the average results of the most recent polls. The running average is supposed to iron-out potential outliers or the idiosyncrasies of any one poll to provide a stable, and accurate, benchmark. However, aggregation sites also combine surveys of differing (though overlapping) populations, specifically all Americans, registered voters and likely voters. Do these different populations have different profiles and could they be systematically skewing the aggregator average?

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A Game of Inches #1: Obama’s Lukewarm Faithful

The Obama-Romney match up is shaping up to be a nail biter. Our most recent Reuters-Ipsos poll has them in a statistical deadheat; other polls show a similar narrowing. Part of this trend is without a doubt a direct result of a dip in economic optimism, a dysfunctional Europe and lousy jobs report. But this variability is also just the natural ebb and flow of the election. Sometimes you are up; other times you are down.

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Wisconsin is all noise: Obama will still win in November

The sitting Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker beat the Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 53% to 46% yesterday in a recall election. Many pundits had touted Wisconsin as a political bellweather— “as goes Wisconsin, so goes the nation in November and beyond”. A Walker victory signals a resurgent Republican party with its revamped small government, collective-bargaining-busting mantra. In contrast, a Walker loss would be a strong ‘proof point’ that the Obama agenda is here to stay.

Well, Walker won in Wisconsin.

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Public opinion research giving a voice to global citizens

Using public opinion to give voice to citizens was the goal of this project by La Trope University, Australia.

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Just cause you lean don’t make you a pushover: Party Identification Measurement in Polling

Party identification, i.e. self-identification as a Republican, Democrat, Independent or something else, is one of the most valuable pieces of information modern electoral pollsters collect about their respondents. Armed with party ID information, we can make pretty accurate guesses about how people feel about issues, what stories will appeal to them and, ultimately, how they will vote. It is an essential poll metric for undertaking any type of socio-political analysis of a population. Some research organizations even use it as a weighting variable. However there are two challenges inherent to measuring party ID: 1) there is no industry-standard, foolproof way of identifying party ID, and 2) there are no “true population” statistics for party ID against which we can benchmark our measurements.

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Building Reputation in Higher Education

In a paper published today by Ipsos Public Affairs explains how higher education institutions can utilize research to understand the higher education landscape, define their unique brand, profile potential students and build and communicate their reputation to key target audiences.

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Is President Obama up or down?: The effect of question wording on levels of presidential support

Presidential approval ratings are the most ubiquitous polling data out there. Given their importance, approval ratings receive special scrutiny from political actors and poll watchers alike. Ipsos has tracked approval ratings in the US since 2001, and during this time, our polls have shown a consistent 2 to 4 point difference when compared to the market average (the average of all polls at the time).

Why is this? We hypothesize two possibilities: (1) first, we have a problem with our sample composition, or (2) second, that we measure presidential approval differently than other polling firms.

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Seattle Knowledge Summit 2012: Collaborate, Integrate & Innovate – Moving from Data to Insights

We’ve been planning this one for a while and the day is finally here! Our 2012 Seattle Knowledge Summit. The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty and quality lifestyle but it is also home to some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in America. What better way to connect with Seattle-area marketers than with a Knowledge Summit themed on collaboration, integration and innovation – its what we’re known for in this region.

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Reflection on the French Presidential Election: “Change” the graveyard of incumbents

I have been meaning to comment on the French presidential elections for some time.

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