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View Diary: The exit poll reduction: Penny wise and pound foolish? (121 comments)

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    In states that have lots of (or only) vote by mail, they can do telephone surveys to supplement or replace the in-person exit polls.

    Are some states cheaper to exit poll than others?  Or how does exit polling work.  If 1 pollster is expected to move around to different polling sites throughout the day than you'd want several fairly close polling stations with decent volume.
    They designate a certain number of precincts (which varies by state) and station interviewers at those precincts pretty much all day long. Probably the main determinant of the cost is how many precincts they select, although I suppose there are variations in what they have to pay.
    Are some state's voters less willing to talk to exit pollsters?
    Yes, but not to the extent that it would affect the cost. In most precincts they aren't trying to interview every voter anyway.
    If so then there is less value in polling those states perhaps if the results haven't been reliable in the past.
    At a glance, I don't think the results have been especially unreliable in these states. But they tend to be small, which reduces their precision.
    How fast are official results generally reported in various states, and how does that match up with the list?  I mentioned Oregon above which is notoriously slow reporting results so that might be a good reason to try to keep it.
    That's a really interesting idea. I doubt it's a major factor, but I don't know.
     I think they've become reticent to call states within 5% based on exit polls so do they really use the exit polls to call races?  The ones they do seem to be the ones they could call before anyone starts voting.
    Yeah, basically they've used the exit poll as a sanity check in those runaway contests. (I've heard that there will still be some "sanity check" polling in these 19 states, but I don't really know at this point.) In other states, they typically use a combination of exit poll results, quick counts from selected precincts (including the exit poll precincts), and whatever other vote counts become available.

    For instance, if the exit poll results show someone winning by more than a few points, and the quick count results from the exit poll precincts indicate that the margin is even larger than that, they may be able to call a state sooner than if they waited for results to trickle in from hither and yon. Of course, that's basically what they tried in Florida in 2000, and it didn't work out so well. They are more careful now.

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    Better Know Your Voting System with the Verifier!

    by HudsonValleyMark on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 03:44:55 PM PDT

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