exit polls being handled solely by Edison Media Research & Mitofsky INTERNATIONAL
INFO ON THE COMPANIES AS WELL, NONE OF THEM ARE SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT HOW THEY ARE GETTING THIS INFORMATION TO THE TV NETWORKS
What is an exit poll? Exit polls are gathered by speaking to members of the public after they have voted. They are used in two main ways. They can help predict the outcome of an election before all the votes are counted and they may also include information on demographics. For example, they could show which candidate appealed most to women voters, or who got the most support from the Hispanic community. [OR THEY CAN MAKE UP FINAL TALLIES AND THEN REPORT IT, AND THEN CHANGE THE ACTUAL VOTES ELECTRONICALLY TO FIT THE CALL.]
This year exit polls are being handled solely by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.
Mitofsky International election research clients in the United States have included all the major television Networks, major newspapers such as NY Times, Washington Post and WSJ. Mitofsky also has a diverse roster of international Broadcast clients. Along with CESSI, Ltd., his was the sole exit poll for the Russian presidential elections in 1996 and 2000 as well as all other Russian elections since 1993. His was the only exit poll and quick count reported by the Mexican broadcast industry for its 1994 presidential Election. Since then he and Consulta S.A., have ***done all national and state exit polls for Televisa, Mexico's largest broadcaster.*** Warren Mitofsky started and directed the first network election pool, Voter Research & Surveys, from 1990 to 1993, later to become known as Voter News Service (VNS). [ABOUT THEM SEE BELOW LINKS]
Mitofsky and Edison Media Research have recently conducted exit polls in D.C., NJ, NY ***and for the 2003 California recall election.*** With the dissolution of VNS in 2002, the election consortium has chosen Edison and Mitofsky International to be the sole provider...
Q&A: How US results are called
One hundred million votes, and counting...
Election night can baffle the uninitiated. This guide explains where the results come from, what exit polls are, and how states are called.
What is the source for the BBC's election results?
The Associated Press are providing the election results published on the BBC News website.
The AP are the sole organisation responsible for providing the results for the major American media networks. The information they provide will form the basis for election results but different broadcasters may decide to interpret partial results in different ways.
In order to help improve the accuracy of calls - or predicted wins - during this election, and to avoid some of the problems apparent in 2000, the AP has said: "For the first time in a presidential race, the AP and its partners will refrain from making a call in any particular state until all the polls have closed" in that state.
How do the results take shape, and what are projected results?
Initially the outcome of the US election is likely to be a projection, based on partial results. This means the result will be labelled as projected until all the votes are counted.
The reason for this is that states are often called, or declared, for a candidate, on the basis of incomplete figures. The American electoral system enables each state to release partial results to the public, well before they have counted every single vote. Results are later confirmed once all the votes have come in.
Typically votes in urban centres are counted first, and then the results from more rural areas come in later. This means that partial results can sometimes favour the Democrats who tend to do better in the cities, while the Republicans tend to catch up later on as their votes are counted in smaller towns and rural communities.
What does "calling" mean?
Calling a state, or calling the whole election, is the process whereby candidates are declared winners by different broadcasters ahead of the final votes being counted.
Decisions on calling are made by individual broadcasters when they believe they have enough information, either from exit polls or from the votes counted so far or both, to be able to make a decision and declare a winner.
Are the calls ever wrong?
Yes. This is most likely to happen if the election is very close. Most memorably the major US networks, including Fox, CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC called Florida for Al Gore in 2000, only to retract that and then call it for George W Bush, and then to retract that while the result was under dispute.
What is an exit poll?
Exit polls are gathered by speaking to members of the public after they have voted. They are used in two main ways.
They can help predict the outcome of an election before all the votes are counted and they may also include information on demographics. For example, they could show which candidate appealed most to women voters, or who got the most support from the Hispanic community.
This year exit polls are being handled solely by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.
Is Washington DC a state?
No. DC, or the District of Columbia, is not a state, but it does receive three electoral college votes. DC is able to vote for president but it does not have senators or congressmen of its own.
From left to right: foreground: Warren Mitofsky, Joe Waksberg, Murray Edelman; background: Walter Cronkite, Charlie West, Martin Plissner
Mitofsky International is a survey research company founded by Warren J. Mitofsky in 1993. Its primary business is conducting exit polls for major elections around the world. It does this work exclusively for news organizations. Mitofsky has directed exit polls and quick counts since 1967 for almost 3,000 electoral contests. He has the distinction of conducting the first national presidential exit polls in the United States, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines.
His record for accuracy is well known. "This caution in projecting winners is a Mitofsky trademark, one which has served him well," said David W. Moore, the managing editor of the Gallup Poll in his book, The Super Pollsters.
Mitofsky International election research clients in the United States have included all the major television Networks, major newspapers such as NY Times, Washington Post and WSJ. Mitofsky also has a diverse roster of international Broadcast clients. Along with CESSI, Ltd., his was the sole exit poll for the Russian presidential elections in 1996 and 2000 as well as all other Russian elections since 1993. His was the only exit poll and quick count reported by the Mexican broadcast industry for its 1994 presidential Election. Since then he and Consulta S.A., have done all national and state exit polls for Televisa, Mexico's largest broadcaster.
Warren Mitofsky started and directed the first network election pool, Voter Research & Surveys, from 1990 to 1993, later to become known as Voter News Service (VNS). Mitofsky and Edison Media Research have recently conducted exit polls in D.C., NJ, NY and for the 2003 California recall election. With the dissolution of VNS in 2002, the election consortium has chosen Edison and Mitofsky International to be the sole provider of Exit Polls for all Primaries and General Elections.
Mitofsky created the Exit Poll research model and its execution in 1967 at CBS News; he continued to bring his innovative and accurate view of election data to Political reporting and analysis within CBS as director of its election unit for the next 27 years and a founder of the CBS/New York Times Poll. Mitofsky is a vital member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He is currently working on a book about exit polls.
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What to Watch for on Election Night
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by Larry Rosin, President
As you sit down to watch or listen to election returns roll in next Tuesday evening, we at Edison Media Research will have already been at work for many hours collecting Exit Poll information and helping all the major television networks (ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, and NBC) prepare their projections of the outcome. Here are some things to keep in mind as you watch, and to help make you the smartest person in the room at your Election Night party.
1) Prepare for a long night
As of this writing (only a few days before the election) we believe that the chances of a definitive "call" for who will be the president by 2 am Eastern Time is a 50/50 chance at best. There is a significant chance that we won't know who won by noon on Wednesday, November 3rd. There is a small but quite real chance we won't know who won for weeks.
2) Don't get fooled by early returns
One of the aspects of Election Night viewing that people find the most confusing is watching the tote boards the networks display showing the vote with say, "31% of precincts reporting". Your preferred candidate may be winning at that point, but the networks often do a less-than-adequate job of explaining which votes have been counted. In Ohio, for instance, Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) tends to report extremely late. So there is a chance one will see Bush leading in the vote count throughout the night, only to be eclipsed by Kerry at the wire as heavily Democratic Cleveland's votes come in.
3) Absentee and Provisional Votes will matter as never before
This year, more Americans will have voted before Election Day than in any previous election. Fully 20% of all votes are expected to come in via absentee ballot, mail-in ballots in certain states, or early voting programs.
Each state employs different procedures on the counting of absentee ballots, listing all the peculiarities could fill a book (and in fact, we have prepared just such a book). But the fact that so many votes will not be submitted in the traditional Election Day manner will make projecting the outcome all the more challenging.
Meanwhile, in all but six states (those that allow same-day voter registration), we are very likely to see controversy created by a new concept: "Provisional Votes." This was mandated by HAVA - the Help America Vote Act. If someone shows up at a voting location and his or her name is not on the voter rolls, that person will now be able to cast a "Provisional Vote", so that if this person's registration can be verified the vote will count. Given that there is no precedent for this system, it is unlikely to be administered well. Further, the provisional votes will not be counted on Election Night, and their use will probably be litigated if the provisional votes might tip a close election. Provisional Votes may well be the 'hanging chads' of 2004.
4) The Top of the Hour Action
Plan your bathroom breaks between :50 and :58 of each hour. By agreement of the networks, no state can be "called" (the networks love horse-racing analogies) until all of the polls have closed in that state. Thus, as polls close, the networks will start rapidly calling all the states with clear outcomes (as based on our exit polls).
At 7:30 and 8:30 eastern, be by your set or radio as well. Several states, including all-important Ohio, close their polls on the half-hour.
As most people know, a candidate needs 270 Electoral Votes to claim the Presidency. The poll closing times roll out as follows:
7:00 PM - 58 Electoral Votes
7:30 PM - 40 EVs
8:00 PM - 171 EVs
8:30 PM - 6 EVs
9:00 PM - 159 EVs
10:00 PM - 20 EVs
11:00 PM - 81 EVs
1:00 AM - 3 EVs
5) Nebraska, Maine and Colorado
Now here's some trivia to help you win a bet at your Election Night party. "Name the states that don't necessarily give all their Electors to the winner."
The answer: Nebraska, Maine, and maybe Colorado.
Nebraska and Maine each employ the same scheme: Two of their Electors go to the winner in the state, and then the winner within each Congressional District gets one Elector. In Nebraska, this is likely irrelevant, Bush is exceedingly likely to take all five of that state's votes. In Maine, polling indicates that while Kerry is likely to win the state, he could lose one of the two CD's. Thus, Kerry may only get three, instead of four Electoral Votes from Maine.
Finally there is the unique case of Colorado. Currently, Colorado is like the other 48 states and DC, they give all their Electors to the popular vote winner. However, Democrats in Colorado have put a referendum on the ballot to change the way Electoral Votes are apportioned there. If the referendum passes and is deemed legal, Electoral Votes in Colorado would be granted proportionally based on the vote. Thus if, say, Bush wins narrowly there, he would get five Electoral Votes, and Kerry four. The networks are not going to be able to confidently count Colorado until it knows the outcome of the referendum.
6) How do they know?
While the networks are promising to be a bit more transparent on this point, most Election coverage viewers are still mystified when the networks say things like "With 2% of the precincts reporting, we are projecting that [candidate] will win."
How do they do that?
This is where Edison Media Research comes in. Working together with Mitofsky International, we are providing the networks with two streams of data, Exit Polls and the Quick Count.
In most states, the outcome of the Presidential election will be "callable" from the information in our Exit Polls, and these are the "top of the hour" calls.
In other states, the Exit Polls will imply that one candidate or the other is very likely to win, but there is not enough information to confidently make the call. Often, the second stream of information, the "Quick Count" can lend greater assurance. We will have people stationed at thousands of voting locations across the country. They will be calling in the results from those sample precincts as soon as the votes are counted. Our system will add this new information to the Exit Poll information, and often this is the push that makes the outcome clear.
Finally, the Associated Press will be counting all the votes. This final stream of information will be added to our system to eventually (we hope) allow a winner to be called, or at least to show that a race will go to a recount or to further discussion.
This article is being written on Wednesday, October 27, six days before the election. As of today, no one has any idea who will win. Election Night promises to make for extremely exciting television or radio.
This is G o o g l e's cache of http://www.edisonresearch.com/home/archives/2004/10/what_to_watch_f.html as retrieved on Nov 2, 2004 08:36:47 GMT.
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