If voters were surprised to watch TV networks call the election for President Obama over Republican Mitt Romney minutes after polls closed in California last week, perhaps it was because of earlier statements like these:
--"Romney has pretty much nailed down Florida."
--"I think in places like North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, we've already painted those red, we're not polling any of those states again."
For as much criticism as pollsters endured in the run-up to Election Day, a look back shows many of them hit very close to the bull's-eye for the presidential race — but some did better than others.
Take the venerable Gallup. It had Mitt Romney at 49 percent and President Obama at 48 percent in a poll published Monday, a day before the voting. And when undecided voters were split up among candidates, Gallup put the figure at 50 percent Romney, 49 percent Obama.
Arab-American voters strongly supported President Obama in 2008, and polls show most are doing so this time around as well. But some of those voters are concerned about the way Obama has handled issues important to their community — even if they still intend to cast their ballots for his re-election.
At the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the Arab American Institute, the walls are full of red, white and blue signs in English and Arabic urging people to vote.
The final poll released Sunday by the Pew Research Center ahead of Tuesday's election shows President Obama has a 3 percentage point lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney just two days before the general election.
Obama leads Romney 48 percent to 45 percent in the poll of 2,709 likely voters, which has a margin of error of 2.2 percentage points. The poll was conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
In the vast majority of pre-election polls, likely voters are usually asked, "If the election were held today, for whom would you vote?"
That's the wrong question to ask, says Justin Wolfers, a political economist with the University of Michigan. He's spent years researching polls, and in a new paper he offers what he says is the right question: