Public Policy Polling

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Public Policy Polling
Industry Opinion polling
Founded Raleigh, North Carolina (2001 (2001))
Founder Dean Debnam
Headquarters 2912 Highwoods Boulevard, Suite 201
Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
Area served
Key people
Dean Debnam (President, CEO)
Tom Jensen (Director)

Public Policy Polling (PPP) is a U.S. polling firm based in Raleigh, North Carolina.[1] PPP was founded in 2001 by businessman Dean Debnam, the firm's current president and chief executive officer.[2]

PPP is described as one of the "most accurate" polling companies[3][4] with a tendency to lean Democratic based upon so-called "house effect" analysis. [5]

In addition to political issues, the company has polled the public on such diverse topics as the approval rating of God,[6] whether Republican voters believe President Obama would be eligible to enter heaven in the event of the Rapture[7] and whether hipsters should be subjected to a special tax for being annoying.[8]



PPP first entered prominence through its performance in the 2008 Democratic primaries between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The company performed very well, producing extremely accurate predictions in many states ranging from South Carolina to Wisconsin, many of which featured inaccurate results by other pollsters.[9][10] After the November election, PPP was ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the two most accurate firms, among those who were most active in the presidential swing states.[11]


PPP was the first pollster to find Scott Brown with a lead over Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts Senate special election; Brown ultimately won in a major comeback, and PPP's final poll in that race predicted Brown's winning margin exactly.[12]


PPP was praised[by whom?] for its accuracy in polling primaries and special elections, which are notoriously hard to predict. The contests they accurately predicted include the West Virginia gubernatorial primaries, special elections in New York and California,[13][14] as well as all eight Wisconsin recall elections.


A study by Fordham University found that, of 28 firms studied, PPP had the most accurate poll on the presidential national popular vote, both its independently conducted poll and the one it does in collaboration with Daily Kos and the SEIU.[15] PPP correctly called the winner of the presidential election in all 19 states it polled in the final week of the election, as well as the winners of all the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races it surveyed.[16][17][18][19][20]


Political research firm YouGov found PPP’s gubernatorial polls to have the lowest average margin of error among national firms that polled in at least five gubernatorial races in the month preceding the election.[21]


The company's surveys use Interactive Voice Response (IVR), an automated questionnaire used by other polling firms such as SurveyUSA and Rasmussen Reports.[3]


  1. "Public Policy Polling Homepage", Public Policy Polling, 2012. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
  2. "About Us", Public Policy Polling, 2012. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bialik, Carl (November 6, 2008). "Polls Foresaw Future, Which Looks Tough for Polling". The Wall Street Journal. pp. A16. Retrieved March 12, 2012. 
  4. Easley, Jonathan (7 November 2012). "Study finds PPP was the most accurate pollster in 2012". The Hill. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  5. Silver, Nate (June 22, 2012). "Calculating ‘House Effects’ of Polling Firms". New York Times. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  6. "Public Policy Poll: God Commands 52% Approval". July 24, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  7. Rosenbaum, Ron (July 19, 2011). "Only 19 Percent of Republicans Think Obama Would Be Raptured". Slate. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  8. "Hipster Tax For Being 'So Annoying' Backed By 27 Percent Of Americans: Poll". The Huffington Post. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  9. "PPP: most accurate numbers in the country for South Carolina". Public Policy Polling. January 26, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  11. Sarlin, Benjy (August 22, 2011). "How PPP Became The 'It' Democratic Pollster". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  12. Taylor, Jessica (January 9, 2010). "Poll: Scott Brown ahead of Martha Coakley by 1 point". Politico. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  13. Catanese, David (July 14, 2011). "The polling is right: Why PPP deserves props". Politico. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  14. Isenstadt, Alex. "NY-26: The winners and losers". Politico. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  15. Leighton, Kyle (7 November 2012). "Fordham Study: Public Policy Polling Deemed Most Accurate National Pollster In 2012". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  16. Mahtesian, Charles (7 November 2012). "PPP nailed it". Politico. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  17. Bialik, Carl (7 November 2012). "How did pollsters fare on election night?". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  18. Lauter, David (8 November 2012). "Which pollsters did best: Non-traditional methods were standouts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  19. Enten, Harry (7 November 2012). "How the pollsters won the 2012 US election, mostly". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  20. LoGiurato, Brett (12 November 2012). "How a three-man polling team completely nailed their election prediction". Business Insider. Retrieved 6 December 2012. 
  21. "YouGov | YouGov poll performance in the 2014 Governor elections". YouGov: What the world thinks. Retrieved 2015-07-16.  line feed character in |title= at position 10 (help)

External links