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2016 Postmortem

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(15,262 posts)
Wed Nov 16, 2016, 10:54 AM Nov 2016

Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don't Match [View all]

Last edited Wed Nov 16, 2016, 09:27 PM - Edit history (3)

Something Stinks When Exit Polls and Official Counts Don't Match
A discussion with an exit poll expert reveals an electoral house of cards.
By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet November 14, 2016

Media exit polls in last Tuesday's election suggested Democrats were going to win the White House and the Senate, yet the reported vote counts brought a GOP landslide. While theories abound about what happened, election integrity activists say the exit poll descrepancy underscores the need for a far more transparent and accountable process. AlterNet's Steven Rosenfeld interviewed Jonathan Simon, a longtime exit poll sleuth and author of Code Red: Computerized Election Theft and the New American Century. Simon explains why exit polls are a critical clue in the breakdown of the voting process.

Steven Rosenfeld: Let's start by telling people about your involvement with election integrity and tracking exit polls.

Jonathan Simon: I've been working in this field which we call election forensics for about 15 years, since the 2000 election. Certainly things kicked in with the 2004 election and the exit polls there. I was actually the person who downloaded the exit polls that were left up on the CNN website which then made it possible to compare the unadjusted exit polls—and we can explain that in a bit—but comparing the exit polls with the vote counts and show through all those disparities that there was reason to suspect possibly manipulation of the vote counts.

It has deep roots and basically looking at every election since has found varying, but at the same time, fairly pervasive patterns of what we call the "red shift" and where the exit polls are to the west of the vote counts. We track that, we record it and we attempt to analyze it and get some sort of handle on what has caused it as a phenomenon. Then we look at all sorts of forensic data, accumulative vote share, tables and hand counts where we can find them. I've always been particularly conscientious about trying to take whatever baseline we're using and validate that baseline, so that if we have an exit poll for instance, we try to make sure something that has been skewed by over-sampling one party or over-sampling people of color or something to that effect and validate it by that.

We try as carefully as we can. I've been doing this pretty steadily now for the last 15 years along with some of my colleagues, and I would be the first to acknowledge that there is a lot of smoke there and there's a lot of probative value to this work, but that bringing it forth as ironclad proof is very problematic. So we're stuck at a place where I pivoted to is looking at the risk involved in having a computerized, privatized, unobservable vote counting system and just taking on faith that that system is not being manipulated when there is such a obvious vulnerability (on which the experts strongly agree) of the system to malfeasance and manipulation. That is where I've tended to go, is to look at that risk rather than screaming fraud from the rooftops and claiming proof.


This is the red shift between exit polls and vote tally in the battleground states.
These are the states that had to be rigged according polls before the election.

8.444% Ohio 18
5.935% North Carolina 15
5.543% Pennsylvania 20
4.826% Wisconsin 10
2.576% Florida 29

Michigan (16) exit polls were accurate, but 12,000 votes would flip the state at last update. http://www.270towin.com/ at 306-232 with MI undecided.


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i have been thinking about this stuff, and have this idea- mopinko Nov 2016 #1
hourly tallies at each precinct is a great idea MadLinguist Nov 2016 #33
Both Parties have been aware of our vulnerability with electronic voting. Dustlawyer Nov 2016 #2
I agree. Something seems very off about the counting of the voter's vote. UCmeNdc Nov 2016 #3
Too bad exit polls won't ever hold up in court budkin Nov 2016 #4
For heavens sake... greytdemocrat Nov 2016 #5
U: "why would anyone give a shit about exit polls" Because they detect rigged elections! Coyotl Nov 2016 #6
For that to matter, tavernier Nov 2016 #9
The exit polls I was hearing on election day had me very very worried. TrekLuver Nov 2016 #7
And yet the regular polls had HRC ahead consistently ailsagirl Nov 2016 #22
Yes but I remember looking at the state by state polls on the 270 to win website TrekLuver Nov 2016 #25
I just feel it in my gut ailsagirl Nov 2016 #30
It means that exit polling methods are flawed. Nothing more. NurseJackie Nov 2016 #8
Maybe there is a planet somewhere that has statistical methods that work? Coyotl Nov 2016 #10
Because as we all know, they get it right, first time, every time ... NurseJackie Nov 2016 #12
Actually, that's not how inferential statistics works. You need to take a class Coyotl Nov 2016 #14
They got it wrong. No conspiracy there. They just fucked up. NurseJackie Nov 2016 #15
How do you get an exit poll wrong though? JonLP24 Nov 2016 #24
How dows one interview EVERY single person and guarantee that they're telling the truth? NurseJackie Nov 2016 #32
All I said was how to get an exit poll wrong JonLP24 Nov 2016 #35
How do you do an immense sample and get so many liars, and have them all lie the same way? Coyotl Nov 2016 #36
They didn't poll enough people, clearly. Or they polled unevenly. There's no big mystery here. NurseJackie Nov 2016 #38
When Trump said the election was rigged womanofthehills Nov 2016 #11
Or, when Trump trolls said the primaries were rigged, they knew what was coming in the Fall! Coyotl Nov 2016 #13
So much going on-voter suppression voting rights act trounced and this: Generator Nov 2016 #16
Exit polls aren't perfect gollygee Nov 2016 #17
Anecdotal story about one spot does not characterize anything. Coyotl Nov 2016 #18
Dem Senate candidates won 4 races in exit polls that went to the Republicans in computer counts. Coyotl Nov 2016 #19
Thanks for sharing this. We've got to get our heads out of the sand! chimpymustgo Nov 2016 #41
There is an error in the table, turns out it is three and a cliffhanger in Florida. Coyotl Nov 2016 #42
Remember that we use exit polls to detect rigged elections everywhere caraher Nov 2016 #20
There have been riots in other countries when the exit polls didn't JonLP24 Nov 2016 #23
I recall hearing that, until 2000, exit polls were spot on ailsagirl Nov 2016 #31
I will never be convinced this was a fair election ailsagirl Nov 2016 #21
The exit polls agree with the pre-election polls. Coyotl Nov 2016 #26
Except he's not universally despised...and just as much we hate Trump...they hate Clinton. TrekLuver Nov 2016 #27
This message was self-deleted by its author ailsagirl Nov 2016 #28
I agree.... FrenchieCat Nov 2016 #29
Here we go again cilla4progress Nov 2016 #34
Shy Voters Probably Arent Why The Polls Missed Trump Coyotl Nov 2016 #37
Great discussion! FrenchieCat Nov 2016 #39
Senate exit polls are worse than the Presidential Coyotl Nov 2016 #40
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