chatter.chaboud.com

11/4/2004

The importance of information control…

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:18 am

Ohio and Florida, swing states making use of paper-trail-free touch-screen-voting systems, were the subject of early exit polls published by Slate, as well as exit polls published by CNN, described by CNN shortly before midnight as not representing the actual results. Exit polls have been used as a check against election fraud in emerging democracies, but such polls are meaningless in the face of corrupt media outlets or organizations unwilling to report suspicious trends (link goes to dailykos and is a must-read).

At 12:24am, CNN reported Ohio’s exit poll as:

Only to silently revise its results after 1:41am to read:

For those with the feeling that a scant 57 votes could not possibly account for such large percentage changes, here are derived calculations:


  12:21am 1:41am Difference
Male voters for Bush 452.0789 493.688 41.6091
Male voters for Kerry 470.5311 446.218 -24.3131
Female voters for Bush 488.9833 535.3 46.3167
Female voters for Kerry 551.4067 535.3 -16.1067

Keep in mind the slight error in these tabluations indtroduced by the rounding done by CNN before reporting.

These figures show that, in order for CNN’s numbers to make sense, the number of voters counted for Kerry in Ohio exit polls must have fallen by over 45. It appears that these figures were likely massaged to agree with the reported numbers.

Please, take a moment to go to Black Box Voting and donate money to the non-partisan audit effort, a nationwide effort to scour voting records for the criminal behavior of vote tampering.

One Response to “The importance of information control…”

  1. I observed the same thing, not only in Ohio but in other states and national exit polls too (I’ve kept a bunch of copies of the files). I’ve sent a message to CNN in case they have the time and will to clarify this issue, no answer yet. Below is what I wrote. Note that even with the most conservative rounding errors it cannot have been the 57 new respondents. It looks like they modified the weigths to make the polls match the results. At least they indicate the update time, so they’re not trying to hide it. But given the doubt on the fairness of the counting due to the absence of trails, this is unsettling.

    Here’s what I sent about the national polls to CNN (in the national polls the numbers for Kerry were 47% and 54% before the update, 45% and 52% afterwards).

    Hi,

    I’ve followed with much interest your coverage of these elections. However, one point about the exit polls troubled me. I noticed that their value evolved over time, with a slightly higher number of respondents, and a significant shift towards Georges W Bush. For instance, in the national exit polls:

    At 9.20 pm, there were 13407 respondents. Using conservative estimates of the rounding errors, this polls gave at least:
    13407 * 0.46 *0.465 = 2867 males for Kerry
    13407 * 0.54 * 0.535 = 3873 females for Kerry

    However at 1.36 am, the same poll had 13531 respondents
    and with the opposite estimate for rounding that gives only:
    13531 * 0.46 * 0.455 = 2832 males for Kerry
    13531 * 0.54 * 0.525 = 3836 females for Kerry

    That is, with additional respondents, Kerry has less suporters!

    I noticed similar changes in a least some state exit polls.

    I would be interested to understand:

    1) why the polls were updated, and why more respondents were included

    2) what explains the differences in the pourcentages between both versions. If I made no mistake, I have shown that it cannot just be the effect of the new respondents.

    If the answer to 2) is different weightings, could you explain how the weightings were modified, and what motivated this change?

    Thanks a lot for your answer.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Bonniot

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