The Unadjusted 2004 National Exit Poll: Closing the Book on the returning Gore voter “False Recall” Myth
Richard Charnin (TruthIsAll)
Oct. 17, 2011
“False recall” was the final argument promoted by exit poll naysayers to explain away the mathematically impossible 43/37% returning Bush/Gore voter mix in the 2004 Final National Exit Poll (NEP). It was an attempt to cast doubt on the preliminary NEP and the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (Kerry won by 51-48%). It was a last-ditch attempt to maintain the fiction that Bush really did win fairly and that the unadjusted and preliminary exit polls “behaved badly”. The bottom line: exit polls should not be trusted (or even used) here in the U.S. – but they work fine in far away places like Ukraine and Georgia.
“False recall” stated that the mathematically impossible Final NEP mix was due to returning Gore voters who had the temerity of misstating their past vote to the exit pollsters, claiming they actually voted for Bush. This strange behavior was apparently due to faulty memory – a “slow-drifting fog” unique to Gore voters and/or a desire to be associated with Bush, the official “winner” of the 2000 election. The fact that he actually lost by 540,000 recorded votes was dismissed as irrelevant.
The unadjusted 2004 NEP on the Roper website should finally put “false recall” to eternal rest. Of the 13,660 respondents, 7064 (51.7%) said they voted for Kerry, 6414 (47.0%) for Bush and 182 (1.3%) for other third-parties. The NEP is a subset of unadjusted state exit polls (76,000 respondents). The weighted average of the aggregate state polls indicated that Kerry was a 51.1-47.5% winner.
1988-2008 State and National Unadjusted Exit Polls vs. Recorded Votes
This graph summarizes the discrepancies between the1988-2008 State Exit Polls vs. the corresponding Recorded Votes
But what did the respondents really say about how they voted in 2000? Of the 3,182 respondents who were asked, 1,222 (38.4%) said they voted for Gore, 1,257 (39.5%) said Bush, 119 (3.75%) said Other. The remaining 585 (18.4%) were either first-timers or others who did not vote in 2000. When the actual Bush/Gore 39.5/38.4% returning voter mix and the 12:22am preliminary NEP shares are used to calculate the total vote shares, Kerry has 51.7% – exactly matching the unadjusted NEP. But Kerry must have done better than that. The unadjusted 2000 exit poll indicated that Gore won by 5-6 million, so there had to be more returning Gore voters than Bush voters in 2004.
Although there is no evidence that Gore voters came to love Bush (even after he stole the 2000 election), or that returning Gore voters were more forgetful and dishonest than Bush voters, the “false recall” canard has been successful in keeping the “bad exit poll” myth alive. Such is the power of the mainstream media.
“False recall” was the equivalent of the famous “Hail Mary” touchdown pass. It followed the “reluctant Bush responder” (rBr) and “Swing vs. Red-shift” arguments, both of which had been refuted (see the links below).
Since unadjusted 2004 NEP data was not provided in the mainstream media, “false recall” was a possibility, however remote and ridiculous the premise. It was a very thin reed that has been surprisingly resilient. Apparently it still is to Bill Clinton, Al Franken and Michael Moore. Not to mention the mainstream “liberal” media who continue to maintain the fiction that Bush really did win.
We now have absolute proof that in order to match the recorded vote, the exit pollsters had to adjust the NEP returning voter mix from the (already adjusted) 12:22am timeline; the 41/39% mix was changed to an impossible 43/37%. But they had to do more than just that; the pollsters also had to inflate the 12:22am Bush shares of new and returning voters to implausible levels.
The earlier proof that the returning voter mix was adjusted in the Final NEP (even though it was mathematically impossible) to match the recorded vote is confirmed by the data itself. Now, with the actual responses to the question “Who did you vote for in 2000”, there is no longer any question as to whether Gore voters forgot or lied or were in a “slow moving” fog. The “pristine” results show that the actual Bush/Gore returning voter mix (39.5/38.4%) differs substantially from the artificial, mathematically impossible Final NEP (43/37%) mix.
This is irrefutable evidence that the Final NEP is not a true sample. Of course, we knew this all along. The exit pollsters admit it but they don’t mention the fact that it’s standard operating procedure to force ALL exit polls to match the recorded vote. This is easily accomplished by adjusting returning voter turnout from the previous election to get the results to “fit”. Of course, the mainstream media political pundits never talk about it. So how would you know?
Political sites such as CNN, NY Times and realclearpolitics.com still display the 2004 Final National Exit poll and perpetuate the fiction that Bush won. But it’s not just the 2004 election. ALL FINAL exit polls published by the mainstream media (congressional and presidential) are forced to match the recorded vote. Unadjusted exit polls don’t “behave badly” – but the adjusted Finals sure do.
The unadjusted 1988-2008 state and national exit polls are now in the True Vote Model:
False recall followed the “reluctant Bush responder” (rBr) and “Swing vs. Red-shift” arguments (see links below), both of which have been refuted.
The Final NEP is mathematically impossible since the number of returning Bush voters implied by the 43% weighting is 52.6 million (122.3 million votes were recorded in 2004). Bush only had 50.46 million recorded votes in 2000. Approximately 2.5 million died, therefore the number of returning Bush voters must have been less than 48 million. Assuming 98% turnout, there were 47 million returning Bush voters, 5.6 million fewer than implied by the Final NEP.
Based on 12:22am NEP vote shares, Kerry wins by 10m votes with 53.2% – assuming equal 98% turnout of returning Bush and Gore voters. He wins by 7 million given 98/90% Bush/Gore turnout. Total votes cast in 2000 and 2004 are used to calculate returning and new voters.
The Kerry vote share trend was a constant 51% at the 7:33pm (11027) and 12:22am (13047) time lines. Kerry gained 1085 votes and Bush 1025 from 7:33pm to 12:22am. Third-parties declined by 90 due to the 4% to 3% change in share of the electorate.
False recall is disproved in a number of ways.
1. False recall is based on a 3168 subset of the Final NEP 13660 respondents who were asked how they voted in 2000. But all 13660 were asked who they JUST voted for in 2004.
2. In the preliminary 12:22am NEP of 13047 respondents, approximately 3025 of the 3168 were asked how they voted in 2000. This estimate was derived by applying the same 95.4% percentage(13047/13660) to the 3168. The weighted result indicated that returning Bush voters comprised 41% (50.1m) of the electorate. The Final NEP “Voted in 2000” cross tab (and all other cross tabs) was forced to match the recorded vote. This required that 43% (52.6m) of the electorate had to be returning Bush voters. The increase in the returning Bush 2000 voter share of the 2004 electorate (from 41% at 12:22am to 43% in the Final) was clearly impossible since it was based on a mere 143 (25% of 613) additional respondents.
a) There was an impossible late switch in respondent totals. Between 7:33pm and 12:22am, the trend was consistent: Kerry gained 254 votes, Bush 239. Third-parties declined by 13. But between 12:22am and the Final, Kerry’s total declined by 13, Bush gained 182 and third party lost 26.
b) It was also impossible that returning Bush voters would increase from 41% to 43% (122) and returning Gore voters would decline from 39% to 37% (8). Regardless, the Final 43/37% split was mathematically impossible. It implied there were 5.6 million more returning Bush voters than could have voted, assuming that 47 (98%) of the 48 million who were alive turned out.
c) The increase in Bush’s share of new voters from 41% to 45% (+31) was impossible; there were just 24 additional new voters. Kerry lost 2.
d) The changes in the Gender demographic were impossible. The Kerry trend was consistent at the 11027 and 13047 respondent time lines. Kerry gained 1085 and Bush 1025. Third-parties declined by 90.
e) There was an impossible shift to Bush among the final 613 respondents (from 13047 to 13660). Kerry’s total declined by 99, while Bush gained 706. Third-parties gained 6. That could not have happened unless weights and vote shares were adjusted by a human. In other words, it could not have been the result of an actual sample.
3. False recall assumes that 43/37% was a sampled result. But we have just shown that it is mathematically impossible because a) it implies there were 5.6 million more returning Bush voters than could have voted in 2004 and b) the 41/39% split at 12:22am could not have changed to 43/37% in the Final with just 143 additional respondents in the “Voted 2000” category.
4. The exit pollsters claim that it is standard operating procedure to force the exit poll to match the recorded vote. The Final was forced to match the recorded vote by a) adjusting the returning Bush/Gore voter mix to an impossible 43/37% and b) simultaneously increasing the Bush shares of returning Bush, Gore and new voters to implausible levels using impossible adjustments.
5. Just reviewing the time line, it is obvious that the exit pollsters do in fact adjust weights and vote shares to force a match the recorded vote. It’s SOP. But it immediately invalidates the naysayer claim that the 43/37 split was due to Gore voter false recall. No, it was due to exit poll data manipulation.
6. Which is more believable: a) that the exit pollsters followed the standard procedure of forcing the poll to match the vote, or b) that at least 8% more returning Gore voters claimed they voted for Bush in 2000 than returning Bush voters claimed they voted for Gore?
7. As indicated above, there was a maximum number of returning Bush 2000 voters who could have voted in 2004: the ones who were still living. So the 43/37% split is not only impossible, it is also irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the returning voters said regarding their 2000 vote. We already know the four-year voter mortality rate (5%) and maximum LIVING voter turnout (98%).
8. False recall assumes that the returning voter mix is a sampled result. But the 4% increase in differential between returning Bush and Gore voters (from 2% to 6%) is impossible since the total number of respondents increased by just 143 (from 3025 to 3168).
9. The false recall claim is based on NES surveys of 500-600 respondents that indicate voters misstate past votes. But the reported deviations are based on the prior recorded vote – not the True Vote. There have been an average of 7 million net uncounted votes in each of the last eleven elections. The majority (70-80%) were Democratic. In 2000, there were 5.4 million. When measured against the True Vote (based on total votes cast, reduced by mortality and voter turnout), the average deviations are near zero. Therefore, the NES respondents told the truth about their past vote.
10. The 2006 and 2008 Final National Exit Polls were forced to match the recorded vote with impossible 49/43% and 46/37% returning Bush/Kerry voter percentages. The 2008 Final required 12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters. These anomalies are just additional proof that false recall is totally bogus – a final “Hail Mary” pass to divert, confuse and cover-up the truth. The exit pollsters just did what they are paid to do.