Suffolk University Political Research Center Gains Significance

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With Election Day just around the corner, media outlets are starting to heat up with polls developing from all over the country.  But, no matter where they come from, one of the most popular is from our own University. Time and time again, the Suffolk University Political Research Center has produced some of the most accurate and highly cited polls across the country, and now even outside the United States.

Since starting in 2002, the Suffolk University Political Research Center (SUPRC) has gained significant prominence in the polling industry. The SUPRC is directed by Professor David Paleologos. Along with publishing independent polls on their own, SUPRC has worked with Fox News’ Miami affiliate WSVN/7News, Boston’s own NBC affiliate WHDH/7 News, as well as the Boston Globe. But, most recently, they had a chance to conduct polling with the Virginia-based USA Today newspaper.

From July 30 to August 8, the Suffolk University Political Research Center partnered with USA Today to conduct a polling survey on voting in this year’s presidential election. They looked at both registered and unregistered voters. They asked whether or not each of them planned on casting their vote on Election Day.  The results were published in an article titled “Why 90 million Americans won’t vote in November” on the front page of USA Today in mid-August.

One of the questions asked to respondents was “If the election were held today, whom would you vote for/lean to?” Registered voters answered 43 percent for President Barack Obama, 20 percent for Governor Mitt Romney, and 18 percent said they would support a third party candidate. Likewise, 43 percent of unregistered voters also said they would vote for Obama, 14 percent for Romney, and 23 percent for a third party candidate. To see the entire article and other survey questions, visit USAToday.com.

The mastermind of the Suffolk University Political Research Center is Suffolk’s own Professor David Paleologos. He said that the idea behind this poll was “numbers.” He said, in the 2008 election, “[then-Senator] Obama got 70 million votes and Senator McCain got 60 million voters, but there were still 80 million people eligible to vote, but didn’t.”

“[it was] amazing not only because it got front page coverage, but the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times [both] commented on the article and research,” said Paleologos.

The research was conducted by a private professional phone banker with 800 people contacted and interviewed. Paleologos explained they also identified demographics of people who don’t vote, “like younger voters, higher minorities, and the less educated,” and he found it surprising that 19 percent were unemployed

To many, it will not be surprising to see high accuracy when comparing this poll to the actual results. In 2010, after the special Senatorial election in Massachusetts when Ted Kennedy passed away, the SUPRC conducted a poll for the race between then-State Senator Scott Brown and attorney general Martha Coakley. SUPRC predicted Brown would get 50 percent of the vote and Coakley would receive 46 percent What were the Election Day results? Brown won with 52 percent and Coakley garnered 47 percent

SUPRC is releasing their next poll this week on the preside tial and senatorial races in Massachusetts, as well as three ballot questions.