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WhoWantsToBeOccupied Donating Member (413 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-12-04 12:32 PM
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Steal votes. Discredit exit polls. Eliminate exit polls. Steal more votes.
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Steal votes. Discredit exit polls. Eliminate exit polls. Steal more votes.


by James Lavin
12 November 2004

“Exit pollsters should have to explain, in public, how they were so wrong. Since their polls, if biased or cooked, represented an attempt to use the public airwaves to reduce voter turnout, they should have to explain their errors in a very public and perhaps official forum. This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.”i
– Dick Morris, Fox News analyst and exit polling expert

With a popular insurgency raging in Vietnam, Nixon claimed the support of a “silent majority.” With a popular insurgency raging in Iraq, George W. Bush claimed a re-election “victory” with the support of millions of “silent voters”: voters who voted by the millions (according to official vote tallies) but somehow snuck past professional exit pollers without detection. These “silent voters” are elusive. They evaded professional exit pollers in 2000 too. Perhaps silent voters’ desire for secrecy likely reflects evangelical Christians’ reluctance to speak their minds.

The 2004 media pool’s exit poll closely matches the Kerry campaign’s exit poll. Both tell an unambiguous story: Kerry won the 2004 election. The media knew that the 2004 exit polls were strong enough to guarantee a Kerry victory, as Fox News analyst Dick Morris has written: “While all anchors refrained from announcing the exit-poll results, it was clear from the context of their comments that they expected Kerry to win and wondered if Bush could hold any key state.”ii When President Bush praised Karl Rove as “the architect”iii of his latest victory, Bush wasn’t exaggerating. Rove designed and constructed Bush’s 3.5 million vote “mandate.”

Exit polls told an equally unambiguous story in 2000: Al Gore won Florida and the presidency. A senior Kerry advisor says he told people on Election Night 2004, “This feels familiar. It was good news, turns to no information… which turns into bad news.”iv A Republican pollster with a client named “Jeb Bush,” (who, completely coincidentally, happens to be both Florida’s governor and President Bush’s brother), says George W. Bush’s own campaign poll “Last time a week out it was 44-45 with Gore ahead .”v Every reputable political scientist who has examined Florida’s 2000 ballots agrees Gore would have been declared the victor in Florida under any of the proposed recount formulas. But the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited a recount in a party-line vote, handing the presidency to George W. Bush (who, completely coincidentally, happens to be the son of the man who appointed some of the Supreme Court justices who voted to award Bush the presidency in 2000).

Republicans have been trashing exit polls’ reputation for four years. Before 2000, exit polls were considered virtually infallible. Since exit polls were “discredited” in 2000, Republicans have been bad-mouthing exit polls in the media. Repeated denigration of exit polls succeeded because the media now regularly apologizes for exit polls’ alleged “inaccuracy” and “unreliability.” Exit polls have long been considered extremely reliable because they are based on people who cast votes moments before. Exit polls avoid the major problems of pre-election polls by eliminating the guesswork about who should count as a “likely voter” and whether they will change their mind before marking their ballot. Consequently, exit polls are considered reliable enough to detect fraud in other countries and Dick Morris is dismissive of all the lame exuses we have heard for the exit polls’ failure in 2000, 2002, and 2004:

“The exit pollsters plead that they oversampled women and that this led to their mistakes. But the very first thing a pollster does is weight or quota for gender. Once the female vote reaches 52 percent of the sample, one either refuses additional female respondents or weights down the ones one subsequently counted. This is, dear Watson, elementary.”vi

The afternoon of Election Day 2004, exit polls spread that showed Kerry headed for a strong victory and taking both Florida and Ohio. With a 4% lead in Ohio, Kerry was virtually certain to win because the chance that the exit poll was off by 4% was miniscule. And the possibility that Kerry would lose many of the states he was winning in the exit polls was laughable. Reports indicate that the leaders of the Kerry campaign were certain they had won. CNN’s Tucker Carlson reportedly heard Paul Begala and James Carville, his Democratic Crossfire counterparts, discussing who would get which cabinet posts. And some have claimed that President Bush was informed he would lose the election. After “victory,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked whether Bush had ever felt he had lost. McClellan hedged his answer (“No. I mean, not that I recall.”vii), perhaps afraid of getting caught in a lie?

On Election Night, everyone was stunned as official vote counts poured in from battleground states that were much more favorable to Bush than exit polls had indicated. Even Fox analyst Dick Morris swore by the accuracy of exit polls:

“Exit polls are almost never wrong. So reliable are the surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries… To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.”viii

Morris repeated his claim and elaborated in an article:

“the inaccuracies of the media’s polling deserve more scrutiny and investigation. …When I worked on Vicente Fox’s campaign in Mexico, for example, I was so fearful that the governing PRI would steal the election that I had the campaign commission two U.S. firms to conduct exit polls to be released immediately after the polls closed to foreclose the possibility of finagling with the returns. When the polls announced a seven-point Fox victory, mobs thronged the streets in a joyous celebration within minutes that made fraud in the actual counting impossible. But this Tuesday, the networks did get the exit polls wrong. Not just some of them. They got all of the Bush states wrong.”ix

Morris is adamant that something nefarious underlies the discrepancy between exit polls and official tabulations. But he blames “the bogus exit polls” and “the mistaken exit polls.”x He suggests “the possibility of biased exit polling, deliberately manipulated to try to chill the Bush turnout, must be seriously considered” because “Dark minds will suspect that these polls were deliberately manipulated to dampen Bush turnout in the Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones by conveying the impression that the president’s candidacy was a lost cause.”xi Sabotaging the media pool’s exit poll strikes me as a very unlikely conspiracy. It’s unclear how Kerry could have benefited from an exit poll telling several million people, most of them strongly partisan, that Kerry had a lead.

Knowing what we know of the easily-hacked and totally unauditable vote-“counting” machinery built by unabashed Republicans (Diebold, Sequoia, ES&S, etc.) and in wide use in “counting” America’s votes, Morris’ tale is far less reasonable than the alternative: that the exit polls were correct but the vote tabulations were systematically inflated in Bush’s favor.

On November 3, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan poo-pooed exit polls: “I’m not sure that I’d put a lot of stock in the exit poll–exit polling saying this is what voters thought here and there.”xii The media was inclined to agree because the Republican spin machine’s hard work was paying big dividends. On Election Night, without an iota of research, the media instantly decreed that exit polls were wrong and official vote tallies, which showed a much rosier picture for George W. Bush, were right.

When did exit polls become so unreliable? Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie points to 2000, exactly when many of us believe the Republicans first stole a presidential election using large-scale voting fraud. Here is what Gillespie told The National Press Club this week:

“In 2000 the exit data was wrong on Election Day. In 2002, the exit returns were wrong on Election Day. And in 2004, the exit data were wrong on Election Day -- all three times, by the way, in a way that skewed against Republicans and had a dispiriting effect on Republican voters across the country.”xiii

Many well-informed politics watchers know, as one Election Day blog said after early exit polls indicated a strong Kerry win, that 2000 and 2002 cast a long shadow on exit polls: “For those journalists who dare look at these exit polls… there will be the normal amount of skepticism, and rightly so, considering that 2000 quagmire. But up until 2000, exit polls were considered almost foolproof… because, until 2000, they were. And, supposedly, exit polls have been improved since that mess.”xiv Indeed, National Public Radio, which has become more “even-handed” after four years of Bush Administration influence, assured us in late October that “TV networks are determined to avoid the mistakes of their work on Election Day 2000. New rules, new computers and new polls should make for more accurate coverage of the race.”xv

The RNC Chairman is not merely echoing Morris’ spin and framing this as a Democratic conspiracy against Republicans. He’s taking action to prevent a recurrence. Exit polls are always wrong, he claims, because Democrats seek to suppress Republican turnout. His solution?

“I would encourage the media to abandon exit surveys on Election Day and do what we do in the political profession–look at the precincts and the turnout, see who’s turning out to vote. Don’t build a model that you try to, you know, build your own thoughts into of what you expect it to be.”xvi

Exit pollers build models to sample selectively as they do because this has proven, after many decades of exit polling, the most accurate way to understand an election. So we’re supposed to trust the RNC Chairman that “who’s turning out to vote” is more reliable than asking people who they just voted for? Does Gillespie believe the entire country just fell off a giant turnip truck?

The GOP is now seeking to push “faith-based voting” beyond unauditable, easily-hackable electronic voting machines. It is now pleading its case to stop the media from carrying out any exit polls at all in the future. It’s easier to steal elections when no one’s keeping you honest.

Gillespie is now predicting an even brighter future: “Gillespie last week boldly predicted Republicans would win 30 percent of the African-American vote in 2008.”xvii Hmm. I wonder how he knows this. Never mind. You should too if you have read anything about the fraud machines many Americans are now voting on.

After the media “blew” its call on Florida in 2000 by “prematurely” and “inaccurately” awarding the state to Gore, the entire media committed to wait much longer and be much more cautious in 2004. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said Election Night, “We’ve learned a lot from 2000. We’re much more cautious this time than we were four years ago.”xviii If they had called Florida early on Nov 2, 2004, they would have declared Kerry the winner. Even White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan admits:

“the early that we were hearing, I mean, I think that most experts say don’t put too much stock in the early ones. But then when some of the later ones were coming out, we were watching–and we watched closely when the results were coming in. …you go from the early exit polls, which pointed in one direction, and then by the evening it was pointing in a different direction. …we were looking at the exit polls, like everybody else, but you don’t count on the exit polls. And it’s a good thing we didn’t.”xix

(Please note that McClellan’s answer implies that the Bush campaign’s early internal polls were no more favorable to Bush than the media pool’s exit poll.) Instead, the media waited, ignored the clear exit poll data, and “avoided” making the “wrong” call. Instead, they were able to make the “right” call after receiving “solid” numbers. Media outlets even somehow managed to muddle together official vote tallies with exit poll data to cover up how large the discrepancy was between official vote tallies and exit poll numbers. Had no one received the early exit poll data, we likely would not be discussing the possibility of election fraud right now because the final “exit poll” figures were based heavily on official vote tabulations. They were mislabeled as “exit poll” figures, but the media pool’s exit poll methodology placed increasingly great weight on “real” numbers and increasingly less weight on exit poll numbers as the night wore on.

Before the 2004 election, Republicans attempted to make it harder for exit pollers to conduct exit polls. They also helped nudge the media to consolidate its exit polling so they would need to discredit just one set of “faulty” numbers. Ironically and diabolically, after Republicans worked to make exit polling harder to carry out, they are now using their self-created reality to “explain” polls’ “failure.” If we had six separate media exit polls, all differing from the “real” vote, rather than just one media pool exit poll, the media would not be so glibly dismissing them as flawed. I’m very curious who pushed to consolidate exit polling.

If, as I am convinced, someone in the GOP is rigging elections and deciding on Election Day how many votes they need to steal, they would want to loosen the media up by first discrediting exit polling and slowing down the media from calling states on Election Day until they had added in their fraudulent votes. After several election cycles, the fraudulent votes would have repeatedly “discredited” the exit polls sufficiently that they could then push the media to eliminate all exit polling. They could blame it on, as they are now, a left-wing conspiracy to leak pro-Democratic poll numbers that supposedly (but completely falsely, according to historical data) encourage Dems to turn up in larger numbers and discourage Reps from going to the polls. Theirs is the real tinfoil hat conspiracy theory!

You must hand it to whoever’s driving the GOP “Get Out The (Fake) Vote” campaign. They’ve got a brilliant long-term plan, these Machiavellian bastards. Karl Rove was undoubtedly involved, and he made little effort to prevent Bush from keeping tabs on his efforts. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan reports: “ was in close contact with Karl throughout the night. Karl had the Old Family Dining Room set up with computers, TVs, so he was monitoring results from there, and the President was in close contact with him by phone a number of times, and he came down a couple times to the Old Family Dining Room.”xx

After stealing victory, the Republicans moved to quickly distract attention. If you steal an election, you want to prevent recounts. The Bush election team certainly was eager for an Election Night media stamp-of-approval that would fix the victory in the public’s mind and enable them to paint Kerry as a sore loser if he demanded recounts: “Rove and White House communications director Dan Bartlett desperately wanted a media announcement that the race was over.”xxi

Another element in their plan to avoid recounts was claiming a “clear” victory. They stole enough votes in enough states (including Red States) to give Dubya a popular vote “majority.” Before the 2004 election, the media spoke often about whether whoever won would win by more or less than the “margin of litigation.” We should instead be thinking in terms of the sum of the “margin of fraud” plus the margin of litigation. The Republican masterminds knew they had a “Get Out the (Fraudulent) Vote” operation that could “find” just enough “votes” to “win” a tight race… and to win with a margin sizeable enough to claim a “mandate” and prevent recounts yet close enough to minimize suspicion. After Bush’s legitimacy was questioned in 2000 after he “won” while losing the popular vote and only managing to steal the electoral vote with the Supreme Court’s help, Rove naturally would have wanted to “win” comfortably enough in 2004 to avoid recounts and quell doubt over the legitimate outcome.

Their desire to win comfortably dovetails with my theory on why Karl Rove made no effort to shield President Bush from personal knowledge of the scheme. One report claimed Bush was told on Election Day that he would lose the election. But let’s assume Bush was told only that he would not win a clear victory. Perhaps he was asked for permission to spare the nation a plunge into another contested election. Perhaps he was asked for permission to turn a “narrow victory” into a decisive victory. This is plausible, given that Bush said on Election Night, while the outcome remained very much in doubt, “I think it’s very important for it to end tonight. The world watches our great democracy function. There would be nothing better for our system for the election to be conclusively over tonight so that–I think it’s going to be–so I can go on and lead this country and bring people together, set an agenda.”xxii Bush (and GOP party hacks who run the elections in states like Ohio while broadcasting their support for Bush) may have been persuaded to push vote “counts” in Bush’s favor by an appeal that they should help the nation avoid a protracted, partisan battle for the White House. Ironically, had they allocated voting machines to precincts fairly and counted votes honestly, there would have been no fight. Kerry would have won a strong and undeniable victory. It’s also quite plausible that GOP election officials in Ohio (whom Bush inexplicably changed his travel plans to visit on the day before the election, I believe) were alerted to listen for an Election Day message from the President that “it’s very important for it to end tonight.” Those are the words Bush uttered during his strange photo op on Election Day afternoon, with the chattering class abuzz with excitement after early exit poll numbers leaked out.

Hopefully, engineering a 3.5 million vote victory for an unpopular president may have required so much vote fraud, even against an uninspiring challenger, that too many people now suspect foul play and are now investigating vote fraud. Hopefully, they were sloppy and left behind a few fingerprints, despite designing the perfect election fraud machines.

ENDNOTES

iFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

iiFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

iiiPresident George W. Bush, quoted in: UPI, “Mehlman to chair Republican National Comm.,” Washington Times, 12 November 2004, http://washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/20041111-034010... .

ivDavid Morehouse, quoted in: Maeve Reston, “Defeat more painful after victory had seemed sure,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4 November 2004, www.post-gazette.com/pg/04309/406484.stm.

vNeil Newhouse, quoted in: Peter Wallstein, “Bush, Kerry focus on Fla.,” Los Angeles Times, 1 November 2004, www.theunionleader.com/articles_showa.html?article=4639...

viFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

vii“Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan,” 3 November 2004, http://nyjtimes.com/cover/11-01-04/11-04-04/BushIsReEle... .

viiiFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: http://rottendenmark.blogspot.com /.

ixFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

xFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

xiFox News analyst Dick Morris, quoted in: “Those faulty exit polls were sabotage,” The Hill, 4 November 2004, www.thehill.com/morris/110404.aspx.

xii“Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan,” 3 November 2004, http://nyjtimes.com/cover/11-01-04/11-04-04/BushIsReEle... .

xiiiRNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, speaking at National Press Club, quoted in: Doug Halonen, TVWeek.com, www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=6674%0D, reprinted at: http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/04/11/ana04027.html .

xivWill Leitch, “The Big Black Table Election Story,” 3 November 2004, www.blacktable.com/election041103.htm.

xv“Preview: Election Night 2004,” on: “Talk of the Nation,” National Public Radio, 26 October 2004, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4127193.

xviRNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, speaking at National Press Club, quoted in: Doug Halonen, TVWeek.com, www.tvweek.com/news.cms?newsId=6674%0D, reprinted at: http://www.buzzflash.com/analysis/04/11/ana04027.html .

xviiMary Lynn F. Jones, “Pollsters: Blacks, Hispanics helped Bush,” The Hill, 10 November 2004, www.thehill.com/news/11102004/pollsters.aspx.

xviiiWolf Blitzer of CNN, quoted in: Will Leitch, “The Big Black Table Election Story,” 3 November 2004, www.blacktable.com/election041103.htm.

xix“Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan,” 3 November 2004, http://nyjtimes.com/cover/11-01-04/11-04-04/BushIsReEle... .

xx“Press Gaggle by Scott McClellan,” 3 November 2004, http://nyjtimes.com/cover/11-01-04/11-04-04/BushIsReEle... .

xxiRick Klein, “A tense night tested resolve of Bush team,” Boston Globe, 4 November 2004, www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/10095017.htm?1c...

xxiiPresident George W. Bush, Election Night, quoted in: Joseph Curl, “RNC chief tells Bush supporters victory 'close,'” Washington Times, 3 November 2004, http://washingtontimes.com/national/20041103-025145-696...
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