11/03/2010 07:07 am ET Updated Jun 18, 2012

Bad Night for Congressional Democrats and Gallup Poll

There were two big losers in last night's midterm election -- congressional Democrats who saw their House majority erased and their Senate majority greatly reduced, and the Gallup Poll, which produced the worst final vote forecast of any major national poll.

Gallup's final likely voter poll gave Republicans a 15 point margin on the generic ballot, the largest of any major poll and far beyond the average of 6-7 points. The actual result, based on both the national exit poll and votes tabulated thus far, appears to be between 6 and 7 points.

Not only did Gallup miss the actual vote margin by a mile, but their projections about the composition of the midterm electorate were also way off the mark. Based on the exit poll results, it appears that the actual electorate was not nearly as male, old, Republican, or conservative as Gallup's final likely voter sample.

This disaster makes clear that Gallup needs to reexamine their approach to identifying likely voters which appears to have been way too sensitive this year to the "enthusiasm gap" between Republicans and Democrats. Yes, Republicans were more enthusiastic this year -- and who can blame them given the poll results they were looking at -- but an enthusiastic voter doesn't count any more than an unenthusiastic voter. Apparently a lot of Democrats voted despite their lack of enthusiasm.