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Reply #9: I'm still waiting for an clarification [View All]

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 08:09 AM
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9. I'm still waiting for an clarification
of whether I am supposed to take such arguments seriously, or whether they are just intended to rally the troops, and I should leave well enough alone.

As it stands, the post pretty much refutes itself: "...let's assume that ALL Final National Exit Poll (13660 respondents) statistics are correct." Obviously you aren't assuming that, since you are seeking to refute the statistic that says that Bush won. (And of course you and I agree that E/M had to reweight the responses in order to obtain that result.)

So the reader is left with the riddle of figuring out which statistics you are accepting, and which not. I haven't figured it out yet.

You stipulate (for purposes of argument) that 48.7 million Bush 2000 voters turned out again in 2004.

You stipulate that 37% of 2004 voters were Gore 2000 voters. Using the figure of 122.26 million presidential votes in 2004, that's 45.24 million Gore 2000 voters.

You stipulate, I guess, that voters who didn't vote in 2000 (new voters plus lapsed voters?) were 17% of the electorate and that they split for Kerry 54-45. And I guess you also stipulate that the 3% who reported "other" for 2000 vote split for Kerry 71-21. (These numbers from the final weighted national results.)

And I guess you stipulate that the Gore 2000 voters split 90-10 for Kerry, and the Bush 2000 voters split 91-9 for Bush, as in the final weighted results.

So, we have, in millions:

48.7 Bush 2000 voters: 44.32 Bush, 4.38 Kerry
45.2 Gore 2000 voters: 4.52 Bush, 40.71 Kerry
20.78 did not vote 2000: 9.35 Bush, 11.22 Kerry
3.67 voted "other" 2000: 0.77 Bush, 2.60 Kerry

Totals: 58.96 Bush, 58.92 Kerry (K picks up an extra 0.01 from rounding error).

Why these figures don't agree with yours, I cannot tell.

Now, why don't those numbers agree with the official result that Bush won by about 3 million votes? Have you used E/M's assumptions to refute the official results? Assuming that E/M's pocket calculators work, we can safely infer that you are making some other assumption contrary to E/M's. And that assumption, of course, is in the number of people you are putting in the "Bush 2000" category. The exit poll puts 43% of voters in that category. 43% of 122.26 would be 52.57 Bush 2000 voters instead of 48.7 -- and those extra 3.87 million voters, breaking 91/9 for Bush, net him over 3 million votes in margin. Of course this exercise doesn't prove anything, except that the exit poll results are weighted to the official returns, which we knew in the first place.

So we are back to the argument about the 43%/37% recalled vote.

You can always twiddle assumptions, turn cranks, and generate as many "scenarios" as you like, but you can't refute the weighted poll while accepting its assumptions, unless there is an actual calculation error. It is considered good form to specify which assumptions you are challenging and why.

The 43/37 debate was worth having, and might even be worth having again. But burying that debate in a pile of "scenarios" does not seem useful to me. Except perhaps, again, as a means of rallying the troops.
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