From a thoroughly disingenuous article in the Seattle Times:
Larry Harris, a pollster with Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, said the early exit polls overstated the turnout of young voters — people 18 to 29 — and failed to note that Bush received a 4-percentage-point gain in the people older than 60 who voted for him from the 2000 election.Isn’t it remarkable that all these people (except Dennis Simon) stand ready with explanations for why the exit polls no longer match the voting results?
That said, Harris believes that the media and the campaigns misuse exit polls.
“Exit polls are a wonderful advantage in providing context and texture,” he said. “But for trying to make a call, we’ve learned in two elections in a row that they lead to confusion.”
Karyn Barker, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, agreed that exit polls are getting a bad rap. It’s not the polls, she says, it’s how the people use them.
“Anyone who follows exit polls should not use them as a prediction of the turnout of certain groups,” she said. “To assume that these numbers were spot-on was foolish. It seems some people, including me, wildly misinterpreted what they meant.”
Some say users of exit-poll information never used to have to worry about error margins and statistical sampling.“If we go back in history to prior presidential elections, those exit polls were dead on,” said Dennis Simon, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “Something has changed to make them less dead on.” (Emphasis mine.)
It’s the of course, everybody knows tone that gets me. I haven’t heard anything quite like it since the day four years ago when James Baker stepped up to the mike and said that of course, everybody knows that machine counts are more accurate than hand counts—which was and is completely untrue. In fact, the reverse is true: everyone knows that hand counts are more accurate.
If this were a movie you were watching, by now you’d be exasperated by characters who took this long to spot the implications. (via)
Furthermore: Jim Macdonald tells me that as he was driving down from New Hampshire on Election Day, he went through a long patch where the only radio station he could pick up had Rush Limbaugh on, so he listened to the show. Jim says Rush was explaining that it’s really not a very good idea to let everybody vote, and that you do much better when the only people who can vote are ones who have “a stake in the system.”
See also, “property qualification.”
As Lydy Nickerson said when I told her about that, “How can anyone not have a stake in the system?”Addendum: I found this quoted in Red Onion. I don’t know how reliable it is, but it’s certainly interesting:
SoCalDemocrat (xxx posts) Tue Nov-02-04 11:54 PM Original messageWhen we’re supervising elections overseas to make sure they’re fair and honest, the main mechanism we use is exit polls. On election nights stretching back as far as I can remember, I’ve heard newscasters cite exit polls. Now, all of a sudden, I’m hearing from multiple sources about how wildly unreliable exit polls are.
Kerry winning Exit Polls - FRAUD LOOKS PROBABLEEdited on Wed Nov-03-04 12:42 AM by SoCalDemocrat
Analysis of the polling data vs actual data and voting systems supports the hypothesis that evoting may be to blame in the discrepancies. Nevada has evoting but with verified receipts. In that state the Exit Polling matches the actual results within .1% accuracy. However for other swing states Bush has unexplainable leads.
I’m still compiling data. Please help me determine what voting methods are being used in swing states and which are evoting without audit trails. Post your data under the individual state responses below. …
I’m not buying it.
Also: More links on this subject.