Statisticians Refute 'Explanation' of Exit Poll
Monday, January 31, 2005
- Prominent Statisticians Refute 'Explanation' of 2004 U.S. Exit Poll
- Discrepancies in New Edison/Mitofsky Report and Urge Investigation of U.S. Presidential Election Results.
President Bush won November's election by 2.5% yet exit polls showed Kerry leading by 3%. Which was correct?
"There are statistical indications that a systematic, nationwide shift of 5.5% of the vote may have occurred, and that we'll never get to the bottom of this, unless we gather the data we need for mathematical analysis and open, robust scientific debate.", says Bruce O'Dell, USCountVotes' Vice President.
The study, “Response to Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 Report”, was co-authored by a diverse group of professors and academicians specializing in statistics and mathematics affiliated with University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of Utah, Cornell University, University of Wisconsin, Southern Methodist University, Case Western Reserve University and Temple University. Their study does not support claims made by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International that exit poll errors were to blame for the unprecedented 5.5% discrepancy between exit polls and official 2004 election results.
According to this analysis by a group of senior statisticians, the new data just released by the exit-pollsters shows that the possibility that the overall vote count was substantially corrupted must be taken seriously. “Now we have statistical evidence that these reports were the tip of a national iceberg. The hypothesis that the discrepancy between the exit polls and election results is due to errors in the official election tally is a coherent theory that must be explored,” said statistician Josh Mitteldorf.
Their paper titled "Response to Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004 Report" notes that the Edison/Mitofsky report offers no evidence to support their conclusion that Kerry voters “participated in the exit polls at a higher rate than Bush voters”. In fact, the data provided in the Edison/Mitofsky report suggests that the opposite may have been true: Bush strongholds had slightly higher response rates than Kerry strongholds.
The statisticians go on to note that precincts with hand-counted paper ballots showed no statistical discrepancy between the exit polls and the official results, but for other voting technologies, the overall discrepancy was far larger than the polls’ margin of error. The pollsters at Edison/Mitofsky agreed that their 2004 exit polls, for whatever reason, had the poorest accuracy in at least twenty years.
USCountVotes, a nonprofit, non-partisan Utah corporation was founded in December 2004. Its mission is to create and analyze a database containing precinct-level election results for the entire United States; to do a thorough mathematical analysis of the 2004 election results; and to fully investigate the 2004 Presidential election results. USCountVotes actively seeks volunteers and accepts donations to help make this unprecedented civic project a reality – visit www.uscountvotes.org for further information.
The statisticians' study is available online at: