Wisconsin 2010 Senate True Vote Analysis

14 Jun

Wisconsin 2010 Senate True Vote Analysis

Richard Charnin
June 16, 2011

This is a True Vote analysis of the 2010 Wisconsin senate race. The Final 2010 Wisconsin Senate Exit Poll was forced to match the recorded vote (Johnson defeated Feingold by 52-47%). Forcing a match to the recorded vote is standard operating procedure on the part of the exit pollsters. In order to force a match in 2004 and 2008, the exit pollsters had to assume an impossible number of returning Bush voters from the previous election.

The returning voter mix should reflect the previous election True Vote, not the recorded vote, In 2010, the Final WI senate exit poll was again forced to match the recorded vote. In the Final, the exit pollsters indicate that 49% of the 2010 recorded vote were cast by returning Obama voters and 43% by returning McCain voters. The 49/43 ratio is consistent with Obama’s 7.5% recorded vote margin. But the 2008 True Vote analysis indicates that Obama won by 57-41% – a 22 million vote margin (only 9.5 million was recorded).

It is logical to assume that there were more returning Obama voters than indicated in the 2010 WI exit poll. Therefore, the returning Obama/McCain share (mix) of the 2010 vote was changed from 49/43% to 52/40%. If this was indeed the case, then election fraud may very well have cost Feingold the election. The True Vote analysis indicates that Feingold had an approximate 50.6% vote share and 50,000 vote margin.

Vote shares were not provided for returning third party (Other) voters and new (DNV) voters in the WI Exit Poll. These categories represented 3% and 5% of the total 2010 recorded vote, respectively. In order to match the recorded vote, Johnson must have won these voters by approximately 61-35% and 64-36%, respectively. This is a RED FLAG! Obama won third party voters by 66-20% over McCain. It strains credulity that returning third party voters would switch from Obama to Johnson in those amounts.

Note the SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS which displays vote shares for various returning voter mix assumptions (scenarios) and Feingold’s share of returning McCain voters. Although the Final Exit Poll is always forced to match the recorded vote, the Base Case True Vote scenario assumes the Final Exit Poll vote shares; only the returning voter mix was adjusted. However, it is likely that the vote shares were also adjusted to force the match.

The True Vote Base Case analysis assumes equal 70% turnout of living Obama and McCain voters.and a 1.25% annual voter mortality rate. The percentage mix of returning 2008 third-party (other) voters could not have been the 3% indicated in the WI exit poll. That would mean there were 65,000 third-party voters and there were just 44,000. Therefore, the model assigned the 1.5% excess of Other voters to New/DNV (first-time voters and others who did not vote in 2008).

Feingold was a clear winner assuming that the percentage turnout of returning Obama voters was equal or greater than that of McCain voters. But it is important to keep in mind that the WI exit poll gave Feingold just 84% of returning Obama voters. This is extremely implausible. It is difficult to accept the premise that nearly one of six Obama voters defected to Johnson.

A comparison of the exit poll demographic changes from 2004 to 2010 yields some interesting results:

When Decided: Feingold was the winner in this category.
1) Feingold led the 83% of voters who decided a week prior to the election by 51-48%, winning by 50.7-48.5%.
2) He led the 68% of voters who decided a month prior by 51-48%, winning by 50.4-49.0%.
3) He led the 69% of voters who decided a month prior to the election by 51-48%. Vote shares for the last week were not available. Johnson needed 70% of voters who decided in the last week (17% of the total) to match his recorded share.

Gender: In 2004, females comprised 53% of total voters; in 2010, they were just 50%.
Age: Voters over 45 comprised 50% of the electorate in 2004 and 62% in 2010.

Party ID: In 2004, Democrats were 35% and GOP 38%. In 2010, Democrats were 37%, the GOP 36%.

Region: Milwaukee Cty had 16% of voters in 2004 and 2010. Feingold had 68% in 2004;61% in 2010.
Southeast (incl Waukesha):19% of voters in 2004;27% in 2010. Feingold: 39% in 2004; 34% in 2010.

Assuming that Feingold had just 88% of returning Obama voters (65% turnout) and Johnson had 93% of returning McCain voters (75% turnout), Feingold was still a 50.0-48.8% winner with a 26,000 vote margin.

I have included a comparable Oregon analysis. Oregon Senator Wyden, a popular progressive Democrat like Feingold, was re-elected with a 57% share, closely matching Obama’s 56.8% OR share.


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