A Meta-Analysis of Polls from the 2012 Presidential Election
Political pundits framed the 2012 U.S. presidential election as a horserace between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. However, a number of election forecasters found that the election was always Obama’s to lose. This paper presents a simple quantitative methodology to analyze polling data of the national race and the four closest swing states: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Our results suggest that out of the four states, only Florida emerged as a true toss-up. In addition, the national popular vote appeared to lean toward Obama throughout the election cycle. The analysis also allows us to visualize trends in public opinion during the campaign through various key events including the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the announcement of Romney’s running mate, the national party conventions, the release of a video showing Romney making controversial comments at a fundraiser, the three presidential debates, the vice presidential debate, and Hurricane Sandy.
Lucerna, Volume 8, Number 1, pages 47-66