Midterms: Doubting The Exit Polls

By Brian 

Last night, the exit poll numbers “seemed so skewed toward the Democrats” that the networks “simply did not trust them,” Bill Carter writes in the NYT.

This wasn’t the first time. In 2004, Warren Mitofsky “found that the biggest discrepancies between actual precinct votes and the exit pollsters’ results occurred in precincts where the exit poll personnel were female graduate students,” FNC analyst Michael Barone writes on USNews.com. Edison/Mitofsky Research tried to hire fewer young women as exit poll interviewers this year. But the data was still skewed.

Barone says the problem is “eminently solvable, but only at enormous cost.” He writes: “If EMR brought together all its interviewers on airline flights for centralized training, if it paid much higher fees for their work, etc. But would EMR’s clients — ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC — pay something like five to 10 times the amount for their services (which is what it would require to take these steps)? Doubtful. So we must recognize that the exit poll is an imperfect instrument and use it for such insights as it can reasonably be expected to deliver and ignore it otherwise.”