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Minnesota Public Radio News and The Humphrey Institute release results of polling methodology review

December 17, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — The University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and Minnesota Public Radio today released the results of a review of polling methodology used in joint surveys conducted during the 2010 election season. An independent audit of the polling review was released as well.

The review was prepared by University of Minnesota professors Lawrence Jacobs and Joanne Miller. Findings were reviewed by Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of Gallup, Inc. Results are being publicly released because of questions raised about the poll's accuracy and methodology. The final poll, based on interviewing begun nearly two weeks before the election, showed results significantly different from the final election tally.

The overall conclusions from both the review and independent audit are that the MPR/Humphrey Institute polls performed within the range of other polls conducted during the election season, and that specific recommendations could strengthen the poll's performance and reliability. Newport notes that the review covers the issues "most likely to have affected the reported results."

J. Brian Atwood, dean of the Humphrey Institute, welcomed the reports as demonstrating the constructive process of peer review. "Peer review is an important part of any institution's pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement," he said, adding that the recommendations by Jacobs and Miller are "all well-founded" and are "all worth considering."

Chris Worthington, managing director of news at Minnesota Public Radio, said the reports were enlightening and important. "This review was a necessary step, and we look forward to more conversation about the recommendations."

Both the poll methodology review document and the Gallup audit of the review are available online at:

MPR Internal Report of Polls

Frank Newport review of findings

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