exit polls and what they tell us

According to CNN exit polls, 19% of people voting in the presidential election last week did so with terrorism as the number one issue informing their decision. Of those, 86% voted for Bush (and only 14% for Kerry). In looking over the results, it seems to be one of the wider gaps between the two. I’m sure you’ve heard it said elsewhere by now, but what makes it doubly perplexing is the fact that Kerry, in spite of this difference, carried the areas most likely to be hit by terrorists, those places with “high value” targets, like Washington, DC, New York and California… For those of you who don’t read the comments section, here’s a post on the subject that was left a few days ago by Chris, an MM.com reader that lives in New York.

I want to plan protests at Ground Zero. Those of us directly affected by 9/11, and at most risk for future terrorism, all live in blue states. So, why did the red states vote secondarily on an anti-terrorism platform? I do not want any of those fat motherfuckers in their bullshit FDNY/NYPD hats mooning at Ground Zero. They are guests in our city, goddamnit. If they cannot see to protect us with policy promoting votes, then they (shouldn’t) be here.

I’ve been pouring over these exit poll stats for a few minutes now (see the link above), and I’ve found a few other things that I think are worth mentioning. Here they are, in no particular order:

91% of people polled said that Kerry was the more intelligent of the two candidates, however, that fact was important to only 7% of the electorate.

In spite of everything that’s been going on in the US, Iraq and elsewhere, 49% of Voting Americans still feel as though the US is “headed in the right direction.”

74% of people said that they had not been contacted by the Kerry campaign. (It should be pointed out also that the same percentage claimed not to have been contacted by the Bush campaign.)

More people felt as though Kerry had unfairly “attacked” Bush than felt that Bush had attacked Kerry during the campaign. (As amazing as it is, the swift boat shit and all the rest of it apparently didn’t stick to Bush at all.)

The split between the two candidates was even when it came to college graduates (49% went for each). Kerry, however, had an 11-point lead with people holding post secondary degrees.

In spite of the no-bid contracts in Iraq and the corporate tax cuts (while more and more Americans lost their jobs and joined the ranks for the poor), the Democrats failed to convince Americans that Bush was looking out more for corporate interests than theirs. When asked if Bush pays, “more attention to ordinary Americans or large corporations,” only 54% said corporations (41% said ordinary Americans).

45% of those 18-29 year olds that cast their votes, voted for Bush.

Kerry held the advantage with women, non-whites, young voters, first time voters, agnostics, and singles. People who live close to one another (i.e. in cities) were also more likely to vote for Kerry, as were people who had lost their jobs, and people who felt as though we were less secure as a result of the war in Iraq. Also, people who disagreed with Bush’s tax cuts were more likely to cast their votes for Kerry.

All of these numbers, I should point out, were derived by CNN from their exit polling data. While this data is being questioned by some, I thought that it was probably still worth discussing.

Some are suggesting that these final exit polling numbers have been changed to better reflect the final official vote counts. Proponents of this (conspiracy) theory suggest that exit polling data shared earlier in the day showed Kerry doing much better across the board, and that it was only after fraudulent official vote counts favoring Bush came out that these polling numbers were changed. (If you know where the archived results of other exit polls can be found, please let me know.)

While we’re on the subject of vote tampering, you might be interested to know that House Democrats have asked for an official inquiry into the election now that several irregularities have come to light. Here’s a clip about one of the electronic voting errors in Ohio:

An error with an electronic voting system gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in suburban Columbus, elections officials said.

Franklin County’s unofficial results had Bush receiving 4,258 votes to Democrat John Kerry’s 260 votes in a precinct in Gahanna. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct. Bush’s total should have been recorded as 365.

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  1. Jim
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    NY, NJ, and CT went for Kerry, but with smaller margins than they went for Gore. Terror no doubt swayed many voters there. And Virginia, which was hit on 9/11, went for Bush.

    Has anyone seen any attempts to measure the effect of terror fears on voting in different parts of the country?

  2. Posted November 7, 2004 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Kerry/Bush both favor war and continue with the pretense that Sadam was responsible for 911 (Bush knocked down the towers to gain support for the war). And though homosexuality is a mental illness, morality wasn’t the deciding factor. Rather the U.S. favors a government led by military force and voted for the devil we know. Bush is an ignorant puppet but a “good” man, a backslapper, and the best anti-christ / Commander in Chief we can hope for. When our parents die we will lead. In the meantime youth stand in line for hours at precincts set up for Republicans who surely don’t stand in line. And partying, ok for concerts, isn’t condoned for voters (institutionalized biases which slant the polls in the opposition’s favor). So, maybe if Kerry had spoken out against killing, if the APA addressed latency as a mental illness, or if polls were more youth friendly? But for now we can only hope for a youth revolution. I suggest a vote for Eminem (go buy his album).

  3. dan from austin
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Nice post Mark. I was looking at the exit data from CNN, too. There is a wealth of info there, really. The thing that I found interesting and disturbing is that in the key state of Florida that the number of self-identified Democrats who went for Bush was double that of Republicans that went for Kerry.

    Incidentally, this 14% tracked very closely with the 12% percent of Dems who went for Bush as opposed to Gore in 2000 and are actually the ones to blame for losing the election then. These votes amounted to over 200,000 votes and handed Florida to the Bushites. This year, too disloyal Dems ought to be the story of why Bush won Florida and the presidency.

    Nationwide, party discipline/ loyalty/ drinking the punch doomed Kerry. Repubs went for Bush at a 93% rate while Dems went for Kerry at 89%. Kerry won independents by 1% nation-wide and much more in some swing states. If a few more percentage points of Dems had gone Kerry’s way we woulnd’t be in this misery we are in (and wouldn’t have been in 2000, either.)

    This may all seem obvious and not such a big deal, but this is what struck me about the exit polls this year.

    One other note: have you seen this map?

  4. Dave Morris
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    More maps.

  5. Dave Morris
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Here is a larger one of the purple map:

  6. Jim
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Forget everything you thought you knew about urban/suburban/rural voting patterns and about the role of religion in this election, and read this diary at Daily Kos (and the links):

    The diary-writer fails to note that the Gallup data on religion directly contradict the exit poll data on religion, but I suspect that the exit polls are more reliable.

    The most incredible datum from the Gallup poll is that 12% of liberals supported Bush. 12% of 17% = 2%; ergo, the liberals cost us the election! The only liberal I heard endorse Bush was Ed Koch. His one issue? Terror.

  7. mark
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    You forget the great American actor, Ron Silver, Jim. As I recall, he was once a Dem as well.

  8. bobby
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Most people don’t even know what exit polls are.

  9. Jim
    Posted November 7, 2004 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    I forgot about Silver. Grrr. His issue was also terror. (Lest anyone be tempted to blame the Jews for Bush’s win, Jews went 74-25 for Kerry (NYT, exit polls).)

    The original source of some of the maps Dave Morris links to above is at the U of Michigan:
    Best. 2004 election map. Ever.

  10. Posted November 8, 2004 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I read a number of articles today about voting issues – all benefitting the Republicans. Hard not to think that there’s a conspiracy, even if I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

  11. Posted November 8, 2004 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    It’s tough to think there is a conspiracy without feeling like some kind of nutcase. This is probably how the GOP / popular culture wants you the feel inside.

    If this were to be exposed as a Watergate-type conspiracy, this decade will “make the 60’s look like the 50’s”.

    It feels like we’re living in NIxon II, but Nixon at least had a grasp of foriegn affairs. This could be worse.

  12. [steph]
    Posted November 8, 2004 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    If nobody else linked to it already, check this shit out:
    Very interesting.

  13. Sean
    Posted November 8, 2004 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Before you list Michael Moore as a credible source this link might clear that up for you. Mark wants facts on this page and has accused some of just reiterating the talking points of Rush so here is a good link.


    and for the abreviated version:


  14. Justin
    Posted November 8, 2004 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Ummm… the article wasn’t written by Michael Moore, nor the data compiled by Michael Moore. Nice try though.

  15. mark
    Posted November 8, 2004 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Sean, maybe it’s time for you to pack up your little satchel full of friendship offerings and head on home to the safety and comfort of the echo-chamber.

  16. Sean Hannity (aka. John Doe)
    Posted November 9, 2004 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    So whitty and inciteful. Thanks Mark can you give me directions to shit so called “echo-chamber”?

    So I gather no one wants to read the article on the inaccuracies of 911. Fine just keep reading the things that tell you what you want to hear. Some things dont change Maynard.

  17. [steph]
    Posted November 10, 2004 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I enjoy your lack of a comma there. Mark has been my friend (of sorts) for some 6 years now. And what you’ve said is true. Some things don’t change Maynard. And one of those things is the poorly punctuated argument of someone who dismisses the credibility of an article without ever having bothered to read it.
    And I, for one, am glad that things like that don’t change Maynard.

  18. Sean
    Posted November 10, 2004 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the grammar lesson. Let me clear some things up for you. I did read the article you are referring to. I don’t give a rats ass about the grammar in something I post. Finally, I have known Mark for 20+ years and even though we have never agreed on much I do respect his views and the views of everyone on this site or any other site for that matter. Even though it is apparent that some do not respect the views of others who does not agree with them. Anyway I have had fun messing around on this site. I will leave you now so you dont have to worry about correcting some poorly educated non-english major.

    Have fun!

  19. mark
    Posted November 10, 2004 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping that “Sean” wasn’t who I suspected he was, but, alas, it seems as though he was. I’m sure that none of you will be surprised to hear that “Sean” lives in the very red state of Georgia. He’s a person I went to high school with, a guy who played professional baseball for a few years, and now does something with computers. He’s the kind of guy that likes to punch you in the leg really hard and yell, “CHARLIE HORSE!” He and his wife are raising lots of children… that I hope grow into fine young communists.

    And, Steph, I very much liked your comment. You are a good woman to dash in and defend me like that.

  20. Sean
    Posted November 10, 2004 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    LOL…Mark it is not Mike it is Jerod. Mike did give me the web address however. Just thought I would check your site out and see what you have been up to. Hope all is well with you and the family. I am very impressed by what you have done with your website and the passion of the people on this page. Also, even though we differ on our views what makes this great is that we have the forum to do so thanks to the internet and people like yourself. Thanks to your readers I am going to have to write to Mrs. Beddell and get my money back for our English class. If you ever get back to NJ give me a call and we can fight over a beer (or several).


  21. [steph]
    Posted November 11, 2004 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Any time.

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