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Reply #64: it is a pleasure to converse with you [View All]

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OnTheOtherHand Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-17-05 08:31 PM
Response to Reply #59
64. it is a pleasure to converse with you
I only hope that you will try to interpret the arguments I (and others here) am actually attempting to make, some of which seem distinguishable from the arguments you seem to address.

I am not calling for scientific proof of anything. (I do call for proof as a condition of claiming to have proved something, but that doesn't seem so unreasonable to me.) I am not a practitioner of tobacco science.

I am not suggesting that exit polls are radically unreliable and meaningless. We know that exit polls 'usually' do 'pretty well.' A view that has somehow taken hold in certain quarters, despite abundant knowledge to the contrary, is that exit polls are almost always supremely accurate. Some seem to think that nominal margin-of-error calculations are binding upon the universe (what was the nominal margin of error of the 1936 Literary Digest poll, I wonder?). And some may believe, or argue as if they believe, that known sources and patterns of error in polling data can or should be discounted, at least if they undermine The Cause. I have no patience for that.

Very few -- I am tempted to say vanishingly few -- people with knowledge of survey methodology believe that the exit polls establish a preponderance of evidence that Bush won the popular vote. Some of us are on DU and voice this skepticism. (We are of some range of opinion on whether there is an overall preponderance of evidence.)

That does not mean that we argue that everyone should just ignore the exit polls, or that everyone should just ignore other evidence of fraud, or that everyone should ignore the glaring holes in the system because we cannot be certain that they were exploited in any particular year. On the contrary, we investigate fraud, and we call for election reform. I must confess that the repeated claims that I am out to obstruct the investigation really tick me off. One of us was at JSM last week talking about the possibility of stolen elections and calling for reform, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't TIA.

If you or anyone else can explain to me how having Mitofsky release more data would materially advance the investigation of fraud in 2004, I would be pleased to know. If I'm not mistaken, in San Diego some folks recently conducted what we might think of as an "open-source exit poll," and it seems to me that the only advantage that accrues from that complete access is that they know the exact precincts that were surveyed. By analogy, conceivably the raw exit poll data would give us some ideas about which precincts to obtain a full recount in. But I think we already have plenty of such ideas. I am perplexed and troubled by the apparently widespread conviction that Mitofsky believes he has in his possession information that could save democracy, and/or that full release of the data would provide some huge advance in our ability to assess fraud. If the latter, at least, is true, someone should explain it. I don't know whether anyone on DU (including me) has taken the time to do a close assessment of the Election Science Institute's analysis of "blurred" Ohio exit poll data. I would love a thoughtful assessment of whether it is worthwhile to obtain similar data from other states, or -- well, I appreciate thoughtful assessments of almost anything.
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