November 9, 2004


Election Day: Rigged Polls, Rigged Networks (Nicholas Stix, November 9, 2004, Men's News Daily)

So far, two possible and two baseless explanations, respectively, have been offered for the exit poll/real poll discrepancy: 1. The exit pollsters fudged their numbers, to make it look like Kerry was beating Bush, so as to discourage Bush supporters who had not yet voted from going to the polls, and bringing about a self-fulfilling prophecy (my theory); 2. According to the American Spectator’s “Prowler,” the phony exit poll numbers were not from the exit pollsters at all, but were counterfeits that had been packaged by the Kerry campaign to fool “everybody” (on the Left), and then spread via leftwing bloggers and Web sites; 3. Democrat talking point: “Mean” Republican voters skewed the exit poll results, by refusing to speak to pollsters; and 4. Kerry supporters (including an e-mail one of them sent to me, and which sounds like something out of’s conspiracy factory) insist that the exit poll numbers were the real deal, and were only countered through massive, Republican election fraud.

Actually, there were two different sets of bad exit poll numbers: phony and phonier. The phony numbers came from Joe Lenski’s “legitimate, professional” exit poll, while the phonier ones came from a Democrat hoax.

As Dennis Simon observed, the exit polls used to work just fine. And as John Zogby rued, the 2004 numbers were “terrible.”

As the Times’ Jim Rutenberg reported on November 5,

“The new system was engineered to avoid such problems. It was built by the National Election Pool, a consortium of the major television networks and The Associated Press, after an earlier set-up, the Voter News Service, helped lead the networks to call the state of Florida in the 2000 election first for Al Gore, then for George W. Bush, then for neither. The system broke down almost entirely on Election Day 2002.”

Let’s see. When Bill Clinton was winning national elections during the 1990s, there were no problems with the exit polls. But once Republicans started winning one election after another, the exit polls, old and new, either produced worthless numbers or crashed altogether, as the VNS did in 2002. I’m sure that’s all just a big coincidence.

For the “phonier” numbers explanation, consider the report by “Prowler” at The American Spectator.

“According to at least three sources, one inside the Kerry campaign, and two outside of it, but with ties to senior Kerry advisers, some of the ‘early polling numbers’ were in fact direct reports from Kerry campaign or Democratic Party operatives on the ground in such critical states as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to a Washington lobbyist with knowledge of the numbers, the numbers were packaged together so as to appear to be exit poll results. They were then scrubbed through several sources to land in the lap of sympathetic bloggers who these operatives believed would put the numbers up with little question.

The exit poll numbers actually looked pretty good for the President once you realized the gender discrepancy.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2004 11:58 AM

Further to one theory -- I was a "mean" Republican voter who didn't respond to an exit poller at my location. After a 50 minute wait to vote, I had to get to that little thing called a job. Maybe the less "mean" Dem voters are unemployed. :)

Posted by: kevin whited at November 9, 2004 12:50 PM

The same people obsessed with five-point discrepencies between exits and actual had no problem with the 36-point discrepencies all across Venezuela recently.

Posted by: JimGooding at November 9, 2004 12:55 PM

In 2000, the national vote and the Florida vote were uncallable. Both were within the margin of error, within which it's not even sensible to ask who "really" won.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 9, 2004 12:56 PM

The same people obsessed with five-point discrepencies between exits and actual had no problem with the 36-point discrepencies all across Venezuela recently.

And all those screaming "BUSH STOLE THE ELECTION! BUSH STLE THE ELECTION!" for the past four years took the contemporary Iraqi election results (well over 100% turnout, every single vote for Baba Saddam) completely at face value.

Posted by: Ken at November 9, 2004 1:08 PM

This is all really funny if you recall how Daily Kos-reading democrats "freeped" the on-line polls following the three debates.

Watching them (and everyone in the MSM) get whipsawed by the exit polls was one of the best things about election day.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at November 9, 2004 1:55 PM

re: Venezuela

And they had no problem with the use of electonic touch screens in Venezuela, either.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 9, 2004 1:58 PM

To Ken: By Contemporary, I guess you mean "Contemporaneous". And no one took the Iraqi election seriously.

To Kevin: The English use a term "Shy Tory". That is, a Tory who won't admit he's a Tory for fear of the usual reaction. I'm a shy conservative, and I bet there are many others. I've been verbally attacked just for saying reducing taxes is always a good idea.

Has no one noticed that the exit polls have a lot in common with the usual surveys -- ones that show, eg, that people who watch FOX accept statements that are easily disproven, or that 60% of all Americans believe that Sadam was directly involved with 9/11, or that conservatives share traits in common with fascists? These are fake surveys, I bet. They exist only to supply ammunition to liberals.

Posted by: Dom at November 9, 2004 2:02 PM

Leftists are convinced that conservatives are simply conformists. (After all, nobody could possibly believe that nonsense.) So... they came up with fake exit polls designed to provide something for conservatives to conform to.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at November 9, 2004 5:58 PM