DEMOCRACY:
Government & Politics | November 12, 2004
DO
THE
MATH:
SOMETHING
STINKS
An
E-Mail to Democratic Activists,
A
Posting in "Comments
From Left Field", &
The
Basis for Several Other E-Mails & Postings
(Nov.
15, Nov. 14-16, Nov.
23 & 25, and 12/1/04) and for
Two
Guest Appearances on "NewsRap
with Barry Gordon"
Nobody
likes being played for a fool -- by one side or the other -- so
let's examine some facts and do the math (I'll do the
"heavy lifting"). Maybe I'm missing something; but
based upon CNN exit poll data late on Election Day, by my
calculations (and I got A+'s in statistics at the University of
California at Davis) there's a better than 99% chance that the
election results, as reported, are greatly in error, in favor of
George W. Bush.
I try to take things with a BIG grain of salt. Although there is
a lot of information out there concerning possible voting fraud
in this election, much of it has apparently been debunked...
Latest
Conspiracy Theory -- Kerry Won -- Hits the Ether
Florida
E-Vote Fraud? Unlikely
Nonetheless, many of us have had serious concerns regarding the
glaring discrepancies between the national exit poll results on
Election Day 2004 and the actual final reported votes. The news
media has even reported that both the Kerry and Bush camps
thought during the afternoon of Election Day that Kerry had won.
The first question that comes to mind is, just how accurate ARE
exit polls? Well, in the last Presidential election, infamous
for the INaccuracy of its exit polls...
"The
differences between the exit poll percentages and the actual
percentages the candidates received ranged from 0% to 2.6%. In
only nine states was the difference greater than 1%, and in only
one state (Alaska) was the difference greater than 2%.
Source: CNN"
...in
other words, exit polls have been pretty darn accurate. To be
more precise...
In the CNN
national exit poll in 2000...
48%
polled were males, who voted 42% for Gore and 53% for Bush
52% polled were females, who voted 54% for Gore and 43% for Bush
...which,
if you do the math (sex-weighted averages), gives the final exit
poll results...
48%
for Gore
48% for Bush
...which
were EXACTLY the actual final reported votes.
In stark contrast, on Election Night 2004, I was "doing the
math" from what was being reported in the national exit
poll on CNN.com; and as of 6:00 PM PST (I've quadruple-checked
my copy of the original e-mail I sent to
activists nationwide, which I had at least quadruple-checked
against the CNN website that evening), over 11,000 voters had
responded, giving the following exit poll results...
46%
polled were males, who voted 47% for Kerry and 51% for Bush
54% polled were females, who voted 54% for Kerry and 45% for
Bush
...which,
if you do the math (sex-weighted averages), gives these exit
poll results...
51%
for Kerry
48% for Bush
...which,
however, are exactly the OPPOSITE of the actual final reported
votes...
48%
for Kerry
51% for Bush
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
How come the exit polls were so darn accurate in 2000 but so
darn Inaccurate in 2004? Could it just be a "margin of
error" thing?
Well, having exit poll results for Kerry 3 points too high and
those for Bush 3 points too low is BARELY within the 3-point
margin of error typical for political polling (the margin of
error for this exit poll may be somewhat higher than 3% [I would
find out later that the margin of error for this poll was indeed
3%]; but as you will shortly see, it would have to be
dramatically, UNrealistically higher for the following
discussion to be moot).
Statistically speaking, margins of error are typically "95%
confidence limits"; so if Kerry's support was reported at
51% and the margin of error was 3%, then there would be only a
2.5% chance of Kerry's support actually being 48% or lower
(similarly, there would be only a 2.5% chance of Kerry's support
actually being 54% or higher)...
...and if Bush's support was reported at 48%, then there would
be only a 2.5% chance of Bush's support actually being 51% or
higher.
Taken together, given the CNN exit poll results as of 6:00 PM
PST, showing Kerry beating Bush by 51% to 48%, the chance of
Kerry's support actually being 48% or lower AND Bush's support
actually being 51% or higher, would be only about 2.5% of 2.5% =
0.0625% -- in other words, there's about a 99.9375% chance it
just aint so.
You can see now why all this has just kept nagging the
statistician in me. People are sent to prison every day of the
week with DNA evidence that is statistically less convincing
than this.
But just to reassure you (and the historical record)...
...NOW posted on the CNN website...
...the FINAL
exit poll results are in...
46%
polled were males, who voted 44% for Kerry and 55% for Bush
54% polled were females, who voted 51% for Kerry and 48% for
Bush
...which,
if you do the math (sex-weighted averages), gives the FINAL exit
poll results...
48%
for Kerry
51% for Bush
...which
are EXACTLY the actual final reported votes.
Double-hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
So what gives? How did we get such a big switch in the exit poll
results after 6:00 PM PST? Were there a whole lot more
respondents yet to be taken into account? Well...
There were over 11,000 respondents by 6:00 PM PST.
There were 13,660 respondents in the final exit poll results.
In other words, no more than 2,660 additional respondents
changed the exit poll results from a 3-point Kerry victory to a
3-point Bush victory.
Is that possible? Let's do a bit more math.
The number of respondents who voted for Kerry by 6:00 PM PST
was...
51%
of over 11,000 voters = approx. 5,610 voters
The
number of respondents who voted for Bush by 6:00 PM PST was...
48%
of over 11,000 voters = approx. 5,280 voters
Let's
contrast those numbers with the voting patterns of the less than
2,660 voters who responded after 6:00 PM PST.
The number of respondents who voted for Kerry in the final exit
poll results was...
48%
of 13,660 voters = 6,557 voters...an increase of about 950
voters over the 6:00 PM returns = approx. 36% of the final 2,660
respondents
The
number of respondents who voted for Bush in the final exit poll
returns was...
51%
of 13,660 voters = 6,967 voters...an increase of about 1,690
voters over the 6:00 PM returns = approx. 63% of the final 2,660
respondents
In
other words, after the first 11,000-plus respondents to the CNN
exit poll voted...
51%
for Kerry
48% for Bush
...the
final 2,660-minus respondents voted approximately...
36%
for Kerry
63% for Bush
...which
means that EITHER the CNN exit poll results as of 6:00 PM PST,
for over 11,000 respondents (approximately 10 times as many as
in any typical pre-election poll), were terribly biased in favor
of Kerry -- far beyond any reasonable margin of error -- OR the
final CNN exit poll results are terribly biased in favor of Bush
(and posted for posterity).
I try to keep an open mind about things (the advantage of having
nothing between my ears!); but unless I am presented with
factual evidence to the contrary, I am forced to conclude,
mathematically, that...
EITHER the national exit poll results for President as reported
by CNN (and others) until at least 6:00 PM PST on Election Day
2004 -- by which time the responses of over 11,000 of the
eventual 13,660 respondents had been tallied -- not only were
far less accurate than the exit poll results in the year 2000
but also were in error far beyond any reasonable margin of
error...
OR the final reported votes for President nationwide were far
from accurate, with the error dramatically in favor of George W.
Bush.
Would anyone care to challenge that, mathematically?
(That's a rhetorical question; I'm pooped!)
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