Full exit polling results from the exit polling consortium set up for this election have been released for Ohio (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5297182/) and Florida. The results confirm the unofficial results posted earlier on Scoop.co.nz and several other websites. Namely narrow victories to John Kerry, and consequently an overall victory to John Kerry. And interestingly the results suggest that Kerry will owe his victory – if it comes - to female voters.
In Florida (where the results have just been withdrawn from view till 2pm NZT, presumably because polling has been extended) Kerry is winning among women voters by 52% to 47% and Bush is winning among male voters by 51% to 48%. Because slightly more women than men appear to be voting, 54% to 46% Kerry wins the state by a small nose.
In Ohio the situation is far more straightforward Kerry wins among both men and women voters with 51% and 53% support respectively. Again slightly more women than men seem to have voted and so the lead in Ohio on the basis of the exit polls is more of a half head than a nose.
So far as this reporter is aware the exit poll results are being published in full for the first time this year.
The polls provide an incredible insight into the motivations of US voters. Voters are broken down by party identification, age, sex, religion, race and income level and asked a range of questions on their motivations for voting. For the political junkie they are a must read see… http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5297118/ for an index to all the exit polling results.
For example in the Ohio exit polls you can see that Kerry is winning 60% of the independent vote (those without party affiliation.) and it is because of this vote that he has won. You can also find out interesting things like the fact that in Ohio more single woman voted for Kerry and more married women voted for Bush. Interestingly a majority of voters in Ohio appear to have supported the decision to go to war in Iraq, and oppose gay marriage, but still a majority appear to have voted for Kerry.
The latest exit poll data supports the final results predictions of John Zogby ( http://www.zogby.com/ ) the left-leaning pollster who came closest to getting the 2000 election right.
Zogby is picking a Kerry victory by 311 electoral votes to 213 with 14 votes (in Colorado and Nevada) too close to call. He is calling both Floida and Ohio to Kerry. However on the basis of Zogby's calculations Kerry can actually afford to lose both of these very tight races and can still win provided he picks up either Colorado or Nevada. More significantly he can afford to lose Florida and can still win comfortably with Ohio meaning that a result is significantly more likely tonight as if any race turns to chaos it is likely to be Florida's.
Interestingly on the basis of the exit polls the markets are now punting on a Kerry win. According to Bloomberg:
" Traders reversed bets that George W. Bush would win the U.S. presidential election after Web sites posted what they said were exit polls showing John Kerry leading in battleground states including Florida and Ohio.
Contracts betting Bush would win plunged to 28.5 from 57 and Kerry futures jumped to 71 from 43, according to Intrade, an electronic exchange based in Dublin known by its Web site TradeSports.com. Winning contracts climb to 100, paying out $10 on Intrade. Losing contracts fall to zero and expire worthless."