Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Returns "Party"

I'm here now, at the political science department Election Returns "Party." There are about 20 of us here, half with laptops, watching the returns on the news. There's a professor (who I don't know...hmm) with a remote, switching between CNN, Fox News and Friday Night Lights (they're showing the returns at the bottom of the screen.) I want to watch CNN, but majority rules (ha, majority rules. Get it?)

Ok, Charleston. Exit polls are showing mostly Democrats winning, but exit polls are always skewed that way. I didn't know why until today, when I heard an interview with the RNC chair Ken Mehlman on the radio. Exit polls are conducted by volunteers, and for some reason a majority of the volunteers are women. Women are more likely to approach other women walking out of the polls, and women voters are more likely to answer women pollers (voters are not obligated to participate in exit polls.) Since women tend to be Democrats, the exit polls reflect it. Also, since the most efficient places to conduct exit polls are in densely populated urban areas, polling places in metropolitan areas have more exit polls. And which way do urban areas lean? Bingo, Democrat.

So exit polls leaning left is built into the system -- it's not some huge conspiracy against Republicans, as Rush Limbaugh was alleging today on the radio. However, I think exit polls are going to be misleading anyway. And they're only useful for satisfying our impatience; they're not the actual result.

...But here I am, watching the exit poll results come in with a bunch of other people.

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