Despite such challenges as a growing wireless-only population, possible racially-related response bias and greater-than-usual difficulties in forecasting turnout, polllsters' methods were evidently adequate to the task.
The latest study of Pew Research Center election surveys analyzes the effects of conducting both landline and cell phone interviews. While the addition of cell phones had at most a modest effect on estimates of candidate support in individual surveys, when looked at in the aggregate clear patterns emerge.
This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972.
A week after the election, voters are feeling good about themselves, the presidential campaign and Barack Obama. Looking ahead, they have high expectations for the Obama administration, with two-thirds predicting that he will have a successful first term.
In remarks at a dinner at the Newseum hosted by the Roper Center, Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut analyzed the voter preferences revealed in exit and post-election polls and their implications for the incoming administration.
Barack Obama captured the White House on the strength of a substantial electoral shift toward the Democratic Party and by winning a number of key groups in the middle of the electorate. In particular, the overwhelming backing of younger voters was a critical factor in Obama's victory, according to an analysis of National Election Pool exit poll data.
The Pew Research Center's final pre-election poll of 2,587 likely voters finds 49% supporting or leaning to Obama, 42% for McCain; 2% for minor party candidates and 7% undecided. When the undecided vote is allocated, Obama holds a 52% to 46% lead over McCain. The survey was conducted from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.
As recently as a month ago, this analyst and the American public itself were throwing up our hands and saying we can't figure this one out -- too many intangibles. No more.
As shown in a series of charts, the Democratic Party now holds an advantage in several swing states, has increased its advantage in several "blue" states and cut into the GOP's lead in some "red" states since the last presidential campaign.
In an exclusive interview, Joe Lenski, co-founder and Executive Vice President of Edison Media Research discusses his organization's plans for conducting exit polls on November 4, given this year's special challenges.