The Washington Times - November 4, 2008, 04:16PM

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Carl Bialik, exit polls have the potential to lead “election watchers” astray.

Mr. Bialik said that exit polls favoring Sen. John Kerry were wrong in the 2004 presidential election and that the polls missed the mark when it came to this year’s Democratic primaries:


“Even final exit-poll numbers are subject to greater sampling error than telephone polls, in part because there are two stages of random selection: first, of precincts in which to poll, and second, of voters at those precincts. Also, because they are conducted in person, interviewers may have a bigger effect on respondents. The 2004 exit polls showed Kerry winning by 5.5 percentage points nationally and overstated his vote share by more than the margin of error in 26 states, according to a post-election analysis by the exit pollsters. Younger interviewers had bigger errors toward Kerry.”

In short, the public will have to wait for the final tally of votes to know who won the race.

— Christopher Shaver, intern, The Washington Times