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. steve in Olympia

    We need a a 24 hour voting day system where all the polls close at the same time "alaska & Hawaii" excluded..

    say 10am to 10am on the east coast and 2pm to 2pm on the west coast so all the polls close at the same time and then the STUPID EXIT POLLS would be obsolete because we would have the actual vote count instead of some bias slanted polls screwing up the system..

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Barbara

    Willy, your response displays the typical white trash bible thumping trigger happy American. Get over yourself. US needs change and a change for the better, not worse. The Democratic Party is the only answer. A big salute to Obama for having inspired so many voters.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Penn Voter


    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  4. Dan

    No one has EVER proven systematic voter fraud – even republican attorneys admit that! The very, very rare cases found are one-off and so small in number that they can simply be ignored. Statistically they don't even exist (so close to zero they are considered zero).

    On the other hand, several republican sec of states in various states have systematically engineered the voting system to either discourage voters (not enough machines, etc) or outright deny people their right to vote by false challenges. That has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by many organizations.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. Rob

    The difference between final results and exit polls in 2004 defied every statistical probability. The data was unequivocal in this regard. The only possible explanation was election fraud. Voting machines must be banned.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Stephanie

    Please stop showing results from the exit polls! I would much rather see the map of the real votes and how specific counties are voting in the battleground states.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. West Texas

    Does anyone still believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny? Exit polls are in the same catagory!

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  8. James Clark

    The real disceprancy started in Florida in 2000, when voters thought they had voted for Gore but in reality had voted for Buchanan due to the placement of the punch hole.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |

    SHOULD WE TRUST EXIT POLLS = N/O= NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Bob

    Heck no - it's just another way for the networks to make money. I agree with whomever stated here that no projections should be made until after the last poll closes.

    November 4, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Krafty Fam

    As a staunch Democrat I voted McCain....and I think we will be surprised to see he might actually pull it out and win. Anyone ever read that book about the buying of elections? Pick a face friendly orator with no smeared past and market the heck out of him...Barack simply hasnt been around the track long enough to have the experience to get us where we need to go.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Angela Naugle, NS Canada

    EXCUSE ME WILLY, just because I live in Canada doesn't mean I don't get to have an opinion. Canadians are watching this race more closely than most Americans, because we actually GIVE a crap what the rest of the world thinks of us, and UNFORTUNATELY since we are connected to America, we get thrown in to everything your stupid President Bush decides to do. I actually CARE about what the rest of the world thinks of the States, which apparently you don't. I guarantee I know more about this than you if you think McCain should even have a chance to win. SO WILLY if you don't use your brain, maybe YOU should keep your TRAP shut.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Brian C

    I don't trust the exit polls because I don't trust the electronic voting. There's no paper trail, there's no proof. We're seeing evidence of improper routing of the votes in Ohio that could easily have resulted in vote tampering and there'd be zero evidence to convict anyone. No, I trust no one in this process, especially the voting machine and IT companies that just happen to be aligned with Republican interests.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Alaska

    Give me a break. Bush won Kerry Lost and now McCain will win and Obama lose! Oh by the way, Governor Palin is a great Governor and will be an outstanding VPOTHUS. Just give her a chance and you will see what a great honest person she is.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. Chris

    No polls are trustworthy. The final official outcome is all that matters. End of story.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  16. Brian

    In my opinion I feel that people will say one thing because that do not want to be minority.

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Kasey

    Jeremy–Seeing as you are a man...who the HELL are you to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body?!
    If your teenage daughter gets raped and becomes pregnant as a result, are you the type of man who is going to FORCE her to keep that baby, or carry it for 9 months just to give it away? You are despicable!! Any person who thinks they have the right to decide what a woman should or shouldn't do with her body needs a freaking reality check!! And FYI...I voted for McCain...but that is ONE law/view, I DO NOT agree with!! I am a grown woman and can decide for myself what I choose to do or not do. And even though for myself I would never choose it (unless put in that circumstance), but I am not someone's keeper/boss. If a woman feels that's what it best for her then so be is not your decision to make that for her!! I hope you never have to deal with a teenage pregnancy that resulted from's NOT pretty!!!

    November 4, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Jack

    Well, I guess they showed us black people who's running thangs.

    November 4, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. an Italian outside guy

    Hi there, good luck everyone, independetly form parties. Usually I am one that goes against commonly accepted trends.. and in this sense, I would like just to make a comment, out of the chorus (even the italian one): changing does not mean just changing the colour of the skin.. I think every sane person in this world have accepted equal rights as an universal value, but here now we risk to do the opposite, discriminating a white guy just because he's not black and he's even old. Just ask yourself one thing: how many coloured people will vote McCain? how many white ones will vote Obama? and if you answer this, then think about how much fair is this.
    The most fair thing, would have been having 2 black candidates for all parties. I wish you all the best and I hope, whoever will win, he'll do a great job for you and the world.

    All the best

    November 4, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Vicky

    I, personally, don't put too much weight in the exit polls. I remember vividly when Kerry was being considered. I thought he had it in the bag but, come to find out when all was said and done, he didn't. I'll be waiting for the final talley when every single American's vote is accounted for.

    November 4, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. michael in Louisiana

    U should trust them as much as u trust the cnn analyst. As I watch the broadcast, it appears McCain is ahead or winning in every state reporting so far. Excuse me, I forgot Vermont. According to the analyst, Obama has secured this state and 3 EC delegates. We know the suprises the EC can bring at the last moment.

    It appears to me that in everyone's state Obama has been winning this election. The only place McCain is ahead is in the early returns u broadcast.

    Pretend ur reporting is unbias and let's not create a band wagon for the undecided and mentally infirm to get on.


    November 4, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Natalie

    McCain needs to win in order for this country to get better otherwise who knows what's going to happen.

    November 4, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. j

    i would never tell any polster , exit or not, how I voted.
    i would probably give a misleading or untrue statement. it is none of his business.
    why do we have the privelidge of being able to have SECRET ballots? wait till ALL the votes are counted to know who really won.

    November 4, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Jeremy (ex-patriot for a week in Peru)

    They keep asking "why do exit polls?" I can think of only one answer: education and experience for poli-sci students.

    November 4, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Angela Naugle, NS Canada

    Oh yeah, and in CANADA, we know how to vote. We are the second biggest country in the world and have our votes counted within hours of our polls closing because we use BALLOTS AND PENCILS.

    November 4, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
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