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View Diary: The Dummy's Guide to EXIT polls (48 comments)

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  •  Re: Also (none)
    "There is no reason under the sun not to be able to get extremely accurate election predictions from exit polling, with the exception, perhaps, of cost."

    There is no reason not to build a retractable dome over Minneapolis for use during the winter except for cost.

    ---

    And even if we had some kind of perfect exit poll that you fantasize over, it's still going to have a MOE that will render it useless for detecting fraud in an election as close as this one.

    "If the pollster makes this assertion (that he needs votes to be sure of his prediction in something closer than 5%), then he is either: incompetent, lying, or being very cheap."

    You fundamentally misunderstand the issue here.  It's not that the exit poll is so lousy that he needs the actual returns to be sure.

    It's that the survey is reliant on actual returns by design.

    I fail to see how this is so difficult to get your mind around.

    "Again, either the polling firms employed by the media are so incompetent that they should be run out of business, or our vote tallying system is very screwed up."

    No, it's neither of the alternatives you propose.

    The pollster is conducting his survery exactly as his client, the networks, have requested.  Doing it this way serves the clients' needs quite well.

    If you'd like a survery conducted for different purposes, I'm sure there are many pollsters out there you could hire.

    •  Yup, (none)
      Somebody is fundamentally misunderstanding the issue here, and I don't think it is me.

      You fundamentally misunderstand the issue here.  It's not that the exit poll is so lousy that he needs the actual returns to be sure.

      It's that the survey is reliant on actual returns by design.

      There is no good reason to design a poll this way.  Indeed, once he starts "correcting" his data, it is not clear that what he is doing is even valid.  The company does not and will not publish it's methods:  to be completely honest, I don't believe them when they say they design the poll to use vote tallies.  I say they are full of shit.  And they are unwilling to say what they are doing -- it is black magic, for all we know.

      On the MOE: totally wrong.  With a large enough sample size, it is possible to get the MOE down to very small sizes (easily under a 1%).  BYU does this every election.  MOE is not an issue except in super close states, like FL.  It is not an issue this election.  Most of the states that had odd shifts from Kerry to Bush show change outside of MOE.

      --

      Timothy Klein

      by teece on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 01:58:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: Yup, (none)
        "There is no good reason to design a poll this way.  Indeed, once he starts "correcting" his data, it is not clear that what he is doing is even valid."

        He is not "correcting" his data.

        All pollsters do some form of weighting with their data.  The genius of the Mitofsky methodology is that it uses actual election returns to do the weighting.

        And if you want to argue that this weighting makes the Mitofsky survey not "valid" for detecting fraud or irregularities in a reasonably close election, you'd finally have said something that wasn't utterly inane.

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