SurveyUSA Proves More Accurate Than Ohio Poll

This story was written by Matt Koesters, The News Record
Coming out of the March 4 primaries, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton wasn't the only big winner in Ohio.

After weeks of prognostication by a variety of research companies and academic institutions, SurveyUSA's final poll proved to be the most accurate of any conducted in the state. The poll's 10-percentage point prediction matched the final result of Ohio's Democratic primary, 54 percent for Clinton to 44 percent for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

The poll, released March 3, surveyed 873 likely Ohio voters between March 1 and March 2. The poll had a sampling error of 3.4 percentage points.

The University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research's final Ohio Poll, conducted between Feb. 28 and March 2, came within a point of the actual margin, but only awarded 51 percent to Clinton and 43 percent to Obama. The poll surveyed 624 likely Ohio voters and had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points. The Ohio Poll included Sen. John Edwards as a response option, despite the fact Edwards dropped out of the race weeks ago.

The Ohio Poll included "allocation of undecided Democratic voters to the candidates they are most likely to support," according to a press release from the UC Institute for Policy Research.

The most inaccurate prediction for the Ohio Democratic primary came from Zogby International, who had Clinton and Obama locked in a statistical dead heat at 44 percent headed into the primary. Zogby showed the highest percentage of undecided respondents of the three polls at 7 percentage points. Zogby did not attempt to predict where undecided voters would break.

The Zogby poll, conducted March 1 to March 3, surveyed 828 likely Ohio voters and had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

Pollster John Zogby attributed the large number of undecided voters to a loss in confidence in Obama in the final days of the campaign for Ohio.

"This has always been close, except that now the undecided [voters] are up to 8 [percent], and the increase has come from the Obama column," Zogby said in a March 4 statement. "It looks like a combination of questions raised about Obama's capacity to lead the military, his stance on NAFTA and questions about ethics have shaved a few points off his support."

Zogby was the only major research company to ever show Obama ahead in the run-up to the Ohio Primary, showing Obama ahead of Clinton 47 to 45 in a poll released just one day prior.
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