Skip to comments.Exit Polls Come Under Post-Election Criticism
Posted on 11/03/2004 7:30:29 PM PST by Pharmboy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Exit polling, long a key indicator of election trends, emerged on Wednesday as a big loser in the 2004 election after Internet pundits latched onto early data to mistakenly report a commanding lead for Democrat John Kerry in key states.
The use of the raw, preliminary data on freewheeling Web sites triggered a brief but doomed wave of euphoria among Kerry supporters and a sharp drop on Wall Street. The data also wound up being telegraphed by mainstream media in TV reports.
The truth was that in the end Kerry did not win states like Ohio and Florida, where early exit polls showed him ahead by several percentage points.
On the day after the elections, experts and pollsters tried to figure out what went wrong -- were the exit polls off base or was the data misused?
"We have an exit poll crisis," said pollster John Zogby, whose own Election Day predictions that Kerry would take Ohio and Florida proved wrong. He said he had used the exit poll data to confirm conclusions he had based on his own polling.
Zogby, in an interview with Reuters, for whom he conducts polls, added, "As polling professionals, we test and judge our samples based on exit polls.
"The first and second rounds yesterday were not good. It used to be that whatever came out in the first round generally held, but yesterday the first round made it look like a Kerry landslide was in the works and he was sweeping states he didn't win, and that is troublesome."
The origin of at least some online reports giving Kerry a hefty lead in key battleground states was data collected by pollsters Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool, a consortium of TV networks and other news outlets.
"Some Web sites had data that claimed to be ours. Some of it may have been ours, some of it may have been made-up data, some of it may have been misinterpreted data," said Joe Lenski, vice president of Edison Research.
"A lot of this is whispered-down-the-line stuff, where someone grabs one piece of data and sends it to someone else."
Lenski said early results were more favorable to Kerry than they were for Bush, owing in part to the fact that more women then men tend to vote early in an election and that women in this race favored Kerry.
But he said the size of the Kerry leads attributed to exit polling were exaggerated by online political pundits known as bloggers, who also appeared to have ignored the caveats and analysis supplied with the data. "You can tell that anything that appeared online was not interpreted by anyone that had a sophisticated understanding of the workings and limitations of early exit polling," he said.
Early exit polling can be by its nature heavily skewed to one side or another and is not intended to be used to project races or be reported to the public, especially before polls close, Lenski said.
Rather, it is used by news outlets as early guide posts to possible trends that may unfold later.
While election watchers credited the TV networks with steering clear of early exit poll number in their own reporting, they noticed that partisans of the Kerry camp referred to those results in their on-air commentary, helping propagate the flawed information in the mainstream media.
© Reuters 2004. All Rights Reserved.
I think the exit polls were designed to discredit the "new media". I noticed every mainstream media outlet snicker at how everyone on the blogosphere had gotten things terribly wrong.
That was the hatchet job like the early call of FL in 2000. I wonder how many votes were supressed because of these bogus calls.
Incredible scandal. And they had all battleground states going to Kerry and VA/NC/SC were tossups where Bush won by 8/15+/15+.
They'll never go away. Never. And it will always be based on lies.
"I suspect that we lost PA because of shenanigans in Philly and Pittsburg."
Check out the angry article on National Review online, the gist is: Spector didn't help, maybe hurt, will hurt more in the near future.
That said Rendell is a thug and I hope you all throw him out ASAP. And, really, I used to kind of like the guy.
Spector is a creep though, and shame on Santorum for supporting him.
"Early exit polling can be by its nature heavily skewed to one side or another and is not intended to be used to project races or be reported to the public, especially before polls close, Lenski said. "
This guy, Joe Lenski was interviewed on CSPAN at 4:30 yesterday afternoon at about the time the bogus exit poll was released. He had a stiff Joe Lockhart sort of spin schtick. When I saw that interview, I figured the fix was in and the exit poll was a bogus DNC tactic. The CSPAN website doesn't have this in the video archive, but if you have it on the TIVO it might be worth looking at.
It was somebody else's fault because they somehow got our data, put it on their blogs undeciphered, then we took their data and reported it.
Doesn't even sound like a close to believable LIE to me.
These people think we're stoo-pid.
How about Susan Estrich? She took the polls as gospel. Her sh#t eating grin is seared in my memory.
"How about Susan Estrich? She took the polls as gospel."
She probably intuitively knew it was skewed, but figured it would depress turnout, so made a big deal of it.
The skewed exit poll was similiar to the bogus claim that ohio had 275,000 provisional votes yet to be counted. This number turned out to be a figment of Joe Lockhart's imagination after it had been repeated countless times by the three big networks.
MSM RIP 11-02-04
Can't say that I disagree about Spector. And on top of it all, he is an ungrateful little prick.
Whatever you believe about the skewed exit polls, it is wonderful poetic justice that the mainstream-media misled their own constituancy (the left) into believing the swill they were putting out, leading them from the heights of euphoria to the depths of depression.
As if the left wasn't bi-polar enough already - the MSM accentuated their disease.
Start an investigation under RICO ...
Rather, it is used by news outlets as early guide posts to possible trends that may unfold later. <<<
What absolute unadulterated drivel! The MSM used exit polls for exactly that - projecting a winner before the polls closed. "Guide posts" - "possible trends"; what a bunch of CYA.
Has it occured to anyone yet that perhaps people just freakin' LIED to the pollsters????
My god, if I was a dem that just voted for Bush, I would lie like a rug.....
I hope this is his last term. He'll be 80 the next time his seat is up. I doubt he wants to become the next Strom Thurmond.
Last night on FoxNews with Brit Hume, Michael Barone said he thought there HAD to have been a mole inside the polling organization who then told a DNC contact where they would be conducting exit polls. The DNC then supplied about 200 stooges to act as voters and take the exit interview - which is long - so the results would be in favor of Kerry.
I was shocked to hear Barone put forth this idea......he's such a straight shooter, I suspect he knows something to make that claim on TV.