Updated: Jan. 27, 2012
Et tu, Al Gore?
Watching The Young Turks covering the NH primary last night on Al Gore’s Current TV, I was struck by the comments made by Gore and Jennifer Granholm. Cenk, who appears to be one honest, smart reporter dedicated to the truth, brought up the topic of exit polls. Gore and Granholm immediately reverted to the media canard that they are not to be trusted.
Al Gore KNOWS he won in 2000 and that the exit polls indicated just that in Florida until 16,000 votes were DEDUCTED from Gore’s total in Volusia county. At that point, Fox News called Florida for Bush and the other networks immediately did likewise. Al Gore KNOWS that exit polls are very accurate; his comment was a real letdown to this analyst who has always been a fan.
For Gore and Granholm to dismiss the “unreliable” exit polls, they would also have to dismiss the following 2000 election facts.
1988-2008 state and national unadjusted exit polls and recorded votes
Gore beat Bush by 540,000 recorded votes(48.4-47.9%). But he won the aggregate unadjusted state exit polls (56,000 respondents) by 50.8-44.5% – a 6 million vote margin. Coincidentally, according to the Census, there were nearly 6 million uncounted votes (spoiled, provisional, absentee), of which 75-80% were Gore votes. Therefore, uncounted votes account for approximately one half of the 6 million exit poll discrepancy.
Now consider Florida which Bush “won” by 537 recorded votes. But there were nearly 200,000 spoiled ballots, of which 70% were Gore votes – a combination of underpunched, overpunched and “butterfly” ballots. That’s a net loss to Gore of 80,000 votes right there. But how many TOTAL ballots (spoiled, provisional, absentee, etc.) were never counted?
Investigative reporter Greg Palast calculated that spoiled ballots of African-Americans cost Gore 77,000 votes:
Here’s how to estimate the effect of spoilage on the election outcome. For fun, let’s take Florida 2000. We know from comparison of census tracts to precincts that 54% of the 179,855 ballots “spoiled” were cast by African-American voters, that is, 97,000 of the total.
Every poll put the Black vote in Florida for Al Gore at over 90%. Reasonably assuming “spoiled” ballots matched the typical racial preferences, Gore lost more than 87,000 votes in the spoilage pile. Less than 10% of the African-American population voted for Mr. Bush, i.e. Bush lost no more than 10,000 votes to spoilage. The net effect: Gore had a plurality of at least 77,000 within the uncounted ballots cast by Black citizens.
OK, then, what about “Non-Black” voters, whose votes made up the remaining 46% of the spoilage pile? Well, frankly, you can ignore these, as these voters split their vote somewhat evenly between Gore and Bush. Sticklers wanting a closer exam would note that Gore probably won a majority of these votes as well. Moreover, the only large group of spoiled votes in a wealthy white county occurred in Palm Beach (due to “butterfly” ballots), a rare, rich white group of strongly Democratic voters.
Gore won the unadjusted Florida exit poll in a landslide 53.4-43.6%. There were 1816 respondents (a 3% margin of error), so there was a 95% probability that Gore’s share was between 50.4% and 56.4% – and a 97.5% probability that his share was at least 50.4%, a 230,000 vote margin. So how do we account for the 230,000 discrepancy from Bush’s 537 recorded vote margin?
Let’s be conservative. We will assume that the uncounted ballots were all spoiled ballots. According to the Census, there were 43,000 Net Uncounted votes (uncounted – stuffed ballots)in Florida.
Since Stuffed ballots is equal to Gross uncounted (200,000 spoiled) less Net uncounted (43,000), there must have been 157,000 stuffed ballots.
Therefore, Gore’s margin was reduced by approximately 80,000 from 200,000 spoiled ballots and another 157,000 from stuffed (presumably Bush) ballots. The 237,000 total is within 7,000 of the 230,000 calculated above. And that is being conservative. Remember, we are assuming that a) Gore’s vote share was 3% lower than his unadjusted 53.4% exit poll share and b) all of the uncounted votes were the result of 200,000 spoiled ballots. We have ignored absentee and provisional ballots – and votes switched or dropped in cyberspace.
President Gore, what is the mission of Current TV? To be truly independent and fact-based, or just another clone of the mainstream media?
President Gore, you won a mini-landslide in 2000:
Unadjusted National Exit Poll
Gore Bush Buch Nader Other Total
6,359 6,065 76 523 85 13,108
48.5% 46.3% .6% 4% .6% 100%
Unadjusted State Exit Poll Aggregate
Voted'96 Cast Mix Gore Bush Other
New/DNV 19,949 18% 52% 43% 5%
Clinton 47,655 43% 87% 10% 3%
Dole... 34,356 31% 7% 91% 2%
Perot... 8,866 8% 23% 65% 12%
Total. 110,825 100% 50.8% 45.4% 3.8%
Votes. 110,825 56,277 50,370 4,178
Note: I am including this report and will provide my comments later.
Election Model Forecast; Post-election True Vote Model
2004 (2-party vote shares)
Model: Kerry 51.8%, 337 EV (snapshot)
State exit poll aggregate: 51.7%, 337 EV
Recorded Vote: 48.3%, 255 EV
True Vote Model: 53.6%, 364 EV
US Count Votes did a comprehensive analysis of the 2004 exit poll discrepancies which disproved the exit pollster’s reluctant Bush responder hypothesis.
Model: Obama 53.1%, 365.3 EV (simulation mean);
Recorded: 52.9%, 365 EV
State exit poll aggregate: 58.0%, 420 EV
True Vote Model: 58.0%, 420 EV
2012 (2-party state exit poll aggregate shares)
Model: Obama 51.6%, 332 EV (Snapshot)
Recorded : 51.6%, 332 EV
True Vote 55.2%, 380 EV
Television’s Performance on Election Night 2000: A Report for CNN
By Joan Konner, James Risser, and Ben Wattenberg
January 29, 2001
My initial reaction is that the report is misleading at best. The authors assume that the Florida exit poll (which showed Gore with a significant lead) was incorrect and the recorded vote counts were accurate. They discourage the use of exit polls, claiming the vote counts should effectively stand by themselves.
It is this type of limited hangout, “conventional wisdom”, unquestioning, see-no-evil reporting, which finds fault with scientific exit polls but not with bogus reported vote counts, that provide cover for not just the 2000 stolen election but all the stolen elections which followed.
For example, there is no mention that 200,000 votes were uncounted, the great majority in Democratic minority districts. However, the authors cite the canard that the “early Gore call” discouraged Florida panhandle voters from coming out. This is unsupported by the facts; they had already voted earlier in the day – and were included in the exit poll.