Exit Polls

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As I type, the last votes are being cast in the eastern states, and the exit poll results are pouring in.

Here’s one chart from cnn.com —

Reporting 1st Place 2nd Place
GA 2% Huckabee 37% McCain 35%
WV 100% Huckabee 52% Romney 47%

However, with the primary races so close this election, do exit polls really count for anything? After the debacle of the 2000 Preseidential election, the media is far less inclined to call an election early based on exit polls. Nevertheless, at this point in the night, people are still checking exit polls to see who has won in the east. I just wonder how much clout should be put in the exit polls, especially when fewer than 5% points set the winner apart from his, or her, opponents.

Edit: As Professor Hagen wrote, the CNN shot is real poll information. However, I think it is interesting to see the percentage reporting from Georgia. Because only 2% of districts reported, how much should we really trust these percentages? Furthermore, on Fox 29, winners were called with only 1% of districts reporting. Is the media slacking on its responsibility to its viewers and readers?

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4 Responses to “Exit Polls”

  1. Dan Pohlig Says:

    Agreed, Stephanie. Keep track of what the early exits are saying and then compare them to what the final totals are. That could be interesting.

  2. Michael Hagen Says:

    After 2000, the exit polls are fair game. But take care to distinguish between information coming from exit polls and information coming from vote counts. The figures from Georgia that Stephanie has relayed to us are partial vote counts. The television networks and the Associate Press are forecasting the outcomes of (“called”) primaries where the polls have closed on the basis of exit polls–all on the basis of the same exit polls, by the way. But you won’t see those figures reported anywhere. The only exit poll numbers that get reported are the breakdowns by demographics and other questions asked on the exit-poll questionnaires.

  3. Dan Pohlig Says:

    The exit polls I was looking at are the ones showing up on some of the blogs. Like these at TPM.

  4. Robin Kolodny Says:

    This story will be dominating world news for the next 24 hours. So, you can expect those covering these events to make a lot of news out of relatively little. Sound like any political theorists you’ve read lately???

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