The Q Poll has become Connecticut's premier polling operation in the 24 years since it got going. Schwartz became the poll's director in 1994. It began as a Connecticut-only survey, then expanded to polling in New York and New Jersey as well. In recent years it has begun to garner a national reputation.
One major factor in the rise of the Q Poll has been the size of its voter samples. Schwartz says his interviewers always seek to have opinions from at least 1,000 likely voters — a pool that cuts way down on a poll's margin of error.
The other major opinion survey in this state is the Hartford Courant/UConn poll, which often samples opinions of just 500 voters. The Courant/UConn operation did fairly well in that Fordham study, coming in 13th, well ahead of better known pollsters like Gallup and Rasmussen.
Schwartz says the Q Poll will continue to focus on the most critical battleground states in elections rather than compete with pollsters that try to gauge the nation as a whole.
In this election, the Quinnipiac University survey targeted major swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, and Schwartz says those forecasts came within a couple of percentage points of the actual votes — which were key for Obama.
"That's where the election was going to be decided," Schwartz says. "That's become our niche, if you will… and we continue to believe that's what really matters."