Robert F. Kennedy, the former heroin addict, has written a piece for Rolling Stone that is quite simply the lamest piece of reporting I’ve seen in a long time. He attempts to bombard the reader with links that provide NO facts, just citations that link to other articles that are all of the tinfoil hat variety.
You know your in for a ride when he starts off with this statement:
Over the past decades, exit polling has evolved into an exact science. Indeed, among pollsters and statisticians, such surveys are thought to be the most reliable.
Which is ludicrous. You cannot force every person leaving the booth to stay and speak with you. So who do you think are the ones most likely to take the time and stay. Those with an agenda to push and we all know who had that agenda in 2004.
Hell, two research firms came to the same conclusion about the 2004 election:
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International found that the Democratic challenger’s supporters were more likely than President Bush’s supporters to participate in exit polls interviews. They also found that more errors occurred in exit polls conducted by younger interviewers, and about half of the interviewers were 34 or under.[…]In November 2000, flawed information from VNS twice led television networks to incorrectly declare a winner in the presidential race in Florida, the state that proved to be key to the outcome. And in the 2002 election, VNS was unable to provide its members and other clients with results from exit poll surveys. […]Edison and Mitofsky said problems contributed to exit poll data that overstated the vote for Kerry nationally and in 26 states, while data for four states overstated the vote for Bush.
They noted that in a number of precincts, interviewers were kept 50 feet or more away from polling places, potentially skewing results toward people motivated to go out of their way to participate in exit polls. They also found suggestions that interviewers may not have carefully followed rules for selecting voters at random, which may have skewed results.
The polling firms said they believed the exit poll errors were not the result of the selection of precincts where the interviews took place or the analysis of the data once it was received. They also said they found no evidence to suggest fraud by rigging of polling equipment.[…]The report noted that discrepancies between exit polls and actual voting results also have occurred in previous elections, but not to such a great degree. Joe Lenski, the head of Edison Media Research, said the error tended to show up in elections with a high level of passion among the electorate, such as the 1992 vote in which Bill Clinton defeated the first President Bush and Ross Perot.
Younger interviewers often get lower response rates from exit polls, Lenski said, but what was different this time around was that that factor resulted in data overstating the results for one candidate.
“You look at the factors out there, and young voters in this election were the strongest supporters of Kerry by age group,” he said. “Older voters seeing a younger interviewer may have been less likely to participate because they might believe that interviewer might not agree with them politically.”
Hmmm, funny how Kennedy doesn’t mention this.
Check out Daly Thoughts to get a complete mathematical rundown on the exit polls.
Back to the dummies article:
In Warren County, GOP election officials even invented a nonexistent terrorist threat to bar the media from monitoring the official vote count.
Now if this was true, what a blockbuster of a story this would be….but:
Now to Warren County, where officials locked down the building used to count votes and told a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that there’d been a terrorist threat. The skeptics are right that the FBI denied issuing any such warning. But it’s not true that votes were counted in secret, say both Susan Johnson, the Republican Board of Elections director, and Sharon Fisher, the Democratic deputy director. Not only were Johnson and Fisher present, so were the four Board of Elections members (two Democrats, two Republicans) plus an observer from each party. The only person shut out, Johnson says, was the reporter, “but reporters have never been allowed into our counting room before.”
Loonybin then proceeds to squeal about the purging of Ohio’s voting rolls between 2001 and 2004:
Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls…
Blackwell’s two most potent acts of disenfranchisement, skeptics say, were the purging of 133,000 mostly Democratic voters from the rolls and the non-counting of 92,000 ballots rejected by voting machines as unreadable. “It’s clear to me that somebody thought long and hard back in 2001 about how to win this thing,” says Fitrakis. “Somebody had the foresight to check an obscure statute that allows you to cancel people’s voter registrations if they haven’t voted in two presidential elections.” Fitrakis notes that newspapers reported the purging of 105,000 voters in Cincinnati and another 28,000 in Toledo. But because the purging was conducted gradually between 2001 and 2004, no one saw the big picture until the Free Press connected the dots.
O’Grady, the Democrats’ general counsel, agrees that Blackwell purged voter rolls, especially in large urban counties that figured to lean Democratic. But he points out that the purging was done legally, and he says it wasn’t necessarily underhanded. The Democratic base, he says, is more transient, so a voter may accumulate three different addresses on state voting rolls–a perfectly sound reason for a purge. As for the larger argument that Ohio was stolen, O’Grady says, “That point of view relies on the assumption that the entire Republican Party is conspiratorial and the entire Democratic Party is as dumb as rocks. And I don’t buy that.”
Which comes down to the whole point of this article, as Confederate Yankee and The Real Ugly American have surmised. The whole point of this article is to smear Blackwell, who is gaining on his Democratic opponent in Ohio:
the tone of the article he wrote reveals itself to be something far, far worse: nothing more and nothing less than Democratic electioneering, as an attempt to smear the name of Ken Blackwell, a black conservative gubernatorial candidate in Ohio.[…]Kennedy’s article was constructed for one reason, and one reason only; to smear a black fiscal and socially conservative candidate that has charisma, integrity, and cross-cultural appeal–in short, a real chance of winning. Blackwell defeated Attorney General Jim Petro in the 2006 Republican primary with 56% of the vote, and has been significantly closing the gap with Democratic frontrunner Ted Strickland in recent weeks. Strickland led Blackwell by 16 points in a Russmussen poll on May 8, but that gap has dramatically to just six points in a May 25 UC-Ohio poll.
As Blackwell continues to close in on a candidate that seems increasingly unable to find traction, the Kennedy assault targeting Blackwell’s duties in the 2004 President elections seems like nothing less than an attempt to smear a black conservative and attempt to save the 2006 Ohio governorship Strickland seems primed to fumble away.
Ohio Democrats fear a Strickland loss, but the national Democratic Party fears that Blackwell may be in the vanguard of black conservatives that may cut across racial and party lines, eroding their traditional stranglehold on the black vote.
Don’t believe him? Read the whole article yourself and you can feel your skin crawl at the blatant smearjob being done on Blackwell. There is no other reason for this revisionist piece of garbage then to take the wind out of his sails before the election.
They’re scared, as they should be.
As you can see, the raw exit poll results always overstate the Democratic vote, sometimes by as much as eight percentage points. So the fact that the raw results this year overstated Kerry’s actual vote tally is hardly cause for alarm.
Plus Outside The Beltway shows us the outright lies in Kennedy’s article:
Actually, it’s an outright lie to say that “Nearly half of the 6 million American voters living abroad(3) never received their ballots — or received them too late to vote.” Using Kennedy’s own source, here’s the truth:
- 22% Received their ballot in August/September
- 36% First half of October
- 29% Second half of October up to Nov 2nd
- 5% After Nov 3rd
- 9% Never arrived
So, only 9% didn’t receive a ballot and 5% received their ballot after the election. That’s 14%. That’s bad but the reasons are manifold. First, quite a few of these people were either not registered to vote in the locality they requested an absentee ballot from, sent their request in too late, or forgot to send it and thought they had. Second, several states were unable to print and send ballots until very late in the process because of various lawsuitsâ€“many filed by Democratsâ€“about ballot inclusion.
One gets up to a whopping 43%, though, if one adds in those 29% of overseas voters who received their ballots in the two weeks before the election. But why exclude them? All that’s required is that they be POSTMARKED by election day, not that they ARRIVE then.
Plus he goes on to detail the past elections where exit polls were quite wrong:
Mark Blumenthal, a highly respected Democratic pollster, has a superb 12/24/04 post entitled, “Have the Exit Polls Been Wrong Before? It turns out that not only have they been wrong before but they are virtually always wrong! Some excerptsâ€“see the link for his sources.
- The networks’ 1992 national exit poll overstated Democrat Bill Clinton’s advantage by 2.5 percentage points, about the same as the  Kerry skew
- An inspection of within-precinct error in the exit poll for senate and governor races in 1990, 1994 and 1998 shows an understatement of the Democratic candidate for 20 percent of the 180 polls in that time period and an overstatement 38 percent of the timeâ€¦the most likely source of this error is differential non-response rates for Democrats and Republicans
- on Election Day 2000, the exit polls overstated the Gore vote in 22 states and overstated the Bush vote in 9 states. In the other 19 states, the polls matched actual results. There was a similar Democratic candidate overstatement in 1996 and a larger one in 1992.
- In short, Mitofsky and Lenski have reported Democratic overstatements to some degree in every election since 1990. Moreover, all of Lenski and Mitofsky’s statements were on the record long before Election Day 2004.
Best quote of the day:
“Al Gore only received 2,186,19 votes in Ohio in 2000, while John Kerry received 2,741,165 votes in 2004. That’s a pretty pathetic job of voter suppression by the vast right wing conspiracy if you ask me.”
Read the whole article yourself and you can feel your skin crawl at the blatant smearjob being done on Blackwell. There is no other reason for this revisionist piece of garbage then to take the wind out of his sails before the election.