November 03, 2004

Exit Polls

So why were the exit polls wrong? Here’s a guess. Perhaps most of them were conducted in cities, not small towns and rural areas, skewing the results toward Kerry. Urban voters are more likely to be Democrats, after all. This is just a guess, though. As far as I know, media outlets haven't published their exit poll methodologies.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at November 3, 2004 09:53 AM
Comments

In Britain the polls have shown a greater support for Labour than the final election because some people were embarrassed about voting Conservative and would pretend they hadn't. By the time of her third election, Thatcher was widely despised, far more than Bush, and lots of people were convinced she would loose. Yet she still managed to get re-elected. But now, as Blair faces more and more criticism, this might be reversing - now people won't admit to voting Labour.

The effect would be probably be seen less in America, since Americans don't tend to worry about this kind of thing as much as the British. But possibly people who normally wouldn't go with Bush but voted for him because of concerns over Terrorism were keeping quiet? Or maybe because of the heavy criticism from 'intellectuals' - who they would associate with the pollsters? It could contribute.

I could be completely wrong here, my understanding of American voters isn't that great.

I've just noticed that your next post, and the responses, seem to support this idea.

Posted by: Daniel at November 3, 2004 11:02 AM

Colour me stupid,but I smell malicious intent.After Florida in 2000,supposedly the networks decided not to release questionable data just because they had it.
These polls were FAULTY beyond any reasonable explanation other than GROSS incompetence or something worse.
Based upon the spectacle of The NYT,CBS,ABC and so many others,going into the tank for Kerry,I vote for something worse.

Posted by: dougf at November 3, 2004 12:08 PM

I think its just poor methodology. For the exit polls to be accurate they would need not only a random sample of polls but also a random sample of voters. To achieve this would require significant prior planning. You just can't wander up to a few polls and button hole the first ten people you see.

Posted by: boudica at November 3, 2004 12:37 PM

A couple of other theories as to the exit polling fiasco:

1) Kerry voters were angrier than Bush voters, so they tended to show up at the polls earlier;
2) Conservatives are more likely to tell exit pollsters to go to hell than liberals will.

Personally, if I had been approached by an exit pollster, I would have told him my vote was none of his f***ing business, and to get a new job.

Posted by: pianoman at November 3, 2004 01:56 PM

My guess is that people knew in their hearts that Bush was the right vote so that's what they voted. But they didn't want people to know so they answered the "politically correct" way to the pollsters. Some of them at least.

Posted by: Dan Sherman at November 3, 2004 02:22 PM

I wonder how the exit polls deal with early voting. Even if election day exit polls follow a valid methodology and people answer honestly, they will still be wrong if, for example, early voters are more likely to vote for Bush.

Posted by: Lewis at November 3, 2004 03:10 PM

I believe the answer is much more simple. Most conservatives work all day and don't vote until they're on their way home. Another reason is the cities are where they go to poll and they always assume they are Dems. I think if you look at Cleveland you will see more blacks went for Bush over the Marriage amendment then the Dems figured. The exit polls and leak were a cheap attempt at getting people who were voting Bush after work would not go.

Gay activism is hurting them more than helping them. Most people don't care what they do in their love lifes but when it is constantly in their face they hate it. This issue is more about getting the public to pay for AIDS partners who don't have medical plans. This disease is fully preventable and the spread of it in this day and age is caused by irresponsibility and most people are tired of paying for it. Obviously the country is more conservative than most thought, just look at the senate and house results and the number of votes Bush got.

Posted by: barney at November 3, 2004 04:23 PM

CNN's exit poll methodolgies here: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/misc/projected.html

Posted by: madjon at November 3, 2004 11:38 PM

The final exit polls weren't that far off from the final results. It's not the polling that's wrong, it's the idiots who can real polls. First of all a 2 pm exit poll on a day of heavy turnout is self-evidently meaningless. Second journalists don't understand what a margin of error means. If Kerry is leading 51-49 with a 3 point margin of error you don't call the state for the Kerry. Once again conservatives are looking for liberal bias when laziness and sloppy work is a better explanation.

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