Thursday, November 04, 2004

Kerry Won. Here are the Facts.

by Greg Palast

Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided—known as “spoilage” in election jargon—because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Drawing on what happened in Florida and studies of elections past, Palast argues that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots. So far there's no indication that Palast's hypothesis will be tested because only the provisional ballots are being counted.

Kerry won. Here's the facts.

I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad.  But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent.  Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.

So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.

Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted. [See, "An Election Spoiled Rotten," November 1.]

here's the rest


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm a statistician. There is absolutely no way the exit polls could have been accurate. The polls were conducted in such a way that they violated every principle of randomness on which accurate polls rely. The polling places were not selected at random. Every polling place in the state did not have the same probability of being selected, nor did all voters have the same probability of being selected. Furthermore, the selection of voters leaving the polling places was not random. Without equal probability of selection and random selection, polls are utterly worthless. Making inference on biased polls is bad practice. As a statistician, I am utterly embarrassed by the charlatans that collect them. The exit polls were bad in 2000 and 2002. They were worse this time around.

Friday, November 05, 2004 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Brook said...

"Statistician" (if that is indeed your real profession) -- you made some pretty incredible claims without citing any evidence. exit polls have always been used to check the validity of the election.

it's not like an election is a "random sample" itself.

and, no bubbles burst here -- regardless of your pithy argument about exit polls, the facts are rolling in like thunder -- your candidate stole the election.

Saturday, November 06, 2004 1:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brook, of course, the election is not a sample. It is an entire population of votes. Therefore, one does not have to make inferences on the election once all the votes have counted. The exit polls are samples. From these samples, inferences are made as to what the totals will be. It is nearly impossible not to introduce bias into an exit poll. For one, they do not include absentee voters or early voters. For another, it is nearly impossible to take random samples of voters on election day. And the exit polls have been problematic for a long time. They were bad in 2000. They were bad in 2002. They were worse this time around. If the exit poll was so great, how come the proportion of women voters was not accurate?

Friday, November 12, 2004 3:14:00 PM  

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