Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote!

Well, election day is here. No matter what happens, we can at least be relieved that the political ads and phone calls are over, right?

Seriously, though, I hope you all have or will get out and vote. Don't be discouraged by polls that count out one candidate or try to make you think your vote won't matter.

When you're watching the returns tonight on TV, keep in mind that most of the news organizations will use exit polls to call states for one candidate even if hardly any votes are counted (and, in my opinion, they will be more likely to make premature calls for Obama since they are doing everything they can to drag him over the finish line). Since that is the case, this is important news:

Rasmussen asked voters how likely they were to answer exit pollster's questions. The results indicate more willingness on the part of Democrats to talk to the pollsters.

Reviewing Fox News/Rasmussen Reports data from key battleground states raises a couple red flags about the use of early exit polling data to predict a winner. Understanding this data from polling conducted last Sunday night may save some a repeat of 2004’s heartache.

The bottom line is that in every state we polled--Colorado, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia-- Democrats are a lot more eager to take exit polls than Republicans.

In five of the six states, a majority of Democrats say they would be Very Likely to participate in the exit polling process. At the same time, in five of the six states, fewer than 40% of Republicans would be willing to do the same.

In every state, Republicans are at least twice as likely as Democrats to say that they are not at all willing to take an exit poll.

Unaffiliated voters tend to align more closely to Republicans in all six states in both willingness and unwillingness to participate in exit polls.

This is even more important for west coast readers--don't let early returns in the east keep you away from the polls. You need to go vote for state and local issues, even if the presidential race seems like it might already be decided. And given that the exit polls are pretty suspect, you shouldn't assume the presidential race is already decided just because the news organizations said so.

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