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As U.S. voters focus on getting out to vote and checking to see if their candidate won, more attention will be paid to exit poll results in the 2008 election.


Late yesterday afternoon the McCain campaign issued a memo, actually a cautionary word about prejudging the exit poll results. The memo suggested that in 2004 the exit poll results were misinterpreted by the media, thus causing some U.S. Voters to stay at home and not cast their vote.



The memo went on to further state that the exit polls overstated the Democratic candidate's support, therefore more Republican voters were more encouraged to cast their vote for the win. Basically, this should be a message to all, do not let any early reports from the media that may leak out to influence your vote. Take nothing for granted, and do not focus on the exit poll results of this 2008 election.



Here are some things to remember about exit poll data and the U.S. Voting stats that are leaked early:


As a rule, exit polls lean toward the Democratic vote for some strange reason. Thus causing registered, eligible U.S. Voters to focus on their televisions and radios instead of actually going to the polls to vote.

Meaning, the exit polls may give Obama the edge, when the actual tabulation and accurate counting of the votes have not been done.


Unfortunately that also has translated into a Democratic skew in past elections where there was a high voter turnout, like in 1992 and 2004. U.S. Voters are very engaged in the 2008 election, and therefore there will be a natural tendency to watch the early returns. It's important to keep in mind that those conducting the exit polls will poll voters who have a resemblance to their own demographic. Remember John Kerry in 2004? The exit polls focused heavily on Democratic voters and showed Kerry over performing by 5.5 net points better than the actual results showed. The National Election Pool concluded that Democrats are more likely to participate in exit polls during U.S. Elections.



Recently, Fox News conducted a survey asking U.S. Voters how very likely they were to participate in exit polls in the 2008 election and 46% of Barack Obama supporters said they would, while 35% of John McCain supporters were. So, whatever numbers are presented by the media today in regards to exit polls, may be heavily focused or skewed toward the Democratic vote.


"Exit polling is a very valuable tool for understanding what people were thinking about as they voted," said Michael Oreskes, managing editor for U.S. news at The Associated Press. "I think as a tool to actually gauge how things are going to turn out, we're likely to be very cautious about it."


In light of this report, the networks will be focusing on true results. They will attempt to play fair and follow strict rules in projecting early 2008 election exit polling results. NBC has already said they will only provide exit polling results once their statisticians have concluded that the error margin is less than 1 in 200. Stating further that no early election results will be released until all the polls have closed in a particular state.




Exit polls are really designed to give a picture, a snapshot of voters, not to predict the winner of a presidential race. Focusing on the early data and stats of voting trends can be very misleading and dangerous. U.S. Voters should not allow exit poll information influence their vote; instead realize that these samples are not an accurate of the voting electorate. Today, the media will be attempting to put a lid on the leaks that have been attributed to them in the past when it comes to focusing on exit polls in the 2008 U.S. Election.



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1 comments

John Sullivan said... @ November 4, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Well great post
and win or loose we did get to watch an amazing man run an awesome campaign with style and class,try not to stress to much today
Don't worry it's a LOCK
see you at the winner's circle :)

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