Sunday, February 13, 2005

Exit polls just got it wrong...

From Gilbert

I know there are still a handful of conspiracy theorists left out there who probably won't agree with the Washington Post article describing the faulty 2004 exit polls, but it's worth taking a look at it. Despite knocking on several hundred doors that day, I was well aware of the early exit polls. The excitement motivated me even more. Hearing "inside information" about Kerry's lead gaining throughout the day only helped to fortify my false confidence.

What basically seems to have been the problem was the oversampling of Kerry supporters and undersampling of Bush supporters. That is, Kerry supporters were often more likely to respond to the pollers while Bush supporters were less likely. Makes sense from my experience--conservative voters I talked to were much less comfortable talking about whom they were supporting. (Yes, I do think Bush won the popular vote legitimately. Most pre-election polls had Bush ahead and had Kerry stalling on Monday. Yes, I think the voting process was thoroughly screwed up this time and I'm getting sick of the GOP hacks (Sec. of States) deliberately disenfranchising so many voters.)

I wanted to bring this up in regards to the race for DNC chair. I've seen a couple places where supporters of a certain candidate have been more likely to respond to calls for feedback on who "the people" support. While I think people who are willing to take the time to make the calls and write the letters to DNC members should be recognized, it is dangerous to consider their potential victory as any sort of "mandate" on the direction of the party.

I for one believe that a majority of Americans are Democrats. But we should be careful not to push people out of the party. We cannot push out the Roemers or the Frosts of the party. Democrats don't have to agree on every issue to be Democrats. The GOP accepts the Arnolds and Rudys, the Specters and the Chafees. The DNC chair is going to have to ask himself if he is going to fully support a conservative Democrat from Nebraska or Kansas if it means winning back the Senate. If not, the Democratic Party is in a lot of trouble. I believe all the candidates will. Will the new party activists?

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