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Reply #25: good questions [View All]

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jun-15-07 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #22
25. good questions
As I just got finished saying, I don't think the OP really commits to a view of what happened to rural votes. Like so many of these arguments, it seems to stop with the conclusion that the exit poll tables Don't Add Up. It's akin to other areas where people poke holes in what they take to be The Official Story, but don't seem to try to figure out what The Real Story might be.

As you point out, basically the 2004 table we're discussing indicates a large 'shift' of votes from rural to urban (and especially big-city). We don't think this shift actually happened, and I've certainly seen no sign of it in the official returns that the weights are intended to match. It's interesting to try to figure out why the national weightings misfired in this way. Aspects that don't vary within precincts, and that aren't explicitly factored into the weightings, are especially volatile (and that would be true in 2000 as well). The 2004 national subsample contains 26 precincts in eight states standing in for the entire big-city vote. It appears that some of those precincts got upweighted for some other reason, throwing the urban/rural balance out of plumb -- and/or the 2000 subsample was out of plumb in the opposite direction.

I can't think of any way to work out what this particular table actually ought to say (in order to match the official returns), because election returns aren't consistently reported by municipality. We can probably work out the big-city part, but not the whole thing. It's much easier to look at the county level, and I will fiddle with that some once I get another paper 'out the door.'

I haven't thought a lot about the liberal/conservative mix in 2000 versus 2004. In fairness, I imagine the "fraud crew" would say that the apparent spike in conservatives in 2004 just proves how the exit polls were jiggered. Of course, that doesn't work very well, since even in the "early" national exits, conservatives were at 33%. Oh, but I should point out that there is a five-point drop in moderates, so the liberal/conservative balance goes from 20/29 to 21/34 (or 22/33 in the "early" version). At some point I will fill in the tenths place.

Oh, nitpick: "You'll note the NEP is identical on both CNN and MSNBC." NEP is the name of the consortium that sponsored the exits in 2004 and 2006, not a good abbreviation for the national tables. Anyway, no, I didn't realize that there were two different versions of the 2000 state tables up on the web. I can imagine where that might come in really handy in some myth-busting -- and maybe in other ways, too.
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