Posted in Industry Insights

The importance of trust in polling

, by Lauren Easton

Speaking to technology industry executives at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, Executive Editor Sally Buzbee addressed AP’s election coverage, trust around polling and the accuracy of AP’s new voter survey in telling the story of the U.S. midterm elections.

Buzbee joined the conference remotely from Washington, the epicenter of AP’s elections operations.

She made clear the need for accurate, fact-based journalism and political polling, especially in the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

This screen grab from Web Summit video shows AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee joining the conference remotely from Washington.

“Journalists need to be driven by facts and data, not by their own sort of pre-assumptions of what’s going to happen,” she told the audience. “To me, that is one of the biggest challenges facing not just journalism, but certainly polling within the environment of journalism.”

AP debuted its new VoteCast survey in Tuesday’s midterms, surveying approximately 140,000 registered voters to deliver a broad and accurate picture of the American electorate. VoteCast is an alternative to the traditional, in-person exit poll, a method that no longer matches how Americans vote today.

“We threw research, we threw innovation, we threw the best statistical minds that we could find at this problem, figuring out a way to create a more accurate sort of Election Day polling, an alternative to exit polling, that will last for the next 20 or 30 years,” Buzbee said. “And we’re pretty happy with the results so far.”

AP race callers declared winners in more than 6,000 races in Tuesday’s elections. AP election coverage is available here.

Watch a replay of Buzbee’s remarks: