While most ‘experts’ were cleaning egg off their faces, John Zogbycemented his credibility as the real McCoy. He did not throw in the towel for Trump, recognizing that the race was much closer than conventional wisdom let on.
His biography at The Huffington Post describes him as the”former president and CEO of Zogby International, remains by all accounts the hottest pollster in the United States today.
“‘All hail Zogby, the maverick predictor who beat us all,’ proclaimed the Washington Post in November 1996 after Zogby alone called that presidential election with pinpoint accuracy. In the recent razor-thin 2000 elections, daily national tracking polls conducted by Zogby International in the last few weeks foretold a tightening of the race for president while nearly all other polling firms projected an easy victory for Gov. George W. Bush. Zogby International instead was the first to observe the gap closing significantly between Bush and Vice-President Al Gore in the waning hours of the election. In his post election 2000 review, the acclaimed Godfrey Sperling, columnist for the Christian Science Monitor called John Zogby ‘Champion Pollster.’
His biography also mentions that “(h)e has been praised as ‘the most accurate pollster’ (Seattle Post Intelligencer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, USA Today), ‘respected’ and ‘pioneering’ (Albany Times Union), ‘the pace setter in the polling business’ (New York Post), and ‘the big winner in 1996’ (Campaigns and Elections, L. Brent Bozell, and the O’Leary/Kamber Report).”
Zogby recently spoke with me about the big issues which face electioneering in America. Some of our discussion is included below.
John Zogby: Zogby did not poll the horse race after two weeks before the election, though our last poll had Clinton leading by 2 points. With that said, I think it was more a combination of a misunderstanding of how to read polls and a media that really wanted Donald Trump to lose — so much that they screened out any other possibility.
Zogby: In the old days there were only a few polls. Even my national debut in 1996, I was one of only 7 national polls. There are so many media today that each one has its own poll. Some are clearly better (and worse) than others, but generally I think the record shows that most actually did a good job. Remember it is the trend line, not the “prediction to the tent of a percent.
Zogby: The more the merrier. History can be confounded and polls can have a bad day. Only God knows who will win and she is not talking. But I do believe the polls did not do as badly as the media did.
Zogby: I think polls will always be around and the media needs to fill news holes. Will some of the media not be around?
Zogby: It is increasingly difficult to conduct surveys. I like to innovate so we have to change methodology. With 94% of likely voters having Internet access at home we will continue to do Internet polling, even mobile to web. I still think the polls were better than the coverage.
Zogby: I liked that poll but it did not include new voters. The reality is that it had Trump leading the popular vote which he actually lost. But I have no problem with their work.
Zogby: No, not at all. If we want polls to predict with pinpoint accuracy — especially in nail-biter and lead-changing elections — then the polls will always fail. We just need to read polls more maturely. We will always want to know where our views and choices fit it with the rest of the community.
Zogby: They need to be more flexible on their methodologies.