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11/09/2012

Winthrop Poll Findings = Perfect Record

Quick Facts

 Scott Huffmon, a professor of political science, said the primary mission of the Winthrop Poll has always been to measure the opinions, issues of importance and overall well-being of the people of the South, in general, and South Carolina, in particular.
 Huffmon said the poll’s electoral track record speaks to its commitment to accuracy in sampling and measurement in public opinion research.

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Scott Huffmon
ROCK HILL, S.C. – With the results of the 2012 election, the Winthrop Poll maintains its perfect record in election forecasts over the past six years.

Poll Director Scott Huffmon said the latest poll results showed that in the newly drawn S.C. 7th Congressional District, Republican Tom Rice led his opponent by 12.7 points. Congressman-elect Rice's final margin of victory was 12.9 points.

Huffmon, a professor of political science, said the primary mission of the Winthrop Poll has always been to measure the opinions, issues of importance and overall well-being of the people of the South, in general, and South Carolina, in particular. “In doing so, we occasionally conduct polls related to elections, even though election polling isn't our primary mission.”

Huffmon said that after this election, he decided to take a look at the track record for polls related to elections.

The findings:

*In 2006, there was a statewide poll of S.C. residents where the Winthrop Poll estimated that the constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage would pass with about 73.5% of the vote. The final tally showed passage by 77.9% of the vote. That same year, Winthrop's survey lab, which conducts the Winthrop Poll, was hired by the Partnership for a Greater Greenwood County & Economic Alliance for a poll concerning a countywide ballot referendum in Greenwood County, S.C. That survey predicted passage with 75% of the vote. The final measure passed with 75.8% of the vote.

*In 2008, the Winthrop Poll fielded presidential polls for South Carolina, Virginia and North Carolina. The prediction that the Palmetto State would go for Republican John McCain was expected, but the estimate of McCain’s support came within two percentage points of McCain’s actual take of the vote. Huffmon added: “While we officially stated that Virginia and North Carolina were too close to call from our results, our poll showed Obama ahead in Virginia by one percentage point (he would win Virginia by six percentage points), and our poll of North Carolina showed an Obama lead of four-tenths of one percent, which would turn out to be his exact eventual margin of victory.”

*In 2010, the Winthrop Poll correctly predicted Nikki Haley’s S.C. gubernatorial victory. The estimate of Haley’s lead came within four and a half percentage points of her final margin of victory.

Huffmon said the poll’s electoral track record speaks to its commitment to accuracy in sampling and measurement in public opinion research.

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