This e-mail from a GOP insider is worth reading and passing on:
There are media reports that we are behind in early exit polls. Here’s my sense of things. The early exit poll numbers are hard to make sense of right now, until we dissect and analyze them, which is being done even now. It’s of course still early, and it depends on where in the state the numbers are coming from. Much more importantly, our data also suggests what Drudge is reporting: the early samples are heavily weighted toward women (58 percent), which would of course give an artificial advantage to Senator Kerry. That imbalance will not hold up. Indeed, among men we are winning 53-45. To put it another way: if we’d one down in states with a sample that is heavily female, we’re in good shape with the overall population. To put it a third way: it looks like the first exit polls are a reflection of the composition of the electorate, not how the president is performing. Once those return to norm, the President should gain several points (2-3 pts) and Senator Kerry should lose several points (2-3 pts), giving the President the lead in a number of states.
Also of note: right now we are ahead among Catholic in Wisconsin by ten points (we lost Catholics in Wisconsin in 2000). The same is true of Pennsylvania. And in the early exits nationally, we are getting 40 percent of the Hispanic vote (in 2000, we received 35 percent).
One other thing: the early exit polls in 2000 looked a good deal bleaker than what we are seeing today. For example, early exit polls in 2000 showed us down by four in Arizona; we won by six. Early exit polls in 2000 showed us even in Colorado; we won by nine. And early exit polls in 2000 showed us down by three in Florida; we ended up slightly more than even.
I’m not being Pollyannaish here; the race will be a close one. But I would simply caution against putting too much weigh on such early polls. This drama has a ways to go before it fully unfolds.