Saturday, June 9, 2012

What is the purpose of an exit poll? Was this data abused to mislead?

By VOICES Publisher, Bill Breitsprecher
Let's be clear:  We are NOT proclaiming we know the actual outcome of Wisconsin's historic recall election, a citizen's uprising to bring down Governor Scott Walker.  We are pointing out problems with official results which the public cannot resolve because the vote count is totally unverifiable.  This is compounded by the fact that exit polls were abused to justify contradictory data between people's direct statements a few minutes after voting and the tallies that rolled out of unverifiable "black box" voting machines.

Even worse, the corrupted "adjusted" data from exit polls was used to predict the winner - absolutely NOT the purpose of this information.  Oh - and did we mention some "free" machines were given to certain municipalities and were not only used for the first time, but they delivered wider vote margins for Scott Walker than in 2010.  Any of this is possible, but collectively, the situation doesn't pass the smell test.

And the only people that have access to information that would clear the air ain't talkin'!

To those following Wisconsin’s historic recall election on June 5th, it was shocking to be told all day that “exit polls” indicated the race was “too close to call” and then within 30 minutes of 8 pm, the time when people would no longer be able to come to vote unless they were already in line to do so.  The election was called while there were still long lines of voters in some communities. 

An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll asks whom the voter actually voted for. 

Those with experience and specialty training in research and statistics understand that any survey that asks people to describe their behavior needs to be carefully scrutinized, but in this case, people were asked immediately after they performed the behavior in question.  Exit polls serve 2 legitimate purposes: 
  1. Demographic Data.  These polls help identify what groups of citizens participated in the election and then find out why they voted as they did.  Votes are cast anonymously, so exit polling is the only way of collecting this information.
  2. Validity of vote totals  Exit polls have historically and throughout the world been used as a check against and rough indicator of the degree of election fraud. Some examples of this include the Venezuelan recall referendum, 2004, and the Ukrainian presidential election, 2004.  When the US government determines that the exit polls in other countries do not match proclamations about voter fraud, it is common for federal agencies to pronounce those election results are not valid.
The mathematics behind scientific polling can be complex because there are legitimate reasons to build mathematical models with survey results to attempt to correct various types of problems with self-reported data:  people don’t do as they said, don’t remember exactly what they did, or are unable to accurately describe their behavior or why they acted a certain way. 

No statistician is taken seriously unless they have specialty training and experience that goes beyond an college undergraduate level and when it comes to election statisticians, people build reputations for their work based on results that are either extremely accurate or fit the agenda of those using a given polling service.  We can assume those paid the "big bucks" to do this work understand every issue in this post.

The problem with the exit polling data on June 5, 2012, is that there is no legitimate reason to “adjust” – actually CORRUPT, that data because it didn’t match numbers coming out of a computer – MAYBE THE COMPUTER WAS WRONG AND THE EXIT POLLS WERE RIGHT. 

The media “experts” with access to the exit polls, evidently, never considered this option and has actively hidden what they did.  They will not tell use the truth, which is as simple as can be:  If the exit polls don’t match the vote tabulations, the purpose of the exit poll was to raise a red flag and warn the public that there is a problem.  Either the exit polls are wrong, the vote counts are wrong, or BOTH are wrong. 

The public is being fooled into thinking that only the exit polls could be wrong!  This is a flat-out lie.  Every statistician knows this – the media people with access to this polling data know this.  What we have here are 2 lies:
  1. Lie of Omission.  The media will not tell us that there is a possibility that the problem was actually the vote tabulation.
  2. Lie of Commission.  That the scientific and mathematic resolution to these different measures of voters intention was limited to one choice:  corrupt the exit data to match the numbers from black box voting machines.


Anonymous said...

Very important information; very well said.

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.