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Was The Kerry Campaign Behind The Exit Poll Fiasco?

The Prowler's American Spectator column claims that the Kerry campaign was behind the early exit poll numbers on Tuesday.

Here's what the Spectator says happened:

A little after one o'clock, early polling numbers, purportedly from the pool exit polling consortium, began to pop up on the Internet and in e-mails in Washington and around the country.

The early polling numbers are some of the most eagerly anticipated, if highly inaccurate, data on election day, and are widely distributed. Perhaps that was what the Kerry campaign was banking on.

According to at least three sources, one inside the Kerry campaign, and two outside of it, but with ties to senior Kerry advisers, some of the "early polling numbers" were in fact direct reports from Kerry campaign or Democratic Party operatives on the ground in such critical states as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin. According to a Washington lobbyist with knowledge of the numbers, the numbers were packaged together so as to appear to be exit poll results. They were then scrubbed through several sources to land in the lap of sympathetic bloggers who these operatives believed would put the numbers up with little question.

Some of the numbers claimed to be exit polling data that showed Kerry with a 8-1 voter ratio. As soon as the numbers hit the Internet, panic set in.

"It was awful," says a Republican House staffer. "You just felt sick when you saw the numbers."

The best explanation that I've been able to come up with is that the Kerry campaign new they were in trouble in some key states and hoped that news of a big dose of momentum early in the day would translate into real momentum.

So did the Kerry campaign manipulate bloggers to try to give the impression that they were winning in a landslide? It seems very plausible. In fact I've heard similar tales from anonymous sources at other news organizations, though none of them are reporting it - yet.


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Comments (16)

I think Ann Coulter mention... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

I think Ann Coulter mentioned this in her last column, that the psychology behind this is contrary to what you might think. Instead of motivating those that are behind to come out and vote it usually demoralizes them and makes it more likely to not vote. It make those that are already for the leader to come out and vote, cause they want to vote for a winner.

Assuming this is the way it played out then Bush could've won by an even bigger margin. It is a good indication that if there was a dirty trick by either side in this it was done by the democrats. (at least in this instance)

And to think Kerry lost. I ... (Below threshold)

And to think Kerry lost. I wonder what you'd be saying had he won?

- Not all bloggers were tak... (Below threshold)

- Not all bloggers were taken in by the slow but steady "evening" out over the last week before the election...And the sudden switch on Election day of the exit polls, in some case's by five points, stunk to high heaven and in some cases were even predicted by a few susspicious blogsites. Partly because of the screwball unfounded shifts overnight with no discernable cause in the election news, but also we've seen this before. 2000 comes to mind, although miss fires of this sort go all the way back to Nixon's era, when the idea of discouraging late voter turnout first appeared in the election arena.....

- FOX tried to be gutsy but in the end they held off projections for hours based on what was obviously cooked data....

And to think Kerry lost.... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

And to think Kerry lost. I wonder what you'd be saying had he won?

I'd be saying this is one of the tricks he used to win, instead of this one of the tricks he used, but failed to win with.

So now pure speculation is ... (Below threshold)

So now pure speculation is being given serious consideration.

I don't ever remember early polling data being accurate which is why they tend not to report it.

But for crying out loud Bush won, canít you all just let it be, enjoy yourselves, have a drink. Celebrate, there will be a plenty of thinkgs to beat up on Democrats about in the next two years.

This has nothing to do with... (Below threshold)
Rodney Dill:

This has nothing to do with whether early polling data is accurate or not. It has to do with what impact that information has on voters that have not yet voted. If fradulent reports were provide in an attempt alter the results I think that should be investigated, though I'm not sure there are any specific laws in that area.

As far as "letting it go" that strikes me as similar to having someone drive by and shooting at me and "letting it go" just because a bullet didn't hit me.

No, no, no... It's the repu... (Below threshold)
Darby:

No, no, no... It's the republicans fault!

It's a conspiracy yes... But it's all the republican voters fault!

To fool the MSM they all SAID they voted for Kerry, when in fact they really voted for Bush!

Nothing like giving the moonbats a false sense of security! Bwahahaha....

Ok... I'm done.

Karl Rove did it so that th... (Below threshold)

Karl Rove did it so that the impact of Bush's re-election on the Democrats would be even more devastating. He knew it would drive them over the edge and make them write things like Krugman's column or that thing in Slate.

LMAO. Good call, McGehee.</... (Below threshold)
Jim:

LMAO. Good call, McGehee.

It's a little more pre-medi... (Below threshold)
Pre-meditated:

It's a little more pre-meditated. The (all the campaigns) professional pollsters know that a certain percentage of people, however small, will change their vote based on who's winning, because most people don't want to vote for a loser, even if it is their own candidate. This is one of the major reasons for such tactics, though I haven't seen anyone pin this down yet. True partisans will vote for their candidate no matter what, to get the vote up, to de-legitimize (as is going on now over Ohio), and for a number of other reasons.

Most people watching (and the professional pollsters) know that if voters are faced with waiting in line for hours when they know their candidate is going to lose, and then continue to wait in line to cast a ballot for a loser, isn't going to happen. And the left knew (or believed) that they had angrier voters on their side, who would wait no matter what to cast their votes (or be dis-enfranchised), therefore had the favorable outcome on their side in regards to who will stay and vote (for a winner) or go home so they don't have to wait for hours to vote for a loser.

This was the strategy for days and weeks before. This was the strategy adopted by the racist pollster Zogby, who rigged his polls to consistently show Kerry in a more favorable position for weeks and days leading up to the election. Only in the last day or a bit more did he re-align his numbers to reflect more believable numbers, because he has to be able to point to some numbers that were close, so he can continue to peddle his services in the following years. But his racism and blatent bias really intervened in his numbers this year. I had some doubts about whether Bush would be able to get the electoral count up to 270, but between Zogby's biased poll numbers, and the joke of a electoral map by the tech guy (not realclearpolitics, the other one with the yellow background and ridiculous electoral count (290+ electoral votes for Kerry), that was decisive for me. The map was reinforcing of my belief, but Zogby's biased numbers was the real tipoff that the numbers were wrong.

As for fixing the exit polls, look at what happened after each debate. After each debate, the high volume left wing blogs circulated emails that provided links to every major newspaper poll. As soon as those links were posted at the blogs, the polls became lopsided, and Dan Rather, Olberman or whatever his name is, CNN, Hardon, Jennings, Brokaw, and other left wingers gleefully reported the poll results. And posted them prominently on their web sites. When Kerry's own team reacts with "it was a draw" to one of the first debates, and the online poll is incredibly lopsided in Kerry's favor, the news anchor believes the poll? No suprise from a left-wing media. I'm sure the DNC had emails going out to their army to hit the polls as well, not just the bloggers posting the marching orders. And I suspect the same thing happened with the exit polls. I suspect the DNC trained enough local voters/volunteers to seek out and fill out the exit polls so that they could rig the vote. It doesn't take much to do it, you are only talking about a small percentage of voters who would be willing to spend time to fill out the exit polls instead of going home to take care of the family or go back to work. The infrastructure was in place to exploit the exit polls through voter/volunteer partisans. Why this is a mystery to everyone is beyond me.

Really, though, how much "s... (Below threshold)
Lastango:

Really, though, how much "scrubbing" would the DNC have to do to get the MSM to bite on the exit polls -- about as much as the document forgers had to do to convince CBS to run with the guardgate forgeries? OpinionJournal reports this tale of democracy-in-action on election night:


"When it became clear early Wednesday morning that President Bush was going to carry Ohio, all the TV networks but two held off from making the call, even though the margin of victory was wider than those in several states they had already called. The New York Times explains why:

"The critical moment came at 12:41 a.m. Wednesday, when, shortly after Florida had been painted red for Mr. Bush, Fox News declared that Ohio--and, very likely, the presidency--was in Republican hands.

"Howard Wolfson, a strategist, burst into the "boiler room" in Washington where the brain trust was huddled and said, "we have 30 seconds" to stop the other networks from following suit.

"The campaign's pollster, Mark Mellman, and the renowned organizer Michael Whouley quickly dialed ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC--and all but the last refrained from calling the race through the night."


- I wouldn't be the slighte... (Below threshold)

- I wouldn't be the slightest bit supprised if every bit of that senario were true Lastango....as I said in my earlier post, if you've spent your entire career looking at and producing scientific graphs you just have a feel for how fast any given process can change...The pollsters themselves either believe no on will notice or lact that sensitivity themselves if they were scamed also. If they want to run scam free accurate polls they should ask someone who knows what to watch for but that will probably never happen so the networks, even FOX continue to waste their money and uneccessarily mislead the electorate.....The biggest question of course is to what end...It probably has a very tiny effect, if any, on the overall vote...And eventually when the real results come in you're busted.....

DUUUH?... (Below threshold)
Pat Adkins:

DUUUH?

Liberals/Democrats are goin... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Liberals/Democrats are going to have to establish that they do NOT throw or attempt to "rearrange" elections and the voting process, because, unless they do, conservatives/Republicans are smart to continue to assume that these sort of machinations of votes and rearrangements are quite intentional, are planned, by liberals/Democrats.

It's the old adage, "respect isn't given, it's earned." At this point -- look around at all the attacks and such going on from Nov. 03 P.M. forward, and up to Nov. 03 A.M. (I'm guessing there was a bit of a six hour window there of actual quiet, to a degree, at least) -- conservatives/Republicans have too many bad experiences with Democrats to just look the other direction over this huge voter issues.

Until Democrats act like they care, or actually DO care, there's just not going to be any progress...at least not mutually. But, the voting thing, these exit polls, there is no way I'd ever assume that the Zogby declarations ("Kerry is going to win!" he offered on Nov. 01 or thereabouts) and such were aimless forecasts.

I never thought Kerry would win, except for a few hours before we had the FL decision. There is just no way a message as negative as the Democrats have now offered as standard will ever pursuade the average American to go their way, and all the railing on about the mean and nasty conservatives and the red states' badness, is just further losing voter sympathy for the Democrats. You all (Democrats) shoot yourselves in the foot and then try to cover the evidence. Which means, people suspect you for good reason.

The United States IS NOT a socialist nation. I don't believe it ever will be. Democrats are socialists, and because of that, they are selling a losing proposition. People are starting to shop across the street instead.

WOW, so there WAS a phone c... (Below threshold)
BR:

WOW, so there WAS a phone call after all ! 12:41 AM.

Compare to posts at wizbang that night/morning about CBS:

12:56 AM Rather is still counting on his "abacus" [was using a pathetic looking pencil] to show how many other states Bush has to win if he LOSES Ohio...

1:17 AM "We'd rather be late than wrong" !!

(That one takes the cake! He should have thought of that when he released the fake docs on 9/8/04.)

1:47 AM: Dan Rather just said it's so "confusing"....

2:26 AM: "Hunter - you're right. He just went off the air! Without a word about Bush winning in Ohio or overall. He was probably waiting for the dem tel. call announcing their "big legal strategy"."

2:41 AM: Dan Rather's back again on local CBS. They're reporting Edwards saying "We've waited four years, we can wait one more night." Rather & co. are grasping at straws that this means a big legal fight.

2:50 AM: Dan Rather... going on about the provisional ballots in Ohio.

3:02 AM: Dan Rather (counting numbers with his pencil pointing at the states) asserting for Kerry, emphasis on the second word as he flails the pencil in the air... "I BELIEVE he wil win."

3:11 AM: He keeps using the word "confusing". His CBS reporter just said "Bush is unhappy."

3:19 AM [CBS] Leslie Stahl just used the buzzword "turmoil"...

3:41 AM Lesley Stahl is holding up front pages of NY Times and another paper: she's claiming the headlines "are just what we said here"...

3:46 AM Rather reporting that Bush has won in Nevada, "but still not enough to push Bush over the top..." He then says since Ohio and [one other state] still unsure, "ONE CAN ALWAYS HOPE."

4:08 AM Rather just mentioned that bloggers are probably already saying Kerry should concede!

5:57 AM CBS's panel of lefties are arguing as if there's something wrong. [Bush] "appears" to be victorious.

3:11 AM: He keeps using ... (Below threshold)

3:11 AM: He keeps using the word "confusing". His CBS reporter just said "Bush is unhappy."

I saw that. Having already seen Rather on his Kool-Aid®-fueled spin cycle for "Kerry can still win," I just rolled my eyes and changed the channel.

That had to be the most pathetic performance by a national news organization that I've ever witnessed with my own eyes.




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