Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Exit Polls

Lean Left?

Last night, while deploying our test network in rural Rhode Island, we were listening to the election results from all sorts of stations across the country on AM radio. Ater 9:00 Eastern time, they all seemed to report some of the exit polls with a disclaimer that "exit polls for the last few elections seem to lean to the left"... "and this "democratic bias" wrongly predicted several elections in the past."

We discussed this a bit. With an exit poll, people vote and then are randomly selected to answer a quick little quiz. If exit polls really leaned to the left, then that must say a bit about people and how they answer polls.

Here are some plausible hypotheses to explain this phenomenon:

1) The Democrats have a tendency to tell the truth when they are polled and the Republicans lie - they say they voted Democrat and really vote Republican.
2) Republicans tell the truth and Democrats lie about voting Republican.
3) Democrats are more likely to answer the poll. Republicans' time is so valuable tha they have no time to answer an exit poll.
4) Republicans rig elections to swing the votes in their direction.

Maybe it's a myth:
Here is something I found this morning:

Spinning the Exit Polls Early

The RNC just sent out detailed talking points about how unreliable exit polls have been over the past several elections. The key arguments are that exits polls typically have a Democratic bias and have wrongly predicted Democratic victories in recent years.

According to a source, the RNC expects leaked exit polls to show Democratic victories and do not want the news to discourage Republican voters from going to the polls late in the day.

I happen to believe it may be a little of all of the above reasons. Mostly, people tell the truth. In Europe, exit polls are used to determine whether an election has been tampered with.

Truly amazing as to how this propaganda machine works, isn't it?

Hitek


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