The late Warren Mitofsky, who created the first exit poll for CBS News in 1968, went back and examined the 2004 results and found that the biggest discrepancies between actual precinct votes and the exit pollsters' results occurred in precincts where the exit poll personnel were female graduate students. All those discrepancies overstated the Democratic vote. Joe Lenski, the current EMR boss, tried to hire fewer young women as exit poll interviewers.OK, the problem may not exactly be math, but rather that young women may be approaching more friendly-looking people for their input. These women were grad students, who PRESUMABLY understand stats well enough to know the term "valid sample". They should have had the smarts to get their feedback from the requested sample - how hard is that? I don't buy the idea that, somehow, the more conservative guys are less approachable. If anything, that should have made it easier - guys of just about any age want to talk to young women - not just the pretty ones, guys, in my experience, are suckers for "da chicks". It's one of those hardwired things.
It seems that the exit polls overestimated the actual vote in favor of Dems by 6-8% - EXACTLY what the Republicans have been saying all along. While the Dems have been screaming about their suspicions that, somehow, the difference between exit polls and actual votes were evidence of a deep and dark conspiracy.
I don't see this as a sea change in the electorate. I think this election is a temporary blip, much as the election of Jimmy Carter was. It's a throw the rascals out frenzy, which will result in a 2008 "let's not go through THAT again" lurch away from the new guys. They'd have to be exceptional to avoid that. Just voting pork won't cut it - they now have 2 years to establish themselves as leaders. Some may do the right thing, and win themselves a place in Washington. Some will be lambs to the slaughter, and find the lobbies and staffs keep them from fulfilling their plans.
The worst part of this is some good people are gone. No, the worst part is that some really BAD people are not. Note to electorate: if you are going to throw the rascals out, THROW THE RASCALS OUT. I mean it - get rid of the deadweight - like Kennedy. He's really too old for the job. Not to mention Methuselah's younger brother - Robert Byrd.
Next time a new broom sweeps in, try to get out the old. It's time for some younger representation in Washington. We need the new ideas.