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Now this again: exit polling is impertinent and irrelevant! [View All]

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ngant17 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-03-08 11:09 PM
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Now this again: exit polling is impertinent and irrelevant!
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Edited on Fri Oct-03-08 11:19 PM by ngant17
AP just floated a news story for 03 Oct 2008:
<http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081003/ap_en_ot/tv_exit_po... >

The whole slant sounds rather sinister or foreboding if you ask me.

Nowhere in the story does it imply or suggest that exit polling was designed as a type of statistical quality control in the vote-counting process. This is how I understand exit polling was developed originally. And this is how I understand it is used across the world today.

Exit polling has been supported by professional statisticians so it's not psuedo-science as the article implies.

The story trys to dwells on subjective or personalized factors which it is claimed will bias the results of the entire population of surveyed voters. Here's a typical quote:

"In general, Republicans tend to be less enthusiastic than Democrats about taking exit polls."

IOW this is not just a silly way of dismissing exit polling, this statement actually seems to be saying that Republicans care less than the Democrats about the overall integrity of the democratic process and the integrity of the election system itself. Which could be true, I suppose.

According to what the article is suggesing, it is scientifically impossible to take independent, random samples from a population set.

So now that the AP press has come up with some ridiculous reasons to dismiss exit polling, how do they propose to have a clean election for 2008?

Really, whether you are manufacturing widgets in an industrial factory, or counting votes in an election office, you have to use some kind of statistical process control (SPC) to insure integrity in a given process. Exit polling is the best tool that's been invented to keep out defective hardware, intentional deception or fraudulent vote-counting. How can anyone assume that a properly designed exit poll will always introduce bias?

To dismiss this type of SPC when it's actually needed more than ever, this is not an example of bad reporting but I believe it goes deeper than that, it's a deliberate attempt to destroy our democracy itself.
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