Exit Polling Issues

Nov 6, 2012

Most of America’s polling places remain open.  Still, some media outlets are already reporting results. Exit polling combined with the computation power of computers often offer accurate predictions, even in close races.  However, University of Kentucky Political Scientist Stephen Voss sees some flaws with exit polling.“Exit polls are a way to get the answers more quickly and we tend to be an inpatient society, it’s not surprising we do it.  But, it’s a very vulnerable enterprise because you’re essentially taking a survey of a survey.  You first sample places and then at the places, you’re attempting to survey the people walking out to see how they voted,” said Voss.

A representative from the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office says the State Board of Elections doesn’t conduct exit polling.  But Lynn Zellen says state statutes don’t prohibit the practice.

Stephen Voss believes many voters understand their votes alone will not make a difference in most elections.  Instead, He says they see their votes as an endorsement of a political philosophy..

“The reason people vote is not some rational calculation of the probability they’re gonna tip that presidential race.  It’s how excited they are and how caught up and whether the things that get people to the polls, that mobilize them, are operating on them,” added Voss.

Voss adds there are few truly independent voters.  He says many have political leanings, but choose not to join a major political party.