The AAPOR conference last week gave an overview of what survey methodologists worry about. There were relatively few people from Europe this year, and I found that the issues methodologists worry about are sometimes different in Europe and the USA. At the upcoming ESRA conference for example there are more than 10 sessions on the topic of mixing survey modes. At AAPOR, mixing modes was definitely not ‘hot’.
With 8 parallel sessions at most times, I have only seen bits and pieces of all the things that went on.
There are a lot of reasons why would not want to use acces panels for predicting electoral outcomes . These are well discussed in many places on- and offline. I’ll shortly summarize them, before adding some thoughts to why access panels do so badly predicting election outcomes.
1. Access panels don’t draw random samples, but rely on self-selected samples. A slightly better way to get panel respondents is a quota sample, but even these have problems, well discussed here, here and here for example.
The night after the election, one can conclude that all pollsters in the Netherlands did a bad job of predicting the election results. All polls were at least off by 20 seats (out of 150), and I expect the newspapers to make headlines of this in the next days. See the table below for the final predictions (before election day), the exit poll and final election results. The last row shows how much each poll was off (in the number of seats
Before people believe I’m old-fashioned, I do think that Internet-surveys, even panel surveys are the future of survey research. John Krosnick makes some good points in a video shot by the people from www.pollster.com
There are several ways to do an exit poll, but they all come down to asking people what they voted, right after they went into the voting booth. The first succesfull modern exit poll was conducted in 1967 to predict the governor’s election of Kentucky .
One of the difficulties in exit polling, is that some people might not want to say whom they vote for, especially if this person is politically controversial.