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Reply #39: Well, there are two issues here [View All]

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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-10-08 04:18 AM
Response to Reply #28
39. Well, there are two issues here
One concerns specificity and sensitivity.

A fraudulent election is unlikely to be accompanied by an exit poll that matches the count.
But a non-fraudulent election is quite likely to be accompanied by an exit poll that matches the count.

In other words, exit polls are sensitive to fraud (will give a "true positive) but are not specific to fraud (will also give a "false positive").

The second is that if you get a "positive" (a discrepant exit poll) one way of determining whether or not it is a "true or false positive" (i.e. whether it really indicates a fraudulent election, or whether it is a "false positive" - i.e. it has raised a flag when the count is not fraudulent) is to see whether the degree of discrepancy is correlated with advantage to the party that appears to be benefiting by the alleged fraud.

Which is what I did, and it wasn't.

Now "proving a negative" is impossible in statistics, so what I did was to estimate how small the effect would have to be to still have a high probability of showing up in my analysis. And the answer was: "small".

So I can't tell you that no fraud affected the exit poll discrepancy - it may have done. What I can tell you is that if it did, it was a sufficiently small effect that the discrepancy itself must have been largely caused by something else. And if it was largely caused by something else, there is no reason to trust it at all as an indicator of fraud.

It also means that electronic fraud is extremely unlikely to have been on a scale of millions, which is what it would have to be to have robbed Kerry of the popular vote.

But it tells us nothing about Ohio, because the number of precincts in Ohio was too small for the exit poll analysis to rule out large scale vote theft (it certainly didn't indicate it, though). So even if the exit poll discrepancy in Ohio WAS due to fraud, the exit poll sample was not large enough to give the statistical power to demonstrate it.

Short version: exit polls only have enough statistical power to give a positive indicator of fraud at national level; they will also give false positives; in 2004 a check on whether the positive was false yielded the result that it almost certainly was.

And that e-voting theft was not a major factor in Bush's popular vote win.
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