George Mason University

News at Mason

Washington Post-Schar School poll accurately predicts outcome of Jones-Moore race

December 13, 2017   /   by Buzz McClain

The Washington Post-Schar School poll, in its second survey beyond Virginia politics, proved remarkably accurate in gauging voter sentiment in Alabama’s senatorial race.

While other polls around the country and in Alabama had Republican Roy Moore winning the closely watched race, only the Post-Schar poll and Fox News predicted a victory by Democrat underdog Doug Jones.

Of the two, the Post-Schar poll’s 50 percent for Jones, 47 percent for Moore tabulation was far closer to the actual outcome: 50 percent for Jones and 48 percent for Moore. Fox had Jones winning by 10 points.

“We and the Post did it the right way,” said Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “All of the other polling organizations used automated calls or online polling. Even though it’s more expensive, our poll had actual people doing live interviews of eligible voters likely to vote.”

The Washington Post-Schar School poll is now three for three in major elections. In addition to the Alabama senate race, the poll predicted Hillary Clinton would win Virginia by 5 percent over Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. She did.

In the Nov. 7 Virginia governor’s race, the poll predicted Democrat Ralph Northam would defeat Republican Ed Gillespie by 5 percent, with a 4 percent margin of error. Northam won by 9 percent.