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Networks, AP cancel exit polls in 19 states

Breaking from two decades of tradition, this year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections, according to multiple people involved in the planning.

Dan Merkle, director of elections for [italic]ABC News[/italic], and a member of the consortium that runs the exit poll, confirmed the shift Thursday. The aim, he said, “is to still deliver a quality product in the most important states,” in the face of mounting survey costs.

The decision by the National Election Pool — a joint venture of the major television networks and [italic]The Associated Press[/italic] — is sure to cause some pain to election watchers across the country. (For a full list of the states that won’t have exit polls scroll to the bottom of this post.)

Voters in the excluded states will still be interviewed as part of a national exit poll, but state-level estimates of the partisan, age or racial makeups of electorates won’t be available as they have been since 1992. The lack of data may hamper election night analyses in some states, and it will almost certainly limit post-election research for years to come.

A growing number of voters casting early ballots has added to the complexity of carrying out surveys in 50 states, the District of Columbia and nationally. In more and more states it has become crucial to supplement in-person precinct polling with relatively costly telephone interviews in order to achieve representative samples.

In 2008, only 18 states included interviews with early voters, with notable absences in Indiana (24 percent of voters casting early ballots), Wisconsin (21 percent) and Virginia (14 percent), according to early voting estimates by United States Elections Project.

This year, exit pollsters are set to carry out phone polls in 15 states, about half of all states covered, and increase the sample sizes of those polls by 32 percent, according to Merkle. Moreover, the continued rise in the number of voters using cellphones also bumps up the price of phone surveys, another challenge motivating the changes for 2012.

([italic]The Washington Post[/italic] and other media organizations are subscribers to the exit poll, but not primary sponsors.)

With the inevitable, intense focus on sub-group analysis in the exit poll (e.g., percent of Hispanics voting Democratic and Republican), the consortium also made the decision to increase the number of interviews in the national poll by bumping up the number of randomly selected sampling precincts from 300 in 2008 to 350 this year.

Slicing the number of state surveys for more representative surveys may be a reasonable trade-off — but it will hit hard.

Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Comparing this list with the election map, reveals how carefully the exit poll planners allocated resources. All 19 of the states with no exit polls are classified as either “solid Obama” or “solid Romney,” and there is only one “toss-up” gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race not on the list: the competitive North Dakota match-up of Heidi Heitkamp and Rick Berg.

Two other contests in the “leaning” Democratic category aren’t on the list: the U.S. Senate race in Hawaii and the governor’s race in West Virginia.

by Anonymousreply 2111/05/2012

Exit polls were reliable until computer touch screen voting made the officially declared results significantly different than what the voters intended them to be.

by Anonymousreply 110/05/2012

Sounds like the repuke fix is in for the states where the exit polls won't be conducted.

by Anonymousreply 210/05/2012

None of the states are even close to being blue this year, r2. Why waste your time on KY and WV? Do you care what they think or vote. They don't have enough electoral votes or genetic diversity to really matter.

by Anonymousreply 310/05/2012

New Hampshire doesn't have much genetic diversity, R3, but Al Gore could have handed George Bush all of mighty Florida and still won the White House if he had tried just a little harder to win hearts and minds in tiny little New Hampshire.

by Anonymousreply 410/05/2012

It has never made sense to conduct exit polls in Alaska, but this year even less: the polls close at midnight Eastern time, and there are no other significant decisions on the ballot this year (no senate race, no governor's race, no genuinely contested congressional race, nothing of national interest on the ballot.)

The 2014 midterms will be a different story.

by Anonymousreply 510/05/2012

The majority have already voted, or are going to vote pre-election day. There's no way to conduct exit polls anymore and get a clear result. They have to cancel these, unless you want a poll that's meaningless. Not cancelling these would have people screaming fraud because they don't match up to the outcome. It's impossible to even know who the hell voted already, and where the current polls stood at the time. It's just impossible.

by Anonymousreply 610/05/2012

Arent exit polls used to call the election on election night? Does this mean the results of the election will be delayed by a few days? Sounds like a ploy by the networks to cash in on ratings.

by Anonymousreply 710/12/2012


by Anonymousreply 811/05/2012

Exit polls don't take into account early voters.

by Anonymousreply 911/05/2012

r6 you are a cunning disinformationist.

Until 2004, exit polls were a very reliable indicator. Unbelievably reliable. PhDs were written on how reliable they were, because they are based on pretty iron-clad laws of statistical sampling. So it was always an accurate way for the news outlets to gauge what was happening, before the official tallies came in.

But then in 2004 something very, very unusual happened. The exit polls gave Kerry the win, but Bush got the vote count. Given this discrepancy one of these scenarios *had* to have happened:

1) People who voted for Kerry had their votes tabulated for Bush instead, for some strange mysterious reason.

2) People voted for Kerry but told the pollsters they voted for Bush.

Now is scenario #2 really plausible?

Connect the dots.

by Anonymousreply 1011/05/2012

r10 so this is either orchestrated by the media to draw out the waiting period for results, or a cover up by Republicans? Or both.

by Anonymousreply 1111/05/2012

All I'm saying is that where exit polls are egregiously wrong, there should be recounts. But you can't do a recount without a paper trail.

by Anonymousreply 1211/05/2012

Voters lie in Exit Polls to screw the media.

by Anonymousreply 1311/05/2012

I know things, but I've been threatened with a one-way trip to the glue factory.

by Anonymousreply 1411/05/2012

R10/R12 is absolutely right.

by Anonymousreply 1511/05/2012

No they don't, r13, which is exactly the point. Nobody who voted for Kerry would have wanted to give Bush credit. There's no advantage in lying in exit polls. It doesn't 'screw the media'. It screws the person you *actually* voted for.

Which is why people do not do it. And exit polls don't lie.

by Anonymousreply 1611/05/2012

st so long as they have them in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin and a few others.

by Anonymousreply 1711/05/2012

r10, Dems vote early more than Rep. How do your exit polls account for early voters?

by Anonymousreply 1811/05/2012

They're not 'my' exit polls r18.

It's pretty simple to adjust exit poll totals by % of people who pre-voted.

And how do you know that Democrats vote earlier than Republicans? Is that an argument against exit polling?

My point is that in the absence of verifiable national elections, exit polls are the best barometer we know of to indicate vote-counting irregularities.

by Anonymousreply 1911/05/2012

Here is link showing Dems are handily winning the 'early' vote. Meaning they are more likely to vote early, hence be underepresented in exit polls.

by Anonymousreply 2011/05/2012

Makes sense as only Florida, Ohio and to a lesser degree Virginia matter.

And even then Obama already has a solid 270 going into the race, so he won't lose.

If I was the boss at AP, I would say, why have any when you know Obama will win.

You could save even more money.

by Anonymousreply 2111/05/2012
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