The director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Patrick Murray, recently published an Op-Ed for The Star-Ledger apologizing for its final 2021 New Jersey gubernatorial election poll results. The poll showed an inaccurate 11-point victory for incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy over his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli in a race as of Nov. 5, 3:49 p.m. ET with 99% in; Murphy is winning by 2.5%.
"I owe an apology to Jack Ciattarelli's campaign," Murray wrote, "and to Phil Murphy's campaign for that matter — because inaccurate public polling can have an impact on fundraising and voter mobilization efforts. But most of all I owe an apology to the voters of New Jersey for information that was at the very least misleading."
A significant problem, Murray observed, is the separation of those classified as "likely voters" from those considered "unlikely."
"For an election poll, we do not know exactly who will vote until after Election Day, so we have to create models of what we think the electorate could look like. Those models are not perfect."
Regarding Monmouth's track record, Murray stated that generally, it had been accurate, but he did not dismiss the public's growing concerns about their faith in pollsters. He said that well-respected organizations like Gallup, Pew Research Center, and, most recently, Quinnipiac University have decided to refrain from election polling.
Murray floated the possibility of joining those organizations in ending election polling altogether.
"If we cannot be certain that these polling misses are anomalies then we have a responsibility to consider whether releasing horse race numbers in close proximity to an election is making a positive or negative contribution to the political discourse."
Monmouth has not released a statement indicating if it plans to continue election polling for the 2022 midterm cycle.
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