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Pre-Primary Polls

Edited by: Published: 2008
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Pre-primary polls are those conducted before primary elections in an attempt to measure voters' preferences.

They present a number of difficult challenges for pollsters.

Voters in primary elections can be volatile in their preferences, often because many candidates are relatively unknown and voters have limited information about them. This is especially true in early primary states in U.S. presidential campaigns, when the field of candidates is often wide and there are many lesser-known candidates struggling to gain momentum. With little information, voters can be highly susceptible to the dynamics of the campaign, and every time a candidate starts a new ad campaign or launches a micro-targeting effort, poll numbers can move in response.

Primary electorates are made up of partisans of one party (or of independents who lean ...

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