New York Times statistics guru, Nate Silver, says that polls in the deep South have an awful track record. For decades, polls in the South have shown far greater errors than those in other places in the country. The reason? Silver’s hypothesis is that southerners are just too doggone nice, exacerbating social desirability bias. At the moment, polls in Alabama show Newt Gingrich with a narrow lead. Tomorrow, time will tell.
This bias is potentially stronger in cultures that have stronger codes of etiquette, and where people are more self-conscious of the front they present to strangers. This is pertinent in some Asian and Asian-American cultures, for instance. Polls of Hawaii, where there are many Japanese-Americans, have a bad track record; one survey there somewhat infamously predicted a win for George W. Bush in 2004, but John Kerry instead took the state by 9 percentage points.
Etiquette also remains more in tact in the South, and especially in the Deep South, than in most other parts of the country. If so, polls there could encounter similar problems.