exit polls

Even Blinder

October 5, 2012 
by Jonathan Simon
According to the "father of exit polling," the late Warren Mitofsky, exit polls are intended solely for academic analysis of voting patterns and opinions (e.g., what did 25 to 34 year-old white males regard as the most important issue?) and not as any sort of check on the validity of the votecounts. Unless, of course, you are anywhere else on Earth (other than America), where exit polls are routinely employed, often with the sanction of the government of the United States, as just such a check mechanism, and have frequently led to official calls for electoral investigations and indeed electoral re-dos.
In America, where votecounts in competitive and significant races consistently come out to the right of the exit polls (it is called the "red shift"), the media machine has waved off the exit polls, concluding, without so much as a quick peek under the hood of the vote-counting computers, that the exit polls must be "off" because they "oversample Democrats," conclusive evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. We're the Beacon Of Democracy, dammit--we don't need no stinkin’ exit polls! We're "one nation under God" so our elections must be honest!
Nonetheless, exit polls remain critical to whatever election forensics can be undertaken to assess the honesty and validity of our concealed and partisan-controlled computerized vote counting system from election to election. This is because all "hard" evidence—memory cards, computer code, server logs, actual ballots where such exist—is strictly off limits to public investigation, being the protected proprietary dominion of a handful of secretive corporations (one of which is aptly named "Dominion") with ties to the radical right.
So the announcement that this November the media consortium known as the National Election Pool (NEP) has canceled all exit polling in 19 states comes as a blow to "academic analysts" and election forensics experts alike. The non-exit poll states are AK, AR, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, KY, LA, NE, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY. Of course all these states are noncompetitive, solid reds or blues (with the exception of a Senate race or two) so what's the problem??
The problem is that Karl Rove now has 19 states to mine votes to cover a Romney popular vote loss (undermining and casting suspicion upon his easily arranged Electoral College ‘win’), without the remotest trace of the theft, not even the telltale “red shift.”  This was done in 2004 for Bush, and it showed up in the red shift in states like Alaska and New York, as millions of votes were shifted in non-competitive states where there was little forensic vigilance. And if it turns out that they need even more votes for Romney, with the public now 100% blind to these 19 states, they'll have them by the millions.
The NEP and the networks will merely shrug and say, "Who needs exit polls (especially discredited exit polls) in noncompetitive states?" and "We needed to redeploy our limited resources." I feel their pain: exit polling is difficult/expensive and more so now with early/absentee voting and cellphones. Put it in context though: we spent $2 billion per week for years to bring "democracy" to Iraq; you know $2 billion would buy approximately 200 years of biennial exit polls at their current cost here in the good old USA!  I guess having democracy for seven generations in America is not worth one week in Iraq. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
And, while we're at it, what a stupid way to insure democracy, a few volunteer democracy fans following along after the election circus with a forensic broom and dustpan, then having their evidence ignored or ridiculed by the media, which, just to show how accepting it is, accepts on 100% pure unadulterated blind faith every number that comes out of the partisan operated and controlled blackness that is our oh-so-convenient vote counting system. Again for that same $2 billion week in Iraq, we could fund hand-counted paper ballots (if we were unwilling to assume it as a civic responsibility on a par with jury duty) at a decent payscale for an entire generation.
Are we that cheap, that stingy, that lazy, when it comes to this democracy, this homeland that we profess to "love" and seem to be so concerned about protecting?

For pdf copy please click here

The (Usual) Stench From Wisconsin

Wisconsin: New Year, Same Stench

What we got tonight, June 5th, in Wisconsin was the same old stench, coming from the same old corner of the room, even more pungent than usual. If it smells a bit acrid to you, that would be the ashes of your democracy still smoldering.  To wit, there was a huge turnout (highly favorable to the Democratic candidate Barrett), in fact they're still waiting in line to vote in Milwaukee and elsewhere nearly two hours after poll closing; and the immediate post-closing Exit Polls had it a dead heat, 50%-50%.  But the only place those polls were posted was as a Bar Chart in the Milwaukee Journal SentinelNot a single network posted any Exit Poll numbers, though they all have been regularly posting them throughout the 2012 primary season within a few minutes of poll closing.  But they all called the race "extremely tight," since they were looking at the same 50%-50% Exit Poll that the Journal Sentinel at least had the courage to post in some format. 
In short order, and quite predictably, the race was Walker's, the networks anointing him the "easy winner" as the Exit Poll "Adjustment" Process played out.  You could actually see it on the Journal Sentinel's Bar Chart: the blue bars shrinking and the red bars lengthening every 20 minutes or so.The adjustment process was egregious, a whopping 7% disparity between the Unadjusted Exit Polls and the Adjusted Exit Polls congruent to the eventually-to-be-announced "official results." 
We've seen this before, election after election, the familiar "Red Shift."  And it's the Exit Polls that are always "off," because the Votecounts must always be "on."  Except that the Votecounts are secret and in the full control of outfits, with strong right-wing affiliations, like Dominion Voting and Command Central.

Votes counted by partisans in complete secret--is this sane?
If you're finding it hard to conceive of characters nefarious enough to rig an election, consider this: today massive robocalls were reported to have been placed to targeted Barrett supporters, telling them they didn't have to vote if they had signed the recall petition, and others that they couldn't vote if they hadn't voted in 2010. Ask yourself this question: is there a bright ethical line between making (whoever actually made them) targeted robocalls telling your opponents' supporters they don't have to vote if they signed the recall petition versus setting the zero-counters on a bunch of memory cards to, say, +50 (for Walker) and -50 (for Barrett) so at the end of the day the total votes add up correctly, the election administrator sees a "clean" election, and you've shifted 100 votes per precinct?  Do you believe that characters who have clearly not blanched at doing the first would for some reason blanch at doing the second--much neater and more efficacious as it is? 
And if you're thinking "well the pre-election polls predicted a Walker win," you should know that the methodology for all of those polls, even the ones run by left-leaning outfits, was the Likely Voter Cutoff Model (see http://electiondefensealliance.org/files/TheLVCM_1.pdf), which disproportionately eliminates Democratic voters (students, renters, poor, minority) from the sample and so can conveniently skew it up to 10% to the right (the pollsters all would have been out of business by now if they had kept using a sound methodology and getting all these red-shifted competitive elections wrong with it).
This election was dubbed "the second most important election of 2012;" it will "foretell" November just as the Massachusetts Special Senate Election (Coakley-Brown) "foretold" November 2010.  And there was a massive red shift and even more than the usual indicators that it was rigged.  Can anyone live with that, just give it a pass, and sleep tonight?  If so, is it that you can't face the action imperative that would be attendant upon recognition and acknowledgement, or even honest open-minded inquiry?  Or is it that, as Dylan Thomas once wrote, "After the first death, there is no other?"
--Jonathan Simon


On Tuesday August 9th a group of volunteers from around Wisconsin conducted Citizen Exit Polls in two of the six senate districts where recall elections took place. A coalition of independent, non-partisan organizations including Election Defense Alliance (EDA), Protect California Ballots, and the Wisconsin Wave helped organize volunteers and advised the group on polling techniques. The exit polls were undertaken in an attempt to monitor the integrity of an election that relied entirely on concealed vote tabulation by computers to count votes and determine outcomes.
The results of our exit polling are presented in the Table below.  In every case there are sizeable disparities between the computer-tabulated votecount percentages and the percentages indicated by our exit polls respondents. And in every case the disparity is a “red shift,” the votecount percentages more favorable to the Republican candidate than are the exit poll percentages.  
It is important to understand, however, that these polls could not be designed to control for response bias—a possible differential willingness to respond of Republican vs. Democratic voters.  Therefore, the disparities presented in our polls could be the result of 1) Computerized mistabulation (i.e., rigging); 2) Response bias; or 3) Both.  We simply have no way of knowing for sure.
When a voter refuses to respond to our poll, we cannot know and adjust for the partisanship of that voter, so we cannot claim that our poll is a representative sample of the voters. To construct such a poll—the kind many are familiar with that is commissioned by the major media and appears on network websites along with the returns in November—requires vastly more data, resources, and funding than we have at our disposal.  Our polls were designed for a comparison of raw numbers, not percentages, and in certain circumstances, not achieved here, would be strongly probative stand-alone red flags.
Nonetheless, the disparities indicated below may be considered "orange flags," suggestive of at least the possibility of widespread computerized mistabulation, and indicative that follow-up voter canvassing is warranted.  In addition, analysis of prior voting patterns, turnout anomalies, and other data is being undertaken.
Our polls were undertaken for several related purposes:  
  • to provide at least an indicator, in the absence of virtually all other indicators, as to what might be happening (that is to introduce at least a dim ray of transparency into our utterly opaque and concealed vote counting process);
  • to determine whether a more strongly probative follow-up canvassing would be warranted;
  • to draw public awareness to the very disquieting realities of concealed, computerized vote counting (for example, many still erroneously assume that because they vote on paper, their votes and all votes are “safe,” even though in 99%+ of cases those ballots will never be examined and the optical scanner could easily be programmed to record a result radically different from what is indicated by the voters of their ballots);
  • and to build the citizen participation that one day can translate to actual human counting of the actual ballots.
It appears that the exit poll project for August 9, 2011 has succeeded in furthering each of these goals. We hope to continue to build the awareness and involvement on the part of citizens of Wisconsin and America that will be needed to preserve our democracy through the restoration of observable vote counting and honest elections.

 Senate  Polling Locations Vote Count Exit Poll EP-VC Diff.
District Ward #s VC-R VC-D VC-Tot* VC%R VC%D EP-R EP-D EP-Tot EP%R EP%D EP%D - VC%D
14 Baraboo 7, 8,9,10 453 695 1148 39.5% 60.5% 113 364 477 23.7% 76.3% 15.8%
14 Pardeeville 1,2,3 286 426 712 40.2% 59.8% 139 299 438 31.7% 68.3% 8.4%
8 Shorewood 9,10,11,12 484 1349 1833 26.4% 73.6% 155 845 1000 15.5% 84.5% 10.9%
8 Menomonee Falls  14,15,21 1351 605 1956 69.1% 30.9% 421 303 724 58.1% 41.9% 10.9%
8 Butler  1,2,3 397 200 597 66.5% 33.5% 63 63 126 50.0% 50.0% 16.5%
  *includes absentee ballots: Baraboo=97, Pardeeville=40, Shorewood=354, Menomonee=283, Butler not known                      

Preliminary Election Assessment

Election Defense Alliance Preliminary Election Assessment
November 11, 2010

 by Jonathan Simon 

The American people have voted and spoken. And, if you believe that the 75 million-plus votes that were sent into the privatized darkness of cyberspace emerged from that darkness as cast, then you have before you The American Self-Portrait, taken every two years and carried around in all our mental wallets till the next election.

Perhaps to you it is a grim portrait. Perhaps it doesn’t seem to make sense, given the underlying national realities. Or perhaps it does seem to make sense, in light of the stacked electoral money game and all those polls that predicted and prepared us for this outcome.

It is our sad duty to inform you that, once again, the Portrait appears to be a fake.

At EDA we are still crunching numbers, reviewing disparities and anomalies, and will have much more detailed findings and analyses to report in the coming weeks. But the preliminary indications are clear: a dramatic nationwide pattern of “red shifts” (votecounts more Republican than exit polls) in the Senate and Governors’ races; an aggregate red shift in the contests for the House; a huge catalogue of “glitches” and anomalies, and quite a few “impossible” results across the nation, beginning with the barely scrutinized primaries.

The truth is that America, while increasingly polarized, remains very closely divided. It doesn’t take many added, deleted, or shifted votes to reverse outcomes across the land and to dramatically alter the Self-Portrait that emerges. Examining, for example, the Battle for the House, a total of fewer than 50,000 Democratic votes instead of Republican in the closest contests would have left the House under Democratic control. The red shift we uncovered for the House races nationwide was 1.7% or 1.25 million votes, twenty-five times those 50,000 votes that constituted the national Republican “victory” margin.

There are signs that real-time calibrating of votes needed to “win” targeted races is becoming easier, and the vote processing infrastructure to enable such exploits proliferating. EDA is attempting to investigate these developments, which make it possible to steal more elections while stealing fewer votes, leaving barely a numerical footprint.

EDA is also probing the polling methodologies that have yielded red-shifted polls to match red-shifted elections, making everything seem right enough. We know, for instance, that the now universally adopted sampling protocol known as the Likely Voter Cutoff Model is a red-shifting, methodologically unjustifiable ploy that nonetheless accurately predicted last Tuesday’s results. EDA is asking “Why?” We expect to issue a detailed study of polling distortions and fudge factors in the coming weeks.

We at EDA are accustomed and fairly hardened to nights like last Tuesday by now. The most maddening part for us may well be listening to the Wednesday post-mortem analyses in which very astute pundits on, say, CNN or NPR read the tea leaves with straight faces and 100% faith in the gospel of the official results as their unquestioned premise. Official results that we, sleepless and still crunching numbers in an attempt to keep honest score at home, had already recognized as likely lies.

Excepting Dan Rather on HDNet TV on October 26, there have been virtually no journalists courageous enough to tell this story. Much of our work going forward will be to persuade those same pundits and opinion leaders to scale the towering wall of never-happen-here denial that is putting our nation at such grave risk.

How many more elections can our democracy survive with the use of concealed vote-counting, where there is no meaningful oversight by citizens, election officials, or the media? How many more elections where the will of the public is ignored? Time is running out on our democracy.

We must get the facts about our electoral system into public dialogue to create a foundation for a rational and unblinking examination of evidence and for serious investigation.

If anyone reading this has access to any public figures who might help us get the word out, please write to us at info@ElectionDefenseAlliance.org as soon as possible.

If you cannot help with contacts, please consider a tax-deductible gift. We need to hire a PR firm as another means to broadcast this news. http://ElectionDefenseAlliance.org/donate.

For a more detailed look at the big picture, see Joan Brunwasser’s OpEdNews interview with Jonathan Simon: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Jonathan-Simon-of-Election-by-Joan-Brunwasser-101027-150.html.

Kos, "Raw Data," and the Mainstream Media

Michael Collins

When DailyKos publisher and owner Markos Moulitsas demanded that his pollster produce raw data from the polls Moulitsas purchased, he established a principle of election polling transparency that could open up the checkered history of presidential elections in the United States.

The controversy erupted when Moulitsas (kos) fired his polling company.  He was unhappy with their results and demanded that his pollster, Research 2000 (R2000), turn over raw data for review.  Moulitsas said:

"Early in this process, I asked for and they offered to provide us with their raw data for independent analysis -- which could potentially exculpate them. That was two weeks ago, and despite repeated promises to provide us that data, Research 2000 ultimately refused to do so."  kos

When R2000 either refused or delayed (there's disagreement on that), kos took their actions as a sign of "fraudulent polling practices" (from the kos lawsuit).  DailyKos published a searing criticism of R2000 and the National Council on Public Polls supported kos in his demand that R2000 release the raw polling data.  Blogger Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com and the New York Times supported kos, as well.

The request by kos is well justified.  He'd paid for the polling.  Like any customer in this type of arrangement, he had a right to the product of the work done in his behalf.

Reviewing the basis for the polling results, particularly the raw data and the analytic methods, could answer two key questions:  1) were the polls actually conducted and 2) did  the techniques used meet the professional standards of  other polling organizations.

The president of R2000, Del Ali, defended his polling and denied any and all accusations of improper conduct:  "Every charge against my company and myself are pure lies, plain and simple, and the motives as to why Kos is doing it will be revealed in the legal process and not before that."  Some of the criticisms of R2000 polling methods have been answered by independent analysis at RichardCharnin.com

We don't know how the law suits will turn out.  But without much doubt, the  raw data will be released at trial or during the discovery phase.

But there is  a much bigger case for releasing raw polling data, one that has a profound impact on our history as a nation.  That raw data, requested time and again, is the polling data from the 2004 National Exit Poll, sponsored by a consortium of mainstream media organizations (Associated Press, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox).

The Other Raw Data - Election 2004


The 2004 election was marred with controversy throughout the country.  Florida and Ohio received the most attention.  Had Democratic candidate Senator John Kerry won Ohio, he would have achieved an Electoral College victory.  This had an enduring impact on public confidence in the 2004 presidential election.  By September 2006, only 45% of registered voters surveyed were “very confident” Bush won election “fair and square.”

The situation in Ohio was so questionable, an ad hoc congressional hearing was held to examine the irregularities.  Current House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) led the congressional delegation.  He presented his findings in the report, Preserving Democracy:  What Went Wrong in Ohio.

Conyers made requests for the 2004 exit poll raw data but was turned down  (Congressman wants 'raw' exit poll data).  Without that critical raw data, the results in Ohio and nationwide could not be fully reviewed and analyzed.

Others including Richard Charnin (TruthIsAll) in (Proving Election Fraud), Michael Keefer, Mark Crispin Miller, Steve Freeman, and the Election Defense Alliance provide compelling arguments to question 2004 and subsequent election results (see Landslide Denied, 2006).  But like the Rep. Conyers and his 2004 inquiry, they were not allowed to review raw exit poll data from 2004.

At the root of any demonstration of election fairness or fraud is an examination of the raw data and methodologies used by the mainstream media's hand picked  polling.   This is the only national data that we have.  The results of the exit polls are presented after statistical analysis but without full access to the analytic methods used or the actual raw data gathered

When kos asked for R2000's  raw data, he made an important and principled demand.

It follows that it's an even more important and more principled demand that, at long last, the mainstream media consortium that controls the 2004  exit poll raw data release that data for open examination (and other years, as well).  These aren't their election.  They belong to the people.  We have a right to verify their accuracy.

Kos will have his day in court.  He will see the raw data as a result of his law suit filed on July 1.   Now it's time for the people to see the raw data from their elections.  Let us determine if the  suspicions of election fraud are justified.

But it's been six years since Representative John Conyers and others requested the exit poll raw data  to determine if election fraud was responsible for four more years of  George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

It is now time to release all of the raw data from all the presidential election exit polls to determine if those who claim to spread democracy throughout the world are actually practicing it at home.

As the National Council on Public Polls said, "public disclosure of all the relevant information about the polls in dispute will provide a solid basis for resolving this controversy."   The council was referring to the kos - R2000 dispute but the same principle applies to exit poll data controlled by the mainstream media.

It's time to know how our history is made and who's making it.


N.B.  The official 2004 exit poll results released by the mainstream media pollsters had to be contorted to show a Bush victory.  Their official polling showed that Bush supposedly won 2004  in the nation's big cities, not the Red states, as broadcast to the public:   see Election 2004:  The Urban Legend.

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