November 4th, 2008
07:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Should we trust exit polls?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)."]
(CNN) - Remember the exit polls during the Bush-Kerry race?

Ask President Kerry how much faith we should put on exit polls.

Point: If the exit polls are as wrong this year as they were four years ago, we might expect to see a closer race in some battleground states than people suspect. May not be enough to turn the electoral map upside down, but stay tuned.

Filed under: Exit Polls
soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. Chiefy

    Do not let the media dictate the vote. The polls are not closed everywhere.

    November 4, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Mike

    "When exit polls are consistently wrong, does that not mean that the election is rigged?"

    If one party consistently benefited, I'd be tempted to smell a rat. However, after the slaughter of '06, I lean more toward polling just being consistently INACCURATE.

    November 4, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. Tat

    Besides, how many people are going to say they voted for McCain to exit pollsters?

    Pollster, "Did you vote for Obama or McCain?"
    Voter, "McCain."
    Pollster, "Now some demographics questions. Do you consider yourself racist or prejudiced?"
    Voter, "No, wait... I think I did vote for Obama. I get those two names mixed up all the time."

    November 4, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Cheryl

    Exit polls should be viewed as a guide, much like a road map to who may be the eventual winner of the election. However, just like any road map, things change quickly and the final votes may come in differently than the exit polls first show. In other words, take them lightly and wait patiently for the true results down the road.

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. JoJo

    just because obama supporters are really loud about supporting him doesnt mean that there arent McCain supporters. Who says Obama should win by a landslide? the polls indicate a close race.

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Tom B

    If you think of delinquency it occurs most often and with greater severity when their is anonymity. The exit polls may very well be inaccurate for the same reason as anonymity empowers "bradly effect" voting. I truly hope the presidential race comes down to the issues, not the smear campaigning, race, or gender.

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. lol election

    if exit polls are like 30% then you can trust them. Other than that it's a swing

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. April Love

    A FEW QUESTIONS!!! With electronic voting machines that have no paper trail, shouldn't we pay close attention to exit polls? We know votes can easily be switched on computer voting machines with absolutely no evidence of tampering. The only thing we have to go on would be exit polls. Are we sure the polls are wrong? Shouldn't we double check, if there is a big discrepancy between the polls and the actual tally!!! And as a news organization...WOULD YOU DOUBLE CHECK rather than change your polls to match results?

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  9. Billabong

    Since it is unfashionable (to say the least) to not be an Obama supporter in many areas , I suspect that the polls will be extraordinarily inaccurate this time. I think that in the privacy of the voting booth, a significantly greater number of Americans will vote for McCain than is tallied by a face to face poll.

    November 4, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Luis C.

    Las encuestas de salida no pueden representar lo que sucede en las urnas, porque la gente miente. a unos les averguenza votar por obama y a otros por mccain. así que dicen otra cosa

    November 4, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Abby

    Exit polls are how the United States judges in other countries elections to be fair. They are statistically accurate. When we stop paying attention to exit polls we're asking for elections to be stolen.

    November 4, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. dale

    Exit polls are just what they say they are . The problem with them is it's real easy to get the results you want to hear just by polling the people in a certain demographic or race or gender. The media has there golden child and they will bend the polls any way they can to what they want. People are so shocked with the real ballots after listening to all the made up poll results the past six months they can't or don't want to believe the real tally of the american people

    November 4, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. toggaf_a_si_nalA

    Unlike Alan I actually voted for someone BORN in the United States. John Sidney McCain was born in Panama! Hey Alan: What does my name say if spelled backwards?

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  14. mradams

    republicans for obama? dont you mean democrats for mccain?

    'This is crazy, if McCain wins- it means the election was stolen again.'
    we've been predicting dems would be saying this from the beginning.

    canada is america's hat... not brain.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. Rlynden

    Exit polls are a joke and a waste of everyone;s time.

    At the very least they should be named exit Ratings, since that's all they are really about anyways.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Peter (CA)

    It's been said here very well...polls are a way to ensure the elections are fair, espcecially when they are close as the last several.

    Yes, 2004 was a surprise but polls showed Bush inching ahead around Oct. 30th and Kerry never took the lead again. Which is why we had such a close election.

    But, yeah, we like the polls better when they are favoring our candidate. This year I am all for the polls. That way I know the right wingers can foam at the mouth all they want but this will not be their night.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    If anyone invokes "god" on this post their argument is already removed from the realm of possibility. This is a political argument, not a religious argument. We all have the freedom to believe what we want to believe as religion is concerned, but when you invoke it with regards to politics, you are WRONG and don't undertand what this country means.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. No McCain

    While I have my disagreements with exit pools, during teh democratic primaries, they were really pretty accurate most of the time. So I do give the exit pools lots of credit.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Bo

    as long as dems don't know how to cast votes, it aint over,


    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I have NEVER experienced an exit poll, much less seen anyone being asked; who commenting here has?

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. seth W

    exit polls really? If we went by that then john kerry would have been president in 04

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Bronson - from Canada

    Angela your painting a bad picture of Canada. If Obama wins he wins, if McCain wins he wins, lets not talk about this election stealing garbage. According to the media Obama should win in a landslide...But he holds the media in his back pocket. Since I can't vote, and yet am effected by this just as much as everyone else (permanent resident living in California) I certainly hope America remains America! I left Canada because of its obsession with social programs and government control. Just like Gov. Terminator said, he left Europe because of socialist policy, and now, just when places like Sweden are becoming more capitalistic we want to become more like them??? God bless the US of AAA!

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. TN

    John McCain deserves the majority of the battleground states! He has earned them and needs Ohio!

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. Heaven King

    It seems like Mccain is leading with the electoral votes

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. Scott

    Exit Polls are used to ensure the fairness elections in corrupt developing countries. If independent observers reports that everyone coming out voted for party A, but party B wins in a landslide, you know the vote count was rigged. Who knows, maybe those elections are more fair than those in the US...

    The discrepancies between exit polls and actual results in 2004 don't suggest that the polls are no good, they suggest the election is rigged. Anyone who's taken first year statistics and understands the words "margin of error" can tell you that having all the polls go to Kerry but then having the votes go to Bush is impossible.

    November 4, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6