LAS VEGAS -- It quickly became clear on election night that nearly every poll was off the mark on two major races. Senator Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle, despite the Republican leading in a series of polls. And Congresswoman Dina Titus nearly held on to her seat despite being down 10 points in the last poll.
From CNN to Rasmussen to Reuters, the only thing more repetitious this campaign season than ads were the near daily release of polls. Until now, Senator Reid kept silent about the polls that showed him behind for a month.
"We've got to do something about these misleading polls that are all over the country. They're so unfair. And you just gobble them up, no matter where they come from. You just run with them as if they're the finest piece of pastry in the world," he said.
8 News NOW and the Las Vegas Review-Journal commissioned Mason Dixon Polling. Their polls showed Sharron Angle with a 4 percent lead just before the election. Senator Reid ended up defeating Angle by nearly 6 percentage points.
Polling companies come up with their own formula to determine "likely voters" and most pollsters only call homes with land lines. That leaves out people who only use cell phones. But poll director Brad Coker with Mason Dixon denies that makes a difference.
"There hasn't been one conclusive study that shows that excluding cell phone only users has had any effect on the polls," he said.
Pollsters claim the reason they got it wrong was in underestimating the Nevada Democratic Party's get out the vote ground game. Senator Reid's mobilization effort nearly clinched a victory for Congresswoman Titus, despite her large deficit in the most recent poll.
Coker says another reason they don't poll cell phone users is that it's too expensive for news organizations. However, internal polls most campaigns use pay big money and often have cell phone sampling. But those results are usually confidential.