AP announces debut of new Election Day survey

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The Associated Press will debut a new election survey in November aimed at capturing the opinions and preferences of voters as they choose who to vote for, along with the reasons behind their decision.

AP VoteCast is based on a decade of research and experimentation that moves away from traditional, in-person exit polling to a new, more accurate approach that reflects how Americans vote today: not only in person, but also increasingly early, absentee and by mail.

Together with the AP Vote Count and AP's race calls, AP VoteCast provides newsrooms with all the data they need to tell the comprehensive story of Election Day.

"This sophisticated approach to Election Day research will provide AP, its customers and the world with the most accurate portrait of the American electorate and what is driving election results," said AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt. "We are very pleased to work with NORC at the University of Chicago, the leader in non-partisan public opinion research, to offer a new method of interviewing voters and non-voters that is specifically designed to overcome the drawbacks of in-person exit polls."

AP VoteCast offers results in every state with a statewide election.

It also captures both the voices of those who choose to vote, and registered voters who decide not to cast ballots. For the first time on an election night, there will be results beyond the battlegrounds and more than just speculation about the millions of Americans who may swing elections by simply staying home.

"NORC is excited to be working with AP to improve and enhance society's understanding of elections and the electorate," said NORC president and CEO Dan Gaylin. "Our rigorous and innovative approach will produce deeper insights into voting behavior. Creating reliable, objective information for the American people is NORC's core mission, and it is an honor to be working with the AP on this critical aspect of our democracy."

AP VoteCast is a probability-based, state-by-state survey of registered voters that is combined with a massive opt-in poll of Americans conducted online. Working in close collaboration with Fox News Network, AP successfully tested this approach in the 2017 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and in the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate. At poll close, the surveys accurately forecast the winner and the winner's final vote share.

In the November 2018 U.S. midterm elections, AP VoteCast will provide detailed, state-by-state results about the "why" of the election. The results can be licensed by AP elections subscribers. After its debut in November, AP VoteCast will return in the 2020 presidential primary season and in that year's general election.

Fox News Network will use data from AP and NORC to power its Fox News Voter Analysis on election night. Fox and other national customers will collaborate with AP on the design of the questionnaire in all states and the future refinement of the poll's methodology. They will be named in the poll's methods statement as survey sponsors.

The Washington Post will also use the survey results in its coverage of several states on Election Day.

"Fox's contribution to our work with NORC has been invaluable, and we're confident it will remain so for years to come," said David Scott, AP's deputy managing editor for operations. "We're also excited to launch AP VoteCast with The Washington Post as a subscription customer."

NORC and Fox will each present research based on the 2017 experiments conducted with AP at the American Association for Public Opinion Research conference in Denver on May 19.

The Associated Press is the most trusted source of information on election night with a history of accuracy dating to 1848. On Nov. 6, AP will count the vote in some 5,000 races, using its proven network of over 4,000 stringers across the U.S., and will call the winners in 34 Senate, 36 gubernatorial and 435 congressional races using state-of-the-art analytical tools, its new AP VoteCast survey and its premier AP Vote Count to help determine when a race is decided.

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