Press Archive

New poll raises questions about Internet-based polling

In the News
by Katrina King   |   News 8 Austin

A new poll puts Gov. Rick Perry ahead of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison by 12 percentage points, but the Internet-based poll has some questioning the accuracy of online polling.

"It's not the kind of Internet polling people have been critical of. It's very statistically sound and uses a very sophisticated sampling method," Texas Politics Projector Jim Henson said.

The poll, which is part of a partnership between the University of Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune, surveyed 800 registered voters and was conducted by a company that maintains a large database of potential respondents and recruits poll participants, primarily by e-mail.

"Over time, this is going to become more and more accepted," Henson said about Internet-based polling.

The poll, however, failed to meet the standards of The Associated Press, meaning the polls results were not reported by many other news organizations across the state.

"[We] question the coverage an Internet poll could reach, some people don't have access to the Internet and some do these types of surveys for financial gain or prizes," Texas AP Bureau Chief Dale Leach said. "We do distribute polls not conducted by the AP, but by other news organizations whose methodology we have confidence in."

The president of Perception Insight, a Republican-based public opinion research firm, said online polls are just not as reliable as phone-based polls.

"Right now, the best way to reach voters in general is by telephone interview, and particularly when we're looking at primary voters," Perception Insight President Marc Delsignore said.

He said phone surveys are more expensive, but more accurate at this point, because pollsters can match records with a phone number.

"When we get there and we have the technology to match up primary vote history from the Secretary of State with a large number of e-mails, that will be a much more accurate way of doing it," he said.

So whether the new poll proves accurate, and Perry pulls out the win in March, or Hutchison sees these numbers as a time to heat up her campaign, the results of Election Day will have the final say.

Of the 800 surveyed in the UT-Texas Tribune poll, 356 said they plan to vote in the Republican primary, with a margin of error ± 5.19 percentage points for the Perry-Hutchison-Medina question.

Debra Medina, the third Republican candidate, got 7 percent.



Perception Insight

815A Brazos #425
Austin, Texas 78701
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Client Access

Network with Marc