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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-09-08 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #22
109. Sigh
The raw data were released. They always are. They were even free online for a year. I downloaded them myself.

What wasn't released were the precinct vote totals, because that would have meant the precincts could have been identified, and thus compromised the confidentiality of the respondents. However, "blurred" totals were released for Ohio, and more could have been commissioned. But weren't. The most likely reason being that it was pretty apparent from the Ohio data set that they weren't very informative.

However, as you know, I had access to the unblurred numbers, because I reanalysed them for Mitofsky. And my most important finding was released into the public domain by Mitofsky himself. This was the finding that the precinct level discrepancy was completely uncorrelated with advantage to Bush. It is extremely difficult to see how this could possibly be consistent with widespread electronic fraud.

And at precinct level, the data is far too noisy to tell you whether any one precinct was fraudulent. It only makes sense if you analyse a large number of precincts (and there are only tens of precincts polled in each state - Ohio was worth looking at because there were a relatively large number: 50. Still a tiny number for useful statistics.

Gary, exit polls are simply a very poor way of checking on the vote count. They don't tell you what you want to know. They have sensitivity but no specificity. They are unlikely to match the count if the count is fraudulent, but they are perfectly capable of not matching the count even it the count is correct. They are likely to be particularly misleading in an election conducted in an atmosphere of distrust.

What is required is diligent oversight, and you can do this, this time, even where audits aren't mandatory. Make sure the precinct totals, where available, match the county tabulations, and if not, find out why not. Be observers at precincts. Debrief voters leaving the precinct on any troubles they might have had. Collect data, including anecdotes (data may not be the plural of anecdote, but many anecdotes amount to data).

But exit polls are not what you want here. Tests that give false positives are as useless as tests that give false negatives.
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