The role of polls in Virginia’s race for governor

WASHINGTON — Were the polls in Virginia’s governor race wrong? Or did they influence the outcome?

Most polls showed a 7-point advantage for Democrat Terry McAuliffe one week before the election. But the votes counted on Tuesday showed he squeaked out a 2-point win with 47 percent of the vote compared to Ken Cuccinelli’s 45 percent.

University of Mary Washington political science Professor Stephen Farnsworth says the polls were not really wrong.

“Most of the polls stopped polling about the same time that the conversation about Obamacare really took off,” he says.

But did the polls actually influence the outcome. Doubtful says Marist College Pollster Lee Meringoff.

“I’m not sure that voters wait to hear about the next gallup poll or Washington Post poll to see who they’re going to vote for.”

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