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An Ongoing E-mail Arguement with Mitofsky [View All]

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truehawk Donating Member (797 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-26-04 02:37 PM
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An Ongoing E-mail Arguement with Mitofsky
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ClintCooper2003 (2 posts) Fri Nov-26-04 01:35 PM
Response to Original message

38. My ongoing debate with Mitofsky. READ IT!

Can someone please make this a main post. I actually used to write on this blog under a different screen name, so I'm actually not "new" to posting stuff. Anyway, here is the first email I sent to Mitofsky (the exit pollster who worked for the main networks on election night), on Nov. 24, 2004:

"I was just wondering something. Those late afternoon exit polls that were weighted by gender, party ID, age, and race, and placed ALL OVER the website with charts and graphs of every conceivable type for every single state in this country - are you trying to tell us that THOSE EXIT POLLS were the same ones that were casually leaked earlier in the day?

Is that the shit you're shoveling on us now?"

Here is his reply, from Nov. 25, 2004:

"There were no exit polls weighted by gender, party ID, age or race. That is not part of the exit poll weighting. Second, the exit polls on the web were not released by us. They were leaked by people I don't know, the numbers they leaked were wrong, and I have no responsibility for bad information I did not put out. All the numbers I released were after the polls closed. All the projections were correct. If you think that is shit you can eat it, for all I care."

Here is my reply to that, from Nov. 25, 2004:

"I'm not talking about the numbers put "on the web." I'm talking about the numbers put on that were there until PAST MIDNIGHT on election night. Are you suggesting that some hackers got a hold of and put the numbers favorable to Kerry there and you didn't do anything about it for SIX HOURS!

That seems completely incredible to believe. Additionally, the numbers on didn't appear for each state until directly after the polls had closed. And yes, I'm sorry, but I distinctly remember the percentages of voters that were Democrat, Republican, Female, Male, etc... and they clearly had been weighted at least to the extent that they represented the general voting population in each state.

If what you say is correct about's figures, then there definitely would have been an uproar at CNN and Wolf Blitzer would have come out strongly against the web numbers IMMEDIATELY saying that those numbers couldn't be trusted.

I smell a rat."

And here is his response, where he sort of changes his tune a little, from Nov. 26, 2004:

"I am sure cnn posted numbers we released. How old the numbers were when you saw them is something I do not know. Furthermore, the numbers you are describing are not the estimates we used to make projections. The projection numbers do not come from tabulations of the vote by age, sex or anything else."

So now he's admitting they're HIS numbers. Here is my response to him, from Nov. 26, 2004:

"What would the point be in posting numbers very late in the day that would be useless in creating projections and leaving them there past midnight, when it would already be clear who the winner was in each state? You must at least admit that waiting to recalibrate the data until long after it became clear who the winner was creates the appearance of fixing the exit polls to match the results.

Additionally, however, I think you should look at the following data I was able to grab from election night:

In the original Ohio exit poll, among White Men (40% of survey), Bush gets 53% and Kerry gets 47%. Among White Women (45% of survey), Bush gets 53% and Kerry gets 47%. So among these subgroups, the percentages are the same.

Now, on the corrected data, suddenly we find that among White Men (still 40% of survey), Bush gets 56% to Kerry's 43%. And among White Women (now 46% of survey), Bush gets 55% to Kerry's 45%.

Thus, the proportions of White Men and White Women are almost exactly the same in both the afternoon release and the subsequent "correction" of figures

Additionally, I distinctly remember that the sample size remained almost precisely the same from the first set of figures to the second.

Your response may be that the very last people who voted on election day in Ohio tended to be Bush voters and that the mid to late-afternoon figures were skewed in Kerry's favor, but there really would have had to have been a huge shift to Bush right towards the end to overcome Kerry's strong early lead in Ohio.

Also, this is simply provably false in any case. Nearly all of the polling stations that still had long lines at the end of the day were in Democratic precincts, meaning at the very end of the voting time-frame, there would have been a shift towards Kerry anyway.

Now, in your response to me, you said "how old the numbers were when you saw them I do not know..." Did they leave you out of the loop as to what numbers they were using? If so, I don't understand why you weren't more actively involved.

Another important thing I want to make clear is this: I followed for a long time on election night and I noticed that did not even put up the exit poll figures until the polls had closed for that particular state. Therefore, the numbers that were used this year, by default, must have been numbers that came from later in the day than in the Election 2000.

I went back and looked at some of the "raw" numbers from Election 2000. What I noticed was that the "uncalibrated" data from 2000 (which, by the way, was released a bit earlier in the day than this year) was simply far more accurate. In fact, among the battleground states only Wisconsin was off by more than 5%.

Let me ask you something: Have exit polling techniques changed radically over the last few years or has the way we count the votes changed radically over the last few years?"

I'm awaiting a response and will post it immediately when it arrives.

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