The Drudge Report has published a McCain campaign memo advising members (and reminding them) about the historical inaccuracy of exit polling releases during Election Day.
As we have seen in previous election cycles, the exit poll results do leak early and that ends up influencing the coverage of the race before even the first state polls close at 6:00 PM Eastern.
However, we want to remind the campaign that the media's own post-election study of the exit polls in 2004 showed that the exit polls overstate the Democratic candidate's support. Therefore, we would discourage a rush to judgment based on the exit polls and wait until there has been a representative sampling of actual tabulated results from a variety of counties and precincts in a state.
Here are the key points to keep in mind when the exit poll data starts being leaked:
1. Historically, exit polls have tended to overstate the Democratic vote.
2. The exit polls are likely to overstate the Obama vote because Obama voters are more likely to participate in the exit poll.
3. The exit polls have tended to skew most Democratic in years where there is high turnout and high vote interest like in 1992 and 2004.
4. It is not just the national exit poll that skews Democratic, but each of the state exit polls also suffers from the same Democratic leanings.
5. The results of the exit polls are also influenced by the demographics of the voters who conduct the exit polls.
Missing is Point #6:
- Exit Polls are not taken at every polling location, and tend to center around large cities, which are already more heavily Democrat than Republican.
Add that important piece of information and you begin to fully understand how Kerry's premature landslide announcement could have come to be.
Ignore it all and vote. When the winner is announced in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, you will be hearing the only exit poll that matters. And it should include your vote, one way or the other.