Response to the TruthIsAll FAQ
Richard Charnin (TruthIsAll)
April 8, 2012
This is an updated response to Mark Lindeman’s TruthIsAll FAQ, written in 2006. It is a summary version of the original which includes 2008 election results. This is the original Response to the TruthIsAll FAQ
Mark Lindeman is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bard College, NY. He wrote Beyond Exit Poll Fundamentalism to refute the argument that elections are systemically fraudulent and that exit polls are adjusted to match the recorded vote. http://www.marklindeman.org/beyond-epf.pdf
Lindeman was also refuted by mathematician Kathy Dopp of the National Election Data Archive: http://electionmathematics.org/em-exitpolls/OH/2004Election/Mark-Lindeman-Response.pdf
Since the last update, unadjusted state and national presidential exit polls have been made available on the Roper UConn site. I created a spreadsheet database of 1988-2008 unadjusted state and national presidential exit polls. It contains detailed polling and recorded vote statistics organized for each election in separate worksheets. Graphics and tabular analysis worksheets were also included.
The data shows a consistent pattern of massive one-sided state and national exit poll discrepancies from the recorded vote and further debunks the arguments presented by Lindeman in the original TIA FAQ.
For example, the Democrats won the 1988-2008 state unadjusted exit polls and the National Exit Polls by an identical 52-42%. The average recorded vote margin was just 48-46%. The 8% average margin discrepancy is much bigger than we had been led to believe by the exit pollsters prior to the Roper listing. The 7% exit poll discrepancy in 2004 was not unique. In fact, 2008 was much worse. The aggregate state exit poll discrepancy was 11%; the National Exit Poll a whopping 17%.
In every election, the data shows that the final, official National Exit Poll was forced to match the recorded vote with no change in the number of unadjusted exit poll respondents.
Before the Roper data became available, I created the 1988-2008 Presidential True Vote Model. The unadjusted exit polls closely matched and confirmed the model. Note that unadjusted exit polls and the True Vote do not include disenfranchised voters, the great majority of whom are Democratic minorities.
I wrote two books on election fraud analysis: Matrix of Deceit: Forcing-Pre-Election and Exit Polls to Match Fraudulent Vote Counts and Proving Election Fraud: Phantom Voters, Uncounted Votes, and the National Exit Poll
Voters today are much more aware of systemic election fraud than they were in 2004. In that election, the mainstream media hoodwinked millions into believing that Bush won a three million vote “mandate”. The media prepares the scam with Likey Voter pre-election polls that are biased in favor of the GOP. After the election, the National Election Pool (NEP) exit pollsters adjust the numbers in order to match the (bogus) recorded votes with adjustments that are mathematically impossible. See the 1992, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.
It should be obvious to anyone paying attention that the lock down on serious election fraud analysis proves media complicity.
For example, consider the media myth that the 2000 election was close. Gore won by 540,000 recorded votes (48.4-47.9%). But he led the unadjusted state exit polls (58,000 respondents) by 50.8-44.4%, a 6 million vote margin. He also led in the unadjusted National Exit Poll by 48.5-46.3%. The exit polls confirmed the True Vote Model – and vice-versa.
Bush stole Florida and the election by 537 official votes. But pre-election and unadjusted exit polls indicated that Gore easily won the state. There were at least 185,000 spoiled, uncounted ballots (underpunched and overpunched). Gore had at least 110,000 votes – a minimum 40,000 margin.
Serious election researchers agree that the 2004 election was stolen. Further Confirmation Of a Kerry Landslide is a complete analysis of the 2004 election.
In the 2006 midterms, a Democratic Tsunami gave them control of congress, but the unadjusted exit polls (56.4%) indicate they did much better than the official 53%. The statistical evidence indicates that election fraud cut the 12% Democratic landslide margin in half, costing them 10-20 House seats. The landslide was denied.
In 2008, Obama won by 9.5 million recorded votes with a 52.9% share. But the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (82,000 respondents) indicate that he had 58.0%. He had a whopping 61% share in the unadjusted National Exit Poll (17,836 respondents).
The post-election True Vote Model calculated a feasible returning 2004 voter mix and used the published National Exit Poll (NEP) vote shares: Obama had 58.0% and won by 23 million votes. The landslide was denied.
Response to the TruthIsAll FAQ – Updated for 2008
Mark Lindeman wrote the TruthIsAll FAQ in late 2006. Mark has been posting non-stop since 2005 trying to debunk the work of scores of independent election analysts who cite pre-election and exit polls as powerful evidence that Kerry easily won the True Vote in 2004 and that the 2006 Democratic landslide was denied by election fraud.
Mark posts as “On the Other Hand” on the Democratic Underground and “Hudson Valley Mark” on Daily Kos (as well as on numerous other forums). He quickly responds to posts that analyze pre-election and exit polls – and invariably attempts to debunk them if they are presented as indicators of election fraud. But it’s a good thing that Mark wrote the FAQ. By doing so, he provides a snapshot summary of the polling debates which are still taking place on various election forums. And the TIA FAQ provides a forum for presenting new and updated evidence of systemic election fraud based on pre-election and post-election polling analysis.
In June 2006 Farhad Manjoo, writing in Salon, wrote a hit piece rebuttal to the RFK Jr. Rolling Stone article Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Farhad claimed to have consulted with Lindeman as a primary adviser in writing the piece. The article was immediately debunked by a number of well-respected election researchers. They noticed a number of statistical and logical errors.
In January 2007, I wrote the Response to the TruthIsAll FAQ along with a detailed statistical analysis.
The 2006 and 2008 election results confirmed that the 2004 election was indeed a Kerry landslide and that Gore won by much more than the recorded 540,000 vote margin. And this was long before the Roper UConn release of the unadjusted exit polls which provided a conclusive confirmation.
That is what the evidence shows, regardless of whether or not it is ever discussed in the media. Statistical analysts and political scientists who have looked at the evidence must be well aware of the systemic fraud, but job security and unwillingness of Democratic politicians and the mainstream media to discuss the issue are strong incentives to perpetuate the ongoing myth that historical election results have been accurate. Only a handful of liberal bloggers have even touched on the subject. A number of books have been written which show that massive fraud in the form of voter disenfranchisement and vote miscounts occurred in 2000-2008. Not one book has been written to prove that Bush won in 2004.
For brevity, I have abbreviated Lindeman’s comments and my responses to the questions posed in the original FAQ but have added references to the 2008 election.
A TruthIsAll (TIA) FAQ
by Mark Lindeman
TruthIsAll (TIA) is the pseudonym of a former Democratic Underground (DU) regular who now posts elsewhere. Many of his writings are available at truthisall.net TIA argues, among other things, that the 2004 U.S. presidential pre-election polls and the exit polls both indicate that John Kerry won the election.
Who is TruthIsAll (TIA) and why do you care what he says?
I don’t know who he is. Apparently he has worked in quantitative analysis for many years; he has described himself as an “Excel expert.” His allegations of election fraud — in particular, his enumeration of (presumably far-fetched) things one must believe in order to believe that Bush won the 2004 election — formed the template for the 2005 Project Censored story making the same case.
Many people believe that TIA’s arguments irrefutably demonstrate that John Kerry won the popular vote and the election. Many more people believe that TIA’s arguments have no merit whatsoever, and therefore don’t bother to try to refute them. I do not like to see weak arguments go unchallenged. (But plenty of people have criticized TIA’s arguments — I make no claim to originality.)
I also think that these particular weak arguments lead to poor political judgments. If TruthIsAll is right, it follows that the 2004 election was obviously stolen. So, one might conclude, among other things, that (1) most voters preferred Kerry to Bush, (2) Democratic political leaders are effectively complicit in a cover-up, and (3) Democrats cannot win crucial elections until and unless the current voting systems are thrown out. I disagree with all of these conclusions.
(Now that the Democrats have won House and Senate majorities in the 2006 election, argument #3 must be modulated. Fraud-minded observers now often argue that the Republicans stole some votes and even some seats, but that either for some reason they could not — or did not dare? — steal enough votes, or that they had to decide how many votes to steal several weeks in advance, and were caught flat-footed by a late Democratic surge. As I address on the Miscellaneous page, I have seen no convincing evidence of widespread vote miscount.
OK, so what are TIA’s arguments?
He has many posts, but many of them make these basic claims:
Pre-election polls (both state and national) gave Kerry better than a 99% chance of winning the election.
Well-established political generalizations, such as the “incumbent rule,” buttress the conclusion that Kerry should have won.
The exit polls gave Kerry a lead in the popular vote well beyond the statistical margin of error, and diverged substantially from the official results in many states, generally overstating Kerry’s vote total. (This claim is largely true, although not everything TIA says about it is.)
Fraud is the only good explanation of the exit poll discrepancies. In particular, there is no good reason to believe that Kerry voters participated in the exit polls at a higher rate than Bush voters. Since Kerry did better than Bush among people who did not vote in 2000, Bush would have had to do much better among Gore 2000 voters than Kerry did among Bush 2000 voters — and that can’t have happened.
It is pretty easy to look around and determine that not many political scientists are expressing agreement with these views. But why not? It could be that political scientists have a status quo bias and/or are afraid to rock the boat by confronting unpleasant truths; perhaps some are even paid by Karl Rove. It could be that political scientists simply haven’t looked at the evidence. It could be that political scientists see gaping holes in TIA’s arguments. It could be some combination of those factors, and others besides. For what it’s worth, I will explain at some length why I don’t agree with TIA’s views.
Please note that this is not a one-size-fits-all election integrity FAQ.
Do you think that electronic voting machines are almost ridiculously insecure and unreliable?
I do, although I certainly don’t agree with every word of every critic. Do you think that John Kerry won or should have won Ohio? You may be right. I don’t know. I doubt it, but I haven’t set out to knock down each and every argument about fraud or vote suppression in the 2004 election — in fact, I agree with several of them. But the arguments (by TIA and others) that Kerry won the popular vote are not at all likely to be true, in my opinion.I have rarely quoted TIA at length because (1) the FAQ is already very long and (2) TIA’s writing is often hard to read. But if you think I have mischaracterized one of his arguments, or if you have other questions or comments about the FAQ, please feel free to contact me at [my last name]@bard.edu.
These are just a few well-known researchers whose analyses confirm mine: Steve Freeman, Ron Baiman, Jonathan Simon, Kathy Dopp, Greg Palast, RFK Jr., Mark C. Miller, Bob Fitrakis, Michael Keefer, John Conyers, Richard Hayes Phillips, Paul Lehto, etc. At least four have advanced degrees in applied mathematics or systems analysis. I have three degrees in applied mathematics.
It would be useful if Mark would mention the names of the political scientists or statisticians who disagree with my analysis and believe that Bush won the election fairly in 2004. How do they account for his 3 million “mandate”? How do they explain where Bush found 16 million new voters net of voter mortality and turnout? What are their confirming demographics? Do any of the analysts you refer to have degrees in mathematics or statistics? Did their 2004 projections match the exit polls? Or did they match the vote miscount? Have any of them ever written about or considered election fraud in their analysis? Have they analyzed the impact of uncounted votes on election results? What is their track record? Were their projections based on economic or political factors or did they use state and national polling? What was the time period between their final projections and Election Day?
FAQ Summary and Response
1. The Pre-Election Polls
1.1. What did the national pre-election polls indicate?
According to most observers, most pre-election polls put George W. Bush slightly ahead of John Kerry.
That is simply not the case. Kerry led the pre-election polls from July to Election Day except for a few weeks in September. Real Clear Politics is often cited as the data source but it only listed final Likely Voter (LV polls) – but not one Registered Voter (RV) poll. The final five pre-election polls from CBS, FOX, Gallup, ABC, and Pew had the race essentially tied. Kerry led the five-poll RV average 47.2-46.0; Bush led the LV average 48.8-48.0. Gallup’s RV sample had Kerry leading 48-46; the LV subset had Bush leading 49-47. Gallup allocated 90% of the undecided vote (UVA) to the challenger, so their final prediction was 49-49. Kerry led in the final battleground state polls.
The final five LV samples predicted an average 82.8% voter turnout, but according to post-election Census data, turnout was 88.5%. A regression analysis indicated that Kerry had 48.9% given the 82.8% prediction or 49.3% assuming he had 75% of undecided voters (UVA). But he had 51.3% given the 88.5% turnout and 52.6% with a 75% UVA. Kerry’s pre-election RV polls were 2-3% better than the LV subset since a solid majority of newly registered voters were Democrats.
2008 Update: The Pre-election RV polls had Obama leading by 52-39%. He led the LV subsets (the only ones listed at RCP) by 50-43%. Neither average includes an allocation of undecided voters.
1.2. How does TIA come up with those 99+% probabilities of a Kerry victory?
Basically, those probabilities (for both state and national polls) assume that all his assumptions (for instance, about how “undecided” voters will vote) are right, and that the only source of uncertainty is random sampling error.
The 2004 Election Model assumed a final 75% undecided voter allocation (UVA) percentage; but provided scenarios ranging from 60-87%. The 5000 trial Monte Carlo EV simulation gave Kerry a 98.0% win probability assuming 60% UVA (99.8% for the base case 75% UVA).
The base case assumption was that Kerry would win 75% of the undecided vote. But the sensitivity analysis showed that he won with 50%. Historically challengers have won the undecided vote over 80% of the time. Gallup assigned 90% of undecided voters to Kerry. There were approximately 22 million new voters; Kerry won this group by 3-2. There were 3 million defecting third-party (Nader) voters; Kerry won this group by nearly 5-1 over Bush.
2008: The Final 2008 Election Model forecast (EM) exactly matched Obama’s 365 electoral votes and was just 0.2% higher than his recorded 52.9% vote share. His True EV and popular vote were both higher than reported since the final projection was based on Likely Voter polls which understated Obama’s share. He led by 52-39% in the final RV polls- before undecided voters (7%) were allocated. After allocation, he led by 57-41%.
Obama’s expected EV was calculated as the cumulative sum that state win probability multiplied by its electoral vote. The 5000 election trial simulation produced a mean 365.8 EV. Convergence to the theoretical expected 365.3 EV illustrates the Law of Large Numbers.
1.3. Doesn’t the high turnout in the election mean that the registered-voter poll results are probably more accurate than the likely-voter results?
No, high turnout is not a reason to dismiss the likely-voter results. Most pollsters already expected high turnout.
In 2004, average projected turnout based on the final five LV polls was 82.8%; the Census turnout estimate was 88.5%. A regression analysis of turnout vs. vote share indicated a 82.8% turnout and Kerry had 49% share. But with 88.5% turnout, he had 52.6%. The full RV sample was more accurate then the LV subset since it included many newly registered voters that LV polls filtered out. Because of the extremely high turnout (22 million new voters) many new (i.e. Democratic) voters were missed by the LV polls which understated Kerry’s projected share. Kerry won new voters by 57-62%, based on the National Exit Poll time line. But the Final NEP (13,660 respondents) was forced to match the recorded vote. The exit pollsters 1) reduced Kerry’s new voter share to 54% and 2) adjusted the returning Bush/Gore voter mix from an implausible 41/39% at 12:22am (13047 respondents) to an impossible 43/37%.
The unadjusted National Exit Poll (13,660 respondents shows Kerry winning by 51.7-47.0%. He had 51% in the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (76,000 respondents).
2008: With 75% of undecided voters allocated to Obama, final RV polls nearly matched his 58% True Vote share. The True Vote Model is based on a feasible returning voter mix, unlike the impossible 2008 National Exit Poll Bush/Kerry mix (46/37%). The NEP Vote shares were not changed. The 2008 True Vote Model confirms that the 2004 and 2006 NEP adjustments to the returning voter percentages were mathematically impossible in 2004 and implausible in 2006. They were necessary in order to match the poll to the fraudulent recorded vote.
1.4. How about the state polls?
There TIA’s data hold up somewhat better, although his probabilities don’t. While the national polls (prior to TIA’s massaging) fit the official results rather closely, the state polls do not fit as well.
Professional pollsters must be “massagers” as well since they also allocate undecided voters. Kerry led by 48-47% in the final pre-election RV polls before undecided voters were allocated and by 51-48% after allocation. The pre-election RV polls confirmed the unadjusted state aggregate exit polls which he won by 51.0-47.5%.
According to the National Exit Poll, Kerry easily won the majority of more than 22 million new voters. He led new voters by 62-37% at 8349 respondents (4pm), 59-39% at 11027 (9pm), 57-41% at 13047 (12:22am). His new voter share was sharply reduced to 54-44% at 13660 (1:00am) in the final adjusted poll that was forced to match the recorded vote.
2008: Obama had 57% in the RV polls and 53% in the LV polls after allocating undecided votes.
1.5. What about cell phones?
TIA and others have argued that the pre-election polls were biased against Kerry because they do not cover people who only use cell phones — and these were disproportionately young voters who favored Kerry.
True. Young people are heavily Democratic cell phone users.
2008: There were more cell-phone users than in 2004. It is one reason why Obama did better in the RV polls.
The “Rules”: Did They Favor Kerry?
2.1. Don’t undecided voters break sharply for the challenger?
Undecided voters probably sometimes break sharply for the challenger. But I can find no evidence that this rule is useful in “allocating” reported undecided voters in presidential elections.
Undecided voters virtually always break for the challenger. If the undecideds approved of the incumbent they would not be undecided. Mark claims there is no evidence that allocation is “useful”. What is the basis of that statement? Professional pollsters find allocating undecided voters quite useful. Gallup allocated 90% to Kerry. Zogby and Harris: 75-80%.
2008: Six pollsters who allocated an average 67% of the undecided vote to Obama.
2.2. What about the rule that incumbents don’t do better than their predicted shares in the final polls?
On average, it is true that incumbents don’t do better — or, rather, much better — than their predicted shares in the final polls.
That is a contradiction. Mark agrees that incumbents do no better than their final predicted shares, then he must also agree that undecided voters break for the challenger. If undecideds broke for the incumbent, he would have a higher vote share than his final poll. Therefore how could Bush have won if he did not do better than the final polls indicated – unless he won undecided voters? But the evidence shows that he did NOT win undecideds. That is a contradiction. Bush led the final LV polls by 47-46 before undecided voters were allocated. Kerry led the final RV polls by 48-47. Undecided voters broke 3-1 for Kerry. His adjusted 51-48 projection was confirmed by the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (51.0-47.5) and the unadjusted National Exit Poll (51.7-47.0).
2008: Obama was the de facto challenger since McCain represented a continuation of Bush policies.
2.3. What about the rule that incumbents don’t win when their final approval rating is below 50%?
TIA has stated that Bush’s approval rating on November 1 was 48.5% based on the “average of 11 polls.”
That is true. You can look up his monthly approval ratings in the 2004 Election Model. In every election since 1972, the incumbent won re-election if his approval rating exceeded 50%. From 1968-2008, the average incumbent final 46.5% approval rating exactly matched the average True vote!
Bush was the ONLY incumbent with approval below 50% to win re-election! There was a strong 0.87 correlation between Bush’s monthly pre-election approval ratings and the national polls. The Bush state approval ratings were highly correlated to his state vote and exit poll shares.
2008: On Election Day, the Bush 22% approval rating indicated that a major Obama landslide was in the making.
Describing the Exit Poll Discrepancies
3.1. How do the exit polls work?
Let me say first of all that the main point of the exit polls is not to project who will win the election — although the exit poll interviews are combined with vote count data in order to make projections.
Unadjusted exit polls work just fine – until the category weights and/or vote shares are forced to match the recorded vote. That makes no sense at all. For one thing, this standard practice assumes that the election is fraud-free. In order to force the Final National Exit Poll to match the recorded vote in 2004, 2006 and 2008, the NEP required an impossible return voter mix and/or implausible vote shares. Most people know that the 2004 election was not fraud-free but are unaware that fraud was just as massive in the 2006 midterms and 2008. The landslides were denied.
2008: The Final 2008 NEP contains impossible returning voter weights. The unadjusted aggregate of the state exit polls (82,000 respondents) showed Obama won by 58-40.5%. The unadjusted National Exit Poll (17,836 respondents) indicated he won by 61-37%.
The published NEP returning voter mix was impossible. It implied that there were 5 million returning third-party voters, but there were only 1.2 million third-party recorded votes in 2004. It also implied that there were 60 million returning Bush voters. Bush had 62 million recorded votes. Approximately 3 million Bush 2004 voters died prior to 2008. Even assuming the fraudulent recorded 62 million, then at most 59 million returned to vote in 2008. Of course that assumes 100% living Bush 2004 voter turnout – not possible.
3.2. How accurate are exit polls?
It depends, of course. Most attempts to argue that exit polls are highly accurate strangely steer around U.S. national exit polls.
Unadjusted exit polls are quite accurate. Respondents report who they just voted for; there are no undecided voters. On the other hand, the Final National Exit Poll is grossly inaccurate, since it is always forced to match the recorded vote, even if it is fraudulent.
Kerry won the unadjusted National Exit Poll (13,660 respondents) by 51.7-47.0%. He had 51% in the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (76,000 respondents). The exit pollsters ignored their state and national polls and just flipped the numbers. The published National Exit Poll (13,660 respondents) gave Bush 51%. The National Exit Poll is a subset of the State exit polls.
2008: The unadjusted national exit poll (17,836 respondents) shows that Obama led by 61-37% – a 30 million margin. He led the weighted, unadjusted state exit polls of 81,388 respondents by 58-40.5%, exactly matching the True Vote Model. Obama did 5.1% better than the recorded vote. The discrepancies are far beyond the 1.0% margin of error.
3.3. Couldn’t spoiled ballots and/or fraud account for these past discrepancies?
Probably not, although they certainly may contribute. Greg Palast offers an estimate of 3.6 million uncounted ballots in 2004 alone.
May contribute? They sure do contribute. The best evidence indicates that 70-80% of uncounted votes are Democratic. In 2004, the Census reported 3.4 million uncounted votes. This was confirmed by government statistics (see Greg Palast). If all votes cast had been counted, Bush’s margin would have been reduced from 3.0 to 1.3 million.
But in 2004, uncounted votes were only a fraction of the total fraud. Vote miscounts (switched, stuffed ballots) accounted for most of the discrepancies. In 2000, uncounted votes were a major factor. The Census Bureau reported 5.4 million net uncounted votes, reducing Gore’s margin from approximately 3.0 million to 540,000.
In every election there are millions of net uncounted votes (uncounted less stuffed ballots).
Net Uncounted Votes = Total Votes Cast – Total Votes Recorded
In order to match the recorded vote in 1988, 1992, 2004 and 2008, the National Exit Polls required that returning living Nixon and Bush voter turnout had to exceed 100%. In other words, there were millions of phantom Bush voters.
The Democratic 1988-2008 unadjusted exit poll margin was 52-42%. The average recorded vote margin was just 48-46%. That’s an 8% margin discrepancy, much higher than we had been led to believe prior to the Roper listing.
3.4. What about exit pollster Warren Mitofsky’s reputation for accuracy?
Here is how Mitofsky International’s website puts it: “[Mitofsky’s] record for accuracy is well known”.
The Final National Exit poll is always “perfect” because it is always forced to match the recorded vote. But the NEP needed an impossible returning voter mix to match the 2004 recorded vote – because the recorded vote was fraudulent. The unadjusted state aggregate exit poll had Kerry winning by 52-47% and closely matched the UVA-adjusted pre-election polls. Either way, the exit polls were quite accurate – even though they were polar opposites.
2008: The Final NEP was forced to match the recorded vote with an impossible 46% Bush -37% Kerry returning voter mix (12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters).
3.5. Didn’t the exit polls indicate that Kerry won by more than the polls’ margin of error?
It depends on what one means by “the exit polls” and “won.”
Hmm… the question should be asked: In how many states did the unadjusted exit poll discrepancy exceed the margin of error? The MoE was exceeded in 29 states – all in Bush’s favor. The probability is ZERO. Among the 29 were Ohio, Florida, NM, Iowa and Colorado. All flipped from Kerry to Bush.
The question should be: how come not ONE solid Bush state exceeded the margin of error? Because they were already in the bag. Except for Texas, they are small population states and therefore not viable candidates for vote padding.
3.6. Why are the pollsters’ estimates of uncertainty larger than the ones calculated by TruthIsAll and others?
TruthIsAll sometimes has argued that the exit polls should be treated as simple random samples (like drawing marbles from a hat). In this instance, the margin of error for Ohio, with a reported sample size of 2040, would be about 4.5 points on the margin using the 95% standard.
The Ohio exit poll MoE was 2.2%. Notes to the National Exit Poll (13047 respondents) indicate that MoE was 1.0% and that voters were randomly selected as they exited the voting booth. See exitpolls_us_110204.gif
2008: The Final 2008 NEP had 17,836 respondents; the MoE was less than 1.0%
3.7. Doesn’t E/M’s own table show that the margin of error is plus-or-minus 1% for 8000 respondents or more?
That table (on page 2 of the national methods statement) applies to percentages in the tabulations, not to the vote projections.
The 1.0% MoE applies to the projected vote share for any given category cross tab in which at least 8000 have been sampled. There were 13,047 respondents at 12:22am and the MoE was 0.86%. It was 1.12% after including a 30% “cluster effect”. In the “Voted in 2000” category, there were approximately 3200 respondents (2.2% MoE, including the cluster effect). The MoE declines as vote shares diverge from a 50/50% split. For the 60/40% new voter split, the MoE was 1.7%. The MoE was just 1.0% for returning Bush and Kerry voters(a 90/10% vote split).
3.8. Doesn’t everyone agree that the exit poll results were outside the margin of error?
Yes: overall, and in many states, the exit poll results differed from the official results by beyond the margin of error, overstating Kerry’s performance.
It is more accurate to say that the official vote understated Kerry’s True Vote. The Edison-Mitofsky Evaluation of the 2004 Election System reported than the MoE was exceeded in 29 states – all in favor of Bush. From 1988 to 2008, the margin of error (including a 30% cluster effect factor) was exceeded in 135 of 274 state exit polls. The probability of that is zero. All but 4 red-shifted to the Republicans. The probability of that is zero.
2008: The unadjusted state aggregate (58% Obama) exactly matched the True Vote Model and the National Exit Poll (61%). They indicated that Obama won by 22-23 million votes.
3.9. Aren’t survey results far outside the margin of error prima facie evidence of fraud?
Margins of “error” refer to random sampling error. Most survey researchers would say that results outside the calculated margin of error most likely evince non-sampling error in the survey, such as non-response bias, sampling bias, or measurement error.
They evince non-sampling error? What about a vote counts? Do they evince fraud? Or is that inconceivable?
3.10. Which states had the largest exit poll discrepancies? Wasn’t it the battleground states?
No, the largest exit poll discrepancies were generally not in battleground states.
Yes, they were. The overall WPE was higher in the battleground states; the lowest WPEs were in strong Bush states with low electoral votes. Not surprising, since there was noneedto steal votes in bed-rock GOP states. The largest exit poll discrepancies by vote count were in Democratic strongholds: New York and California. The NY exit poll discrepancy accounted for 750,000 of Bush’s total 3.0 million vote margin. Kerry won the unadjusted exit poll by 62-36%; the margin was reduced from 26% to 18% in the recorded vote (58.5-40%).
Are we to believe that Bush gained vote share from 2000 to 2004 in Democratic urban locations while his share of the vote in rural areas declined? The strong 0.61 correlation between county size and percentage increase in the recorded Bush vote in New York State is one example of the implausible Bush Urban Legend. His recorded urban vote share increased as a result of election fraud.
Explaining the Exit Poll Discrepancies
4.1. How did the exit pollsters explain the discrepancies in 2004?
In the Edison-Mitofsky Evaluation of the 2004 Election System, they stated Within Precinct Error was “most likely due to Kerry voters participating in the exit polls at a higher rate than Bush voters”.
What data did they base that hypothesis on? It’s a myth that was quickly promoted in the corporate media (the exit pollster’s benefactors). The pollsters own data shows the opposite. Response rates were higher in Bush (rural) strongholds than in Kerry (urban) strongholds. Could the 6.5% average WPE have simply been due to the fact that there were more Kerry voters than Bush voters? How does E-M explain the mathematically impossible 43/37% returning Bush/Gore voter mix in the Final National Exit Poll? They can’t have it both ways. The Final NEP was forced to match the miscounted recorded vote. US Count Votes did a comprehensive analysis of the 2004 exit poll discrepancies which disproved the exit pollster’s reluctant Bush responder hypothesis.
2008: New election, same anomaly. This time it’s 46/37%.
4.2. What is the “reluctant Bush responder” (rBr) hypothesis?
What the pollsters concluded in the evaluation report was simply that Kerry voters apparently participated at a higher rate.
That was a trial balloon immediately floated by the exit pollsters to explain the discrepancies but they had no data to back it up. In fact, the report suggested otherwise; there was a slight Bush bias in the exit polls. But no one in the media has called them on it. The rBr canard was contradicted by the Final National Exit Poll. A mathematically impossible Bush/Gore 43/37 returning voter mix was required to match the vote count. Unfortunately few read the report.
US Count Votes did a comprehensive analysis of the 2004 exit poll discrepancies which disproved the exit pollster’s reluctant Bush responder hypothesis.
The Final National Exit Poll indicated that returning Bush voters comprised 43% of the electorate; just 37% were Gore voters. Bush needed 55% of non-responders to match his recorded vote since he had 47% of responders. Exit Poll response was higher in strong Bush states than in Kerry states.
2008: Expect the same tired canard: Democratic voters were more anxious to speak to the exit pollsters, blah, blah, blah…
4.3. Does the participation bias explanation assume that fraud is unthinkable?
I will present several lines of argument that participation bias accounts for much of the exit poll discrepancy, and that fraud does not.
Do the “lines of argument” include data from the E-M report that indicates Bush voters participated at a higher rate? The change in the Bush recorded vote share from 2000 to 2004 is an incorrect measure of Swing. It should be based on total votes cast (i.e. the True Vote). The correlation between TRUE vote swing as measured by the 2000 and 2004 unadjusted exit polls and recorded Red-shift was a strong 0.44.
Kathy Dopp of U.S. Count Votes proved that it is not NECESSARY that there be a CORRELATION for fraud to occur; the assertion was logically false.
2008: Expect the “swing vs. red-shift: canard to be used again. But as in 2004, “swing” in 2008 will assume a fraud-free 2004. In any case, the premise has been proven logically false, since it is easy to display scenarios that disprove it.
4.4. Don’t the high completion rates in “Bush strongholds” disprove the rBr or bias hypothesis?
No, and I’m amazed how much mental effort has gone into elaborating this very weak argument.
Amazed that a regression analysis shows completion rates declined from Bush to Kerry states? The analysis is a “strong” argument. The Kerry vote share vs. Exit Poll completion graph clearly shows the pattern.
2008: The E-M report has not yet been released. Why? It will surely show the same regression trend.
4.5. How can you explain the impossible changes in the national exit poll results after midnight?
As I explained above, the tabulations are periodically updated in line with the projections — and, therefore, in line with the official returns.
But what if the tabulations were corrupted by official vote miscounts? Given the overt 2000 election theft, matching to the recorded vote count in 2004 requires a major leap of faith: to assume that Bush had neither motive, means or opportunity to steal the election.
4.6. Why were the tabulations forced to match the official returns?
If the official returns are more accurate than the exit polls — and bear in mind that exit polls have been (presumably) wrong in the past — then weighting to the official returns should, generally, provide more accurate tabulations.
The polls were “presumably” wrong?. I suppose it was “presumably” coincidental that in the last 6 elections, the margin of error was exceeded in 135 of 274 state presidential exit polls – and 131 red-shifted to the Republican. Here is simple proof that the vote count was wrong: a significant part of the exit poll discrepancies in every election since 1968 can be explained by millions of uncounted votes.
2008: The Final NEP once again assumed an impossible mix of returning Bush/Kerry/Other voters (46/37/4%). The Bush 46% (60.2m) share is impossible; there were at most 57 million returning Bush voters – if you assume that his 62 million recorded votes in 2004 were legitimate. The 4% returning third-party (5.2m) share is impossible or the 2004 third-party vote was significantly higher than the official reported 1.2 million.
4.7. Wasn’t there an effort to cover up the exit poll discrepancies?
Not that I can see.
That’s because you are not looking for them. You don’t see them either a) because you refuse to consider the preponderance of the evidence or b) you are not looking hard enough. The National Exit Pool has not provided raw, unadjusted precinct data for peer review. When pressured to provide unadjusted Ohio exit poll data, they “blurred” the data by not divulging the precincts. Of course, the MSM has never discussed this. But that is no longer even necessary. We have the unadjusted state and national exit polls and the incontrovertible red-shifts and the impossible forced matching of the exit polls to the recorded votes. We don’t need anything else. The data that has been released proves systemic Election Fraud far beyond any doubt.
2008: There is obviously an ongoing, recurring effort to cover up the fraud. Just look at the NEP. No one is questioning the 8% discrepancy between the Obama’s unadjusted NEP (61%) and his recorded share (53%).
4.8. Is there any specific reason to think that the exit poll discrepancies don’t point to fraud?
One of my favorites is based on TruthIsAll’s observation: “Based on the pre-election polls: 41 out of 51 states (incl DC) deviated to Bush. Based on the exit polls: 43 out of 51 deviated to Bush.”
How can the margin of error be exceeded in 29 states, all in favor of Bush, and not be an indicator of massive fraud? How can forcing the Final NEP to match the vote count (using impossible weights and implausible vote shares) not be an indicator of fraud? How can the state and national polls not indicate fraud? When input to the Interactive Election Simulation model, the 51-48% Kerry victory was confirmed by the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (52-47%) and the unadjusted National Exit Poll (51.7-47%) After allocating undecided voters, pre-election state and national polls matched the corresponding unadjusted exit polls.
2008: The unadjusted exit polls show an even larger red-shift than 2004.
4.9. Is there any specific reason to believe that participation bias does explain the discrepancies?
Yes, beyond the facts that participation bias is common, that past exit polls have overstated Democratic performance, and that the exit poll discrepancies don’t correlate with pre-election poll discrepancies, “swing” from 2000, or electronic voting machine use, there is also some evidence indicating participation bias in 2004.
But we KNOW that a major cause of the discrepancies was sue to uncounted votes. And we have evidence that the votes have been miscounted as well? True, the Democrats always do better in exit polls than the recorded vote because 70-80% of uncounted votes are Democratic. The premise of the “swing vs. red-shift” argument (that the 2000 and 2004 recorded votes are appropriate to measure swing) is invalid. At least 5.4 million (net of stuffed) ballots were never counted in 2000 and 3.4 million were uncounted in 2004. The false premise kills the argument that near-zero correlation between vote swing and red shift “kills the fraud argument”. The “swing vs. red-shift” canard is pure double-talk designed to confuse. It was debunked in general by Kathy Dopp at US Count Votes in a mathematical proof. And using votes cast and the True Vote as the baseline shows that in fact, the correlation has been a strong one in the elections where a Bush was the incumbent.
2008: The media is sure to use the same, pathetic bias argument that Democratic voters were more likely to be exit-polled – among other things.
4.10. Aren’t you offering a lot of unproven speculation?
You could call it that, or you could call it scientific reasoning on the basis of incomplete evidence.
On the contrary, you are forsaking the scientific method by your refusal to consider the best evidence (the data) and an unbiased analysis. Instead you resort to faith-based and disproven arguments. The True Vote Model has been confirmed by the unadjusted exit polls. The evidence is overwhelming. You have seen more than enough evidence but refuse to accept any of it.
2008: Even with more evidence of fraud in the impossible 2008 Final NEP, Mark still invokes rBr and “false recall”.
4.11. Are you saying that the exit polls disprove fraud?
No. As noted earlier, many forms of fraud may be compatible with the exit poll results. However, it seems hard to reconcile massive, widespread fraud – on the order of many millions of miscounted votes — with the exit poll results unless one begins by discounting the details of the exit poll results.
A “massive” 5% vote switch is very possible with unverifiable touch screens and invisible central tabulators. Uncounted votes accounted for over half of Bush’s 3 million “mandate”. There were 125.7 million votes cast in 2004. In 2000, 110.8 million votes were cast. Approximately 5.5 million died. Of the 105 million still living, approximately 102 million voted in 2004. Therefore there were 23 million new voters and 3 million returning Nader voters. How did they vote? For Kerry. He had approximately 15.5 million (60%) – a 5 million margin. Gore won the popular vote by 540,000. So how did Bush turn a 5.5 million deficit into a 3 million surplus? That’s an 8.5 million net vote switch. Are we to believe that 8.5 million more Gore voters defected to Bush than Bush voters defected to Kerry? That is beyond implausible.
2008: And now we are expected to believe that were 12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters.
4.12. Are you saying that you are sure Bush didn’t steal the election?
No, depending on what one means by “steal.” In particular, I think it is at least possible that some combination of vote suppression (purges, long lines, intimidation, etc.) and uncounted votes cost John Kerry a victory in Ohio, and therefore in the election. (Obviously “uncounted votes” can be regarded as a form of vote suppression.) I doubt it, but I am not arguing against it here.
There you go, refusing once again to even consider the probability that votes were miscounted electronically. Why not? You agree that vote suppression is “possible” when it is proven by the facts. After all the anecdotal evidence of vote miscounts, you still only go as far as to suggest “vote suppression” and uncounted votes as “possibilities”, but do not consider the very real probability that votes were miscounted at the touch screens and central tabulators.
Why would election officials employ visible vote suppression in the light of day but not resort to invisible, unverifiable electronic vote switching and other surreptitious methods?You cannot logically refute that.
2008: A new election and still the same unverifiable voting machines. It’s a repeat of the 2006 Democratic Tsunami. Landslide denied.
Comparing 2004 to 2000
5.1. Why has TruthIsAll called the “2000 presidential vote” question the clincher?
TIA emphasizes two aspects of this table. First, he notes, it is impossible that 43% of the 2004 electorate voted for Bush in 2000. That would be over 52 million Bush voters, whereas Bush only got about 50.5 million votes in 2000. (Some of those voters must have died, or not voted for other reasons.)
Unadjusted exit poll update: Well, now that the actual National and state exit poll numbers have been released and show that Kerry had 51.7% in the former and 51.0% in the latter, thus confirming the mortality and turnout analysis in the True Vote Model, it’s just a moot point now, is it not? It’s a moot point now that we have proof that the 13,660 actual responses were adjusted in the Final National Exit Poll to force a match to the recorded vote.
But here is my original response to this anyway. It’s still valid because it is irrefutable logic that has been confirmed by the unadjusted exit polls – even though it stands by itself.
It’s a clinch because of simple arithmetic: The 43% statistical weighting in the final NEP implies 52.6 million returning Bush voters – 2.1 million more than his recorded 50.46 million in 2000. But let’s not stop there. Approximately 2.5 million died, therefore at most 48 million could have voted in 2004. If 46 of 48 million returned to vote in 2004, then the Final NEP overstated the number of Bush voters by 6.6 million. This is not rocket science or brain surgery.
Unadjusted exit poll update: The unadjusted National Exit Poll (17,836 respondents) shows that Obama had 61%. And the unadjusted state exit polls (82,000 respondents) show he had 58.0%. Once again, the exit pollsters and their benefactors in the mainstream media are hoisted on their own petard.
It’s even worse this time around. The returning Bush/Kerry voter mix was 46/37%. Even if Bush won by the recorded 3 million votes and there was zero fraud in 2004, the mix implies that there were 12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters. But if Kerry won by the unadjusted exit poll 52-47% (6 million votes) then there was an 18 million switch!
5.2. What is wrong with the “impossible 43%” argument?
It assumes that exit poll respondents accurately report whom they voted for in the previous election. In reality, exit poll respondents seem to have overstated their support for the previous winner in every exit poll for which I could obtain data, ten in all, going back to 1976. Lots of other evidence indicates that people often report having voted for the previous winner although they didn’t. Perhaps most telling is an (American) National Election Study (NES) “panel” in which people were interviewed soon after the 2000 election, and then re-interviewed in 2004.
This will put the 43/37 argument to eternal rest and close the book on False Recall. In the unadjusted 2004 NEP (13,660 respondents) Kerry had 7,074 (51.71%) and Bush 6,414 (46.95%). Of the 13,660 respondents, 3,182 were asked who they voted for in 2000: 1,257 (39.50%) said Bush and 1,221 (38.37%) said Gore. When the 39.5/38.37 mix is applied to the 12:22am NEP vote shares, Kerry has 51.74%, exactly matching the unadjusted NEP.
This puts the lie to the published Final NEP (Bush 50.7-48.3%) and the 43/37% returning Bush/Gore mix. We have just proved that the Final NEP 43/37 mix is a forced result – not an actual sample.
Gore had 540,000 more official votes than Bush (3 million if the True Vote 5.4m uncounted votes are included). Why would returning Gore voters, but not returning Bush voters, misstate their past vote? It makes no sense. The past vote question was posed to 3,182 of 13,660 exit poll respondents. Yet the responses to past vote question confirmed the 2004 unadjusted National Exit poll (13,660 respondents).
The past vote question was not a factor in the other category crosstabs: sex, race, income, party-id, location, when decided, military background, etc). The respondents were only asked who they voted for. And 51% said Kerry. No fog, no forgetting.
False Recall assumes the recorded vote as a baseline, not the True Vote. Gore won the recorded vote by 540,000. But he won the unadjusted state exit polls by 6 million (50.8-44.5%). False recall and swing vs. red-shift assumed that the 2000 election was fair. That is a FALSE PREMISE.
There is no evidence to suggest Gore voters forgot or were motivated to lie. Retrospective surveys matched the True Vote when TOTAL VOTES CAST was used as a baseline. The NES respondents told the truth about their past vote: In 1968-2008, the average NES winning margin was 11.4%.
The average True Vote winning margin was 10.6%. The average True Vote winning share deviated by 0.4% from NES. The average Democratic True winning share deviated by 0.7%. The average Republican True winning share deviated by 0.46%.
2008: It’s hard to believe that the “false recall” canard is still being used, especially since Bush’s 48% approval rating in 2004 declined to 30% in 2006 and 22% in 2008. Are we expected to believe that the 2008 Final NEP 46/37% returning voter mix was due to Kerry voters misstating their past vote and returning Bush voters were reluctant to be interviewed? It’s a true Hobson’s choice dilemma.
5.3. What is wrong with the second argument, where new (and Nader) voters break the stalemate in favor of Kerry?
The second argument assumes that Kerry did about as well among Bush 2000 voters as Bush did among Gore 2000 voters. Superficially, the exit poll table supports this assumption.
The 12:22am National Exit Poll indicated that Kerry had 10% of returning Bush voters and Bush just 8% of returning Gore voters. But in order to force the Final NEP to match the recorded vote, the shares had to be changed to 9% and 10%. Changing the Bush/Gore returning voter mix to 43/37 was not sufficient to match the recorded vote.
In the Democratic Underground “Game” thread, participants agreed to the stipulation that there could not have been more returning Bush voters than were still living. In order to match the recorded vote, Mark had to increase Bush’s share of returning Gore voters to an implausible 14.6%. And he had to reduce Kerry’s share of new voters to 52.9%. The new voter share had already been reduced from 62% at 4pm to 59% at 7:30pm to 57% at 12:22am to 54% in the Final. In effect, Mark abandoned the “false recall” argument. But he reverted back to it when he saw that his fudged vote shares were not taken seriously.
2008: We thought “false recall” was laid to rest in 2006, but Mark still uses it – even as he concedes that Final National Exit Poll weights/shares are always adjusted to force a match to the “official” count. Contradictions abound. Mark wants to have it both ways (rBr and “false recall”). But it’s a Hobson’s Choice. One argument refutes the other. He is spinning like a top.
5.4. But… but… why would 14% of Gore voters vote for Bush??
If one thinks of “Gore voters” as people who strongly supported Gore and resented the Supreme Court ruling that halted the Florida recount, then the result makes no sense. For that matter, if one thinks of “Gore voters” in that way, it makes no sense that they would forget (or at any rate not report) having voted for Gore. Nevertheless, the NES panel evidence indicates that many did. (Of course, the figure may not be as high as 14% — although it could conceivably be even higher).
Right, it makes no sense. It only makes sense if you consider that the Final NEP was forced to match a corrupt recorded vote by changing the 12:22am return voter mix and the vote shares. But it’s not just that the number of returning Gore defectors makes no sense; the vote share adjustments in the Democratic Underground “Game” were beyond implausible.
The Final was forced to match the recorded vote. The 43/37 returning Bush/Gore voter mix was impossible. The mix required over 6 million phantom Bush voters. The Final had to adjust corresponding Bush vote shares to implausible levels. Kerry won all plausible scenarios in a sensitivity analysis of various vote share assumptions.
2008: To believe that 46% were returning Bush voters, there had to be 12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters. But even assuming that the official 3 million Bush “mandate” was legitimate, one would only expect an approximate 3 million difference in turnout. Instead we are asked to believe that 4.5 million Kerry voters (7.6% of 59 million) told the exit pollsters they voted for Bush, despite his 22% approval.
M.1. What about the reports of flipped votes on touch screens in 2004?
Many people reported difficulty voting on electronic voting machines (DREs), in particular, that attempts to vote for one candidate initially registered as votes for another. The Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS), connected to the “OUR-VOTE” telephone hotline, recorded close to 100 such incidents. TruthIsAll has asserted that 86 out of 88 reports of electronic vote-flipping favored Bush. He cites the odds of this imbalance as 1 in 79,010,724,999,066,700,000,000.
The probability calculation is correct. The odds that 86 of 88 randomly selected vote switching incidents would be from Kerry to Bush are one in 79 sextillion. The reports came from widely diverse, independent precincts but were just a drop in the bucket. Many voters know of someone whose vote was switched right before their eyes. And yet Mark still does not accept that electronic vote switching was a major cause of the exit poll discrepancies. The votes were not just switched on touch screens. Invisible, unverifiable central tabulators “consolidate” reported precinct votes. But no one could report those vote flips to EIRS.
M.2. Did the 2006 exit polls manifest “red shift” compared with official returns?
Yes. For instance, the initial national House tabulation — posted a bit after 7 PM Eastern time on election night — indicates that Democratic candidates had a net margin of about 11.3 points over Republican candidates. The actual margin was probably about 7 points, depending on how uncontested races are handled.
There is no basis for that statement. It’s a “belief” based on a few outlier polls with no allocation of undecided voters. The 120 “generic poll” moving average regression trend line projected that the Democrats would win 56.4% of the vote. The unadjusted aggregate state exit polls produced an identical 56.4% share.
M.3. Do pre-election “generic” House polls in 2006 match the initial exit poll returns?
Not really. A “generic” poll is one that asks respondents whether they would vote for (in Gallup’s words) “the Democratic Party’s candidate or the Republican Party’s candidate,” rather than naming specific candidates.
So what if the names were not indicated? That is pure nonsense! Yes, they matched all right. The trend-line of 120 pre-election Generic Polls, all won by the Democrats, projected a 56.4% Democratic vote share. Lo and behold, the unadjusted exit poll aggregate was an identical 56.4%!
Yes, it’s true: Generic polls were not a good predictor of the recorded vote. But they did predicted the True Vote! A corrsponding pre-election model quantified the risk that 10-20 House elections would be stolen.
M.4. What about the massive undervotes in Sarasota County, Florida (C.D. 13)?
Without getting into the specifics, the short answer is: I think that if voters had been able to cast their votes as they intended, the Democratic candidate Christine Jennings would have won the House race in Florida’s 13th Congressional District (FL-13) by thousands of votes, instead of losing by under 400. I have seen no evidence that the events in FL-13 shed light on outcomes in any other Congressional race.
Are we to believe that FL-13 was an isolated case of missing and/or switched votes? And there is no evidence of vote miscounting in the other 434 districts? A number of post-election studies indicate otherwise.
End of FAQ Summary Update