Smart Advice: Beware of the Exit Polls

As Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fight it out at the polls today in Indiana and North Carolina, Taegan Goddard offers some smart primary day advice on Political Insider:

In the next couple hours, we’ll probably see leaked exit polls from Indiana and North Carolina. It would be wise not to pay much attention to them.

It’s hard enough to poll primary races due to selection bias. However, several factors unique to today’s election could throw off turnout models and make these survey’s very unreliable:

  • Overall turnout today is set to break historic records.
  • The excitement of the race could change the number of late day voters who are never captured in exit polls.
  • With open primaries in each state, large numbers of Republicans and/or independents are voting in the Democratic primaries.
  • Voters participating in Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” may not tell pollsters the truth.
  • Historical patterns don’t mean much since it’s been a very long time since presidential primaries in either state mattered very much.

If you really want to see some data, you’re better off looking at Charles Franklin’s final analysis of the primary polling.

Alas, however… If the suspense is killing you AP News and ABC News have some early results. Me… I am not peeking. Jeralyn at TalkLeft points out that “Tonight is Not Just About Delegates.” She’s right.

I’ll be posting later on the results. Stay tuned

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