McCain Camp Warning: Exit Polls Skew Democratic

They always favor Democrats, so just ignore them

By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User

Posted Nov 4, 2008 8:25 AM CST

(Newser) – John McCain is likely to underperform in exit polls, which historically favor Democrats, writes McCain’s pollster Bill McInturff in a memo reprinted by CQ Insider. In the last two presidential elections, exit polls have shown the Democratic candidate doing better than he ultimately did in the real vote count. There’s a simple reason for this: Democrats are more willing than Republicans to participate in exit polls.

McInturff notes that the skewing effect occurs at the state level as well that national: support for John Kerry in 2004 was exaggerated by exit polls in 26 states, but for George W. Bush in only four. High turnout tends to skew exit polls even more, so voters need to be on guard against thinking the race is decided before it is.

Two women exit a polling place after voting, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Pepper Pike, Ohio.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
In this photograph provided by "Meet the Press," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., appears on "Meet the Press'" Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008, at the NBC studios in Washington.   (AP Photo/Meet The Press, Alex Wong)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., greets supporters at a midnight rally in at the Yavapai County Courthouse in Prescott, Ariz., Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves his polling place after voting in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., glances back as he and and his wife Cindy leave their polling place after voting in Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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Rather than looking at the exit polls, we should wait until we start seeing actual election results from key precincts and counties to gauge who won the election. - Bill McInturff

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