search articles: 

   from the issue of October 18, 2007

McCutcheon to help guide 2008 election exit polling


UNL’s own Allan McCutcheon will have a leading role to play in the 2008 elections courtesy of the agency that oversees the media’s exit polling.

POLLSTER - Allan McCutcheon stands outside his office in the Gallup Building. McCutcheon will help co-direct exit polling for the 2008...
 POLLSTER - Allan McCutcheon stands outside his office in the Gallup Building. McCutcheon will help co-direct exit polling for the 2008 elections. Photo by Troy Fedderson/University Communications.

Edison Media Research has asked McCutcheon to help direct the exit-polling it conducts for the National Election Pool in the capacity of senior statistical director. McCutcheon will be taking a year-long sabbatical leave in January to work with the statistics and oversee the operation of models to predict outcomes in the 2008 presidential primaries and the 2008 general election.

McCutcheon is Donald O. Clifton Chair of survey science, founder of the Gallup Research Center, a professor of survey research methodology, and an internationally known expert in polling and survey methodology.

McCutcheon said the NEP is a collaboration by all the major networks, NBC, ABC, CBS, Associated Press and CNN and Fox, who have all agreed to use the election pool for consistency and accuracy.

Until 2002, the election exit polls were conducted by the Voter News Service.

In 2003, the responsibility for the exit polls passed to the National Election Pool. the NEP exit polls are conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International and were co-directed by Joe Lenski and Warren Mitofsky. Following Mitofsky's death in 2006, McCutcheon was asked to assume a leadership role for the 2008 elections in partnership with Lenski, Edison Media Research's co-founder and Executive Vice president.

They will lead a team that will project the results for the 2008 primaries and the statewide general elections in November, including the presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial races. As McCutcheon notes, in 2008 the U.S. electorate will have competitive presidential primaries in both parties for the first time since 2000. In addition, it has been 80 years since neither the sitting president or vice president has sought the nomination for president.

“Part of what I’ll be doing to prepare is looking at and working with the network and AP statisticians to oversee and test the changes in the statistical models,” McCutcheon said. “For the first time since 1928, we do not have an incumbent president or incumbent vice president running in either party, so the primaries will be really interesting.” NEP will cover the competitive primaries and caucuses, and McCutcheon said by the end of “super duper Tuesday,” Feb. 5, “it is very possible that we will know who the parties' presidential candidates are.”

“Most of what I’m going to be doing is helping to improve the statistical models to create the most accurate projections possible,” McCutcheon said.

"I can't imagine anything more exciting than being able to participate in democracy this way, to apply my survey skills in projecting elections on election night. I worked with Warren and Joe in the 2004 election and I recall Warren saying 'Welcome to the election from the inside'. That captures the excitement for me. The experience will also give me the chance to gain new knowledge and bring it back to my students in SRAM and statistics."



Hollywood Calls
$2.74M grant aimed at improving children's literacy
Chancellor names Osborne interim AD
Swanson discovers new strength in yoga experience
UNL Alert now issues multiple messages
'Battle for the Pentagon Papers' events begin Oct. 30
Climate change focus of Nov. 1 Nebraska Lecture
Confucius Institute opening is Oct. 29-30
McCutcheon to help guide 2008 election exit polling