PS: Political Science & Politics


Controversies in Exit Polling: Implementing a Racially Stratified Homogenous Precinct Approach

Matt A.  Barreto  a1 , Fernando  Guerra  a2 , Mara  Marks  a2 , Stephen A.  Nuño  a3 and Nathan D.  Woods  a4
a1 University of Washington
a2 Loyola Marymount University
a3 University of California, Irvine
a4 Welch Consulting, Inc.

Article author query
barreto ma   [Google Scholar] 
guerra f   [Google Scholar] 
marks m   [Google Scholar] 
nuno sa   [Google Scholar] 
woods nd   [Google Scholar] 

In November 2000, exit poll interviews with voters in Florida indicated that Al Gore won the state. As a result, many television networks declared Gore the winner of Florida, a pivotal state to winning the presidency in 2000. Only a few hours later, the first vote tallies from the Florida Secretary of State's office revealed that George W. Bush was in fact leading in Florida. After 45 days of recounts and lawsuits, it was clear that the exit polls were wrong; Bush had won the state by the narrowest of margins. As a result of the flawed exit poll the media and pollsters scoured and reanalyzed the methodology used in 2000 to prepare and correct for the 2004 presidential election. The old system, Voter News Service (VNS) was scrapped entirely, and Edison-Mitofsky Research was chosen to implement a new and more accurate national exit poll in 2004 by a consortium of news organizations retained by the Associated Press called the National Election Pool (NEP). What happened? Exit poll results from Edison-Mitofsky showed John Kerry ahead in Ohio, Florida, and New Mexico—all states which he lost to Bush in 2004. a


a Author names are listed alphabetically. The co-authors were also the co-principal investigators of the Loyola Marymount University 2005 Los Angeles Mayoral Exit Poll. Thanks to Salvador Paniagua and Haven Perez for their tremendous research assistance in implementing this project and to the more than 120 student researchers who participated in the exit polling and data entry. Robert Aguinaga and Antonio Gonzalez of the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project also provided valuable assistance in implementing the poll. Mark Blumenthal, of was instrumental in tracking down exit poll archives.