Zogby poll goofs on California

Super Tuesday may have lacked a runaway winner in either party, but when it came to anticipating the outcome of both primaries in California, there was one clear loser -- the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll.

"We blew it," pollster John Zogby said.

He pointed out that the polls he supervised got the victors right in six other races Tuesday (impressively, his had Barack Obama winning narrowly in Missouri, unlike other last-minute surveys).

But in California's Democratic face-off, based on interviews conducted Sunday and Monday, the Zogby poll gave Obama 49% of the vote, Hillary Clinton 36%.

The 13-point margin was close to the mark, but there was that little problem of who ended up on top. Although the vote tabulation isn't complete in California (and won't be for days), the count as of now gives Clinton 52%, Obama 42%.

In a news release, Zogby International explained: "It appears that we underestimated Hispanic turnout and overestimated the importance of younger Hispanic voters" (i.e. far more Latinos, especially older ones, cast ballots than anticipated, and those voters went heavily for Clinton). Also, African American turnout was "overestimated."

What about the GOP race?

The findings in the final Zogby poll: Mitt Romney 40%, John McCain 33%.

The almost-complete actual results: McCain 42%, Romney 34%.

Zogby told us that his staff still is vetting the GOP goof.

"This is not one of our happier moments," Zogby said.

-- Don Frederick

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