Four years ago, early exit poll data was leaked midday to the Drudge Report, showing Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) with a huge lead in Pennsylvania — so large, in fact, that Republicans were in despair and the Kerry folks were celebrating their “victory.” The problem was the exit poll data reflected a partial sample with a significant number of interviews yet to be completed and, thus, was not yet statistically sound.
Until a full sample is completed, some of the underlying demographics may be disproportionate. So, in the interests of electoral integrity and to help avoid a similar rush to an erroneous conclusion next Tuesday, here is a short primer on how to interpret Election Day exit polls and results.
In today’s American Spectator online, I give my take on why many polls that seem to be checking the same thing – the McCain/Obama ballot test – can end up with very different results.
Kristen Soltis: Poll Vaulting [American Spectator]
“These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.” (New York Times, Sept. 11, 2003)
So said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), then-ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, in response to a Bush administration proposal offered five years ago by then-Treasury Secretary John Snow to reform Fannie and Freddie. Snow’s plan would have gone a long way toward depoliticizing the two housing giants and reining in their subprime lending spree that is at the heart of today’s economic crisis. In fact, the Times called the proposal “the most significant regulatory overhaul … since the savings and loan crisis.” (more…)