The Corner

Barone Thinks Exit Polls Were Sabotaged, Too

He wrote yesterday:

Why were the initial exit poll results more Democratic than the actual tabulated vote? No one is sure, though the national sample at midafternoon, which showed Kerry ahead 50 to 49 percent, was 58 percent women. My own suspicion is that some Democrats-at the command level, or somewhere below-had an election-day project of slamming the results. New Hampshire, Minnesota and Pennsylvania initial exit poll results had huge margins for Kerry-much larger percentages than he won in any pre-election poll. If somebody had slipped some Democratic operative the list of exit poll sites-40 to 50 sites in each critical state-he or she could have slipped several hundred operatives into the polling places to take the exit poll ballots and vote for Kerry. The results would have shown Kerry much farther ahead than he actually was and, broadcast through and other sources, could have heartened Kerry supporters during the afternoon and disheartened Bush supporters. When I was active in Democratic politics, in 1964-80, it would have occurred to us to do no such thing. But Democrats these days are so filled with a sense of grievance and with a feeling of justification for employing any dirty tactics to win, that this is not unthinkable. If people can game the exit polls, there’s not much point to having exit polls any more.


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