In a development that should embarrass Jesse Jackson and shame Barbara Boxer — but won’t — the AP reports that both firms conducting media exit polling for the presidential election found flaws that overreported support for John Kerry:
Two firms that conducted Election Day exit polls for major news organizations reported Wednesday that they found a number of problems with the way the polls were carried out last year, resulting in estimates that overstated John Kerry’s share of the vote.
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International found that the Democratic challenger’s supporters were more likely than President Bush’s supporters to participate in exit polls interviews. They also found that more errors occurred in exit polls conducted by younger interviewers, and about half of the interviewers were 34 or under. …
They noted that in a number of precincts, interviewers were kept 50 feet or more away from polling places, potentially skewing results toward people motivated to go out of their way to participate in exit polls. They also found suggestions that interviewers may not have carefully followed rules for selecting voters at random, which may have skewed results.
For the past ten weeks or so, we have heard over and over from Jackson, Boxer, and the like that the exit polling “proves” that vote fraud occurred in Ohio. They point to the early lead which the data supposedly predicted, even though the firms warned that initial data could not be considered reliable for projections. The Democrats, including the Kerry campaign, used the exit-polling data as the basis for several costly legal challenges, including a recount that cost Ohio over a million dollars … and resulted in a 0.025% change in the election returns.
Now that even the polling firms have confirmed their sloppy work in the election, perhaps we will hear an explanation from the Democrats for their hysterical and paranoid response. After all, everyone knows that exit polling samples only the willing. The big poll takes place behind the curtain, which allows everyone to be “sampled” and the results to be much more reliable. At the least, Democrats should apologize to Ohioans, especially those whose reputations they besmirched in their zeal to justify the hijacking of the political process.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that apology. From now on, the news media should take care to report the news rather than predict it, and the rest of the country should learn to exercise a little patience while the real votes are counted. Finally, Democrats should choose their candidates with more care to avoid having to sue everyone in sight to overturn fair elections.
UPDATE: Be sure to read the exhaustive analysis at Daly Thoughts.