Dan Hopkins

Dan Hopkins is a political scientist whose research centers on American politics, with a special emphasis on research methods, political behavior, and local politics. He is currently an assistant professor in the government Department at Georgetown University.

Recent Articles

When Can You Trust Polling about Ballot Measures?

In just over a week, Ohio voters will decide on Issue 2, a referendum on whether to keep a recently enacted law which “ limits collective bargaining for public employees in the state .” Recent polls show decidedly more public opposition to this law than support for it, with a 57-32 pro-repeal split in a Quinnipiac poll and a similar 56-36 split in a PPP poll . But as Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent reports , labor groups opposing the law are circulating a once-internal memo questioning just how predictive those polls will turn out to be. The memo points out that the surveys do not include the actual language that will appear on the ballot, that turnout levels in off-year elections are uncertain, and that polling on prior Ohio ballot measures has been inaccurate. The accuracy of telephone surveys on ballot measures is an empirical question, and one that is of interest well beyond Ohio’s Issue 2, so let’s look at the data. Between 2003 and 2010, we can track down 438 publicly...