Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Exit Polling

I'm skeptical. The AP is reporting on some exit polling showing the Democrats surging ahead. Way ahead.

In surveys at polling places, about six in 10 voters said they disapproved of the way President Bush is handling his job, and roughly the same percentage opposed the war in Iraq. They were more inclined to vote for Democratic candidates than for Republicans.

In even larger numbers, about three-quarters of voters said scandals mattered to them in deciding how to vote, and they, too, were more likely to side with Democrats. The surveys were taken by The Associated Press and the networks.

I remember the early exit polling in the 2004 presidential election, and it showed the Democrats surging ahead. Way ahead. The only problem was that it wasn't accurate, not by a long shot. A couple factors came into play, which the AP article quoted above doesn't address.

First, the exit polls over-sampled women, who tend to vote for Democrats more than men do and who tend to vote in fewer numbers (as I recall) than men do. Today's AP report doesn't give that kind of detail. They'd like us to take their word for it that the sample was representative of the voting population.

Second, exit polling by definition doesn't take into account the absentee ballots, which have been used in greater numbers this year than ever before. And rumor has it that the absentee ballots are heavily Republican.

So don't get your knickers in a twist, good or bad, over the exit polls. The Democrats may be "winning" now, but that's only until the real votes are counted.

Some other bloggers on the exit polls: Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt (here too), Power Line, Captain's Quarters.

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