Urge Media To Archive All Exit Poll Results
This is an excellent idea. Please visit TrueVote.us to urge the National Election Pool -- ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press -- to archive and release the unadjusted exit polls for the upcoming election.
In the past few election cycles, news organizations have refused to release the raw, unadjusted exit poll numbers. Instead, they have adjusted the exit poll numbers to reflect the announced election results. In 2004, the Washington Post reported that, "After the survey [exit poll] is completed and the votes are counted, the exit poll results are adjusted to reflect the actual vote..."
And this year will be no exception. Variety reports that "network execs" will "make adjustments for skewed sampling of respondents as they leave the polling booth."
It's important to verify the announced election results to the greatest degree possible. It's not easy, because our elections are, in fact, unverifiable. We can't verify the vote counts on the unverifiable touchscreen voting machines or the equally unverifiable ballot scanning machines, but there are methods to get at least some degree of verification, and exit polls are an important part of that effort. But if "network execs" and others in the corporate-controlled media adjust the exit poll numbers to reflect announced election results, the exit polls become useless.
Please take action by urging the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.
From the TrueVote.us press release:
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct all exit polling in 2008 for the National Election Pool, comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Exit polls will involve polling more than 100,000 actual voters, remove sources of polling error and can be extremely accurate. In 2004 John Kerry was showing a 7 point lead in the unadjusted exit polls, but then on election night the computers were down for several hours and when they came back on-line a flip had occurred and Bush now narrowly led. This was not because of a change in the actual polling but because the exit polls had been "adjusted," i.e. "corrected" so as to conform to the vote count assuming that count was correct. Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote.
Voters should be provided with the unadjusted exit polls and if adjustments are made to the final polls they should be explained publicly. Major media outlets are urged to archive all of the interim exit poll results to allow independent analysis later. Election integrity advocates must push for greater transparency since large-sample exit polls can and should be used be used to audit vote totals.
When the U.S. government audits the vote in a foreign country, the tool of choice is always a large-sample exit poll, which will identify problems in the vote totals. Yet, in the United States, even with the documented problems we have had in voting , our own government does not use the best tool available.
News and political divisions of the major networks must plan to archive all of the preliminary exit poll results since the overall survey will quickly be adjusted by the vendor to match the published vote totals, and will thus no longer be useful as an audit of the integrity of the vote totals.