Examining the Accuracy of our Midterm Polling & Modeling

November 27, 2022

Overwhelming success predicting key outcomes and turnout in battleground states.

Data For Democracy Generic Website Banner

Citizen conducts regular research on the favorability of pro-democracy candidates, the political perspectives of American voters, and support for democracy reform.

This treasure trove of data has been critical to providing actionable insights for the midterm elections.

1. Polling

Citizen conducted polling with our leading-edge methodology throughout the primary and general election period to assess various races critical to democracy.

Among others, Citizen polling successes include:

  • Lauren Boebert’s dominance in her primary and vulnerability in the general election: Our March poll found that among likely voters in the CO-3 GOP primary, 68% said that Boebert should be re-elected (Boebert received 63.9% of the primary vote). However, we found over half of our respondents indicated a desire for “someone else” to represent them.
  • Final Five Voting in Nevada: Our August poll of registered voters found that 50.3% of Nevadans supported Question Three. This number increased to 51.7% following a clarifying explanation, and 53.7% after consideration of supporting statements. (The measure passed and currently has 52.9% of the vote).
  • Constitutional Amendment in Arkansas: Our June poll demonstrated clear opposition to raising the approval threshold of ballot measures to 60%, a measure which did ultimately fail.

Sometimes our commitment to truth and accuracy conflicts with our community’s preferences; this is important because we need to be clear-eyed to grow the pro-democracy cause. An example of this was Evan McMullin’s challenge to Senator Mike Lee in Utah. An Independent, McMullin offered an opportunity to challenge political gridlock and partisanship.

However, a poll conducted by Citizen Data on October 15-17 showed Lee (50.8%) almost nine percentage points ahead of McMullin (42.2%). A further 0.7% told us they were undecided. Unfortunately, this is very much in line with Lee’s ten percentage point victory. In contrast, another major poll fielded October 3-6 showed just a four percent lead for Lee (with 41% of Utahns supporting Lee and 37% supporting McMullin).

Midterm Polling Accuracy

2. Modeling

Based on our proprietary data, we accurately forecast turnout in eight key states ahead of the midterm elections.

Midterm Turnout Accuracy

It is worth noting that Alaska’s turnout exceeded expectations (at 51%, compared with our 48% forecast), likely due to their new electoral system.

The ability to forecast turnout to near-exact percentages is critical in tight campaigns. By predicting how many voters will show up at the polls, we can more accurately forecast which candidates and campaigns will prevail.

3. Citizen Plays Key Role in Campaign Success in Nevada

Citizen has been working closely with the campaign for Question Three in Nevada, a proposed Constitutional Amendment to employ final five voting in the state’s elections.

Our polling and modeling provided the campaign with data on levels of support, impact of campaign messaging, and potential voters to persuade and mobilize to bolster support.

The measure was successful. If it is approved again in 2024, it will significantly change the way Nevadans vote, and address the state’s primary problem.

Data-in-Action

When it comes to having confidence in data, we suggest the following:

  • Pay attention to the dates of a poll; those fielded in optimal windows – such as shortly before an election – are best;
  • Consider polling content and length; predictive “horse race” polls should be short and simulate the ballot conditions as closely as possible;
  • Look at the sample; registered voter and likely voter screens are key;
  • Verify the polling method; to avoid responses biased by the desire to appear socially acceptable, reaching someone online is more effective than on the phone; and
  • Check whether multiple methods — such as polling combined with modeling — were used for data collection; one can verify the findings of the other.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out. Enjoy Citizen’s Data for Democracy series? You can find past installments in ElectProtect’s Democracy Research Library.

Share this report

Download Report
Download Examining the Accuracy of our Midterm Polling & Modeling
Hidden

How to Best Reach & Impact Voters

The 5 M’s: Citizen Data’s Framework for Change