One of the most trusted names in polling has conducted a thorough examination of its formula and methodology to try to figure out why it was so sure Mitt Romney would win the 2012 presidential election.

Gallup’s final prediction was off by almost 5 points. According to The Hill, the polling outfit will make small but important changes. Among the factors that may have contributed to bad information: the new importance of a handful of swing states, bad weighting of time zones, and an emphasis on listed landlines, which favored Republicans.

The Hill:

[Gallup editor-in-chief Frank] Newport said the Obama campaign treated battleground states “as their own universe,” and suggested polling of them might need to be given more weight than states that are traditionally a lock to go either red or blue.

In addition, Newport said the logistics of Gallup’s deadline-oriented daily polling caused the firm to consistently under represent some portions of the country.

“Simulations indicate that the underrepresentation of specific time zones within regions led … to Gallup’s underestimation of Obama’s vote share,” the report concluded, citing the Pacific time zone in particular.

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Gallup will also try to get a better understanding of how ethnicity plays a role in elections.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer.

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