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The incredibly misleading party ID #s in exit polls

by: Left Coast Libertarian

Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 16:40:51 PM EST


The exit polls are showing a big advantage for Democrats that may not be as big as it seems. They are 38%D/32%R, D+6
Left Coast Libertarian :: The incredibly misleading party ID #s in exit polls
In 2004, the exit polls had John Kerry winning independents by 1 and Bush won nationally by 2. In 2008, they had Barack Obama winning independents by 8 and he won by 7. This year Barack Obama won by 3, but Mitt Romney won independents by 5. The speculation is that the exit polls are capturing people previously identified as Republicans in the independent groups.

By designating them independents, instead of Republicans, you're putting them in a different place than they were 4 years ago, making comparisons difficult.

If we take 2% of the independents and assume they vote like Republicans, Romney 93%-6%, we end up with a 38%D/34% electorate and Barack Obama wins independents by 3%, 49%-46%. In a 38%D/35%R breakdown Obama wins independents by 5%.

Why is it better to use this breakdown instead of the exit poll breakdown? When many of us try to figure out who is going to win an election we look at the spread in party breakdown. When Obama wins by only 3% in a D+6 environment it means Republicans have an inherent advantage. Greater turnout doesn't mean a Democratic win.

In 2008, turn-out was D+7. Obama won by 7%. To compare the two elections we need to have both of them designating voters the same way.

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The lesson everyone should learn here
is that PartyID is fluid and you shouldn't look at it too closely if everything else is fine.

The lesson you shouldn't learn is to derive some sort of algorithm that takes Republican vote share of Independents and PartyID to generate a "ConservativeApproved Poll (tm)" button.


The lesson they're telling us
Is that Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans even in an election that doesn't lean Democratic. Whether party ID is fluid is worthy of debate. What we can conclude from this is that whether these 2-3% of people identify themselves as Republicans or independents they are still voting Republican and it isn't the Democratic year they think it is.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
What we can conclude
Is that this year's partisan composition resulted in Obama defeating Romney by 3.5 million votes, 51%-48%, regardless of whether the voters 'properly self-identified' or whatever. In four years, when we're attempting to read the tea leaves, the best analogue will be this year's election, not the 8-year-old electorate from 2008, or the even more obsolete 2004 electorate. And, this year's party ID figures will be an even better analogue than some totally subjective party ID reassignment designed to divine how 2012 voters would've self-identified in 2008.

This year's election did lean Democratic and Democrats do significantly outnumber Republicans.

Democrat, NC-11


[ Parent ]
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