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January 19, 2005

"Media Whore" Alert*

I am likely to be on ABC's Nightline tonight.  This evening's broadcast, barring other "breaking news," will examine the various questions raised about the accuracy of the vote count, including the exit poll controversy.  Chris Bury interviewed me for the broadcast, so a soundbite is likely.   MP's immediate family will want to set their VCRs and DVRs appropriately. 

In news of more import beyond MP, I am told that Warren Mitofsky has been interviewed for the program as well and will likely discuss findings from the report released today.

*Thanks to Dan Drezner for inspiring the subject line and recommending MP to the folks at Nightline.

Related Entries - Exit Polls

Posted by Mark Blumenthal on January 19, 2005 at 12:16 PM in Exit Polls | Permalink


"I am likely to be on ABC's Nightline tonight."


And considering that you are the true go-to-guy on the issue, it's well deserved.

Posted by: Petey | Jan 19, 2005 2:45:20 PM

Let's hope they don't pull a Michael Moore on you and splice together your comments! :-)


Posted by: Rick Brady | Jan 19, 2005 6:26:05 PM

Just posted this at DU.. would be very interested in your take on this aspect of the report.

Alastaur Thompson


It is my opinion that there is a remarkably large amount in that report that could be of use to those looking at the vote fraud issue.


"Within Precinct Error (WPE)
Within Precinct Error (WPE) is an average of the difference between the percentage
margin between the leading candidates in the exit poll and the actual vote for all sample
precincts in a state. The signed WPE gives the direction of this error; in this report a
negative WPE represents a Democratic overstatement in the exit poll and a positive WPE
represents a Republican overstatement in the exit poll. The absolute WPE represents the
total error."

This seems to be in effect a measure that of error in each individual precinct. This is exactly what is needed to isolate the hot spots for vote fraud.

A great deal of the report deals with analysing the wherefores and why's of the WPE's with respect to the characteristics of the interviewer (gender, age, distance from polling booth etc.)

In addition they also analysed the WPE with respect to the type of voting machine's used. And compared swing states with non-swing states.

In both of these later analyses there is a hint which is worth digging further into. Specifically... there is quite a range in WPE's by voting technology - Paper Ballots are spectacularly more accurate.... plus.... Swing states showed higher levels of WPEs than non swing states.


What is noticeably missing from this at first glance.

1. Analysis of the WPE by state.

WHY NOT PROVIDE A WPE NUMBER BY STATE.. they have charts with completion rates by state - but WPE by state is missing.

2. Analysis of the WPE outliers - and a discription of the distribution of WPE errors.

What this report does in all instances is provide median and means for different types of precinct.

It is probably reasonable to assume that if fraud occurred - then it is likely to have occurred in some places and not others. I.e. in some fraction of the 1400 precincts surveyed rather than in all of them. If so then what we really want is some sense of what the raw WPE data looks like both in distribution terms... and in terms of where specifically the highest WPE's occurred... did they for example occur in precincts that for some other reason we have suspicions.


1. A full list of the WPE numbers by precinct.
2. A median and mean WPE for each state.

Posted by: Alastair Thompson | Jan 19, 2005 10:20:34 PM

Umm... I think that if you treated each precinct as its own poll, you would find a +/-10% margin of error (n~100). It's not supposed to be looked at that way... Just my ill-informed opinion anyway :-)

Posted by: Rick Brady | Jan 20, 2005 12:29:35 AM

Alastair wrote:

"there is quite a range in WPE's by voting technology - Paper Ballots are spectacularly more accurate"

If this is the case, how does the report conclude no evidence of fraud through machine type analysis? Haven't read the report, but this statement does seem contradictory to the executive summary.


Posted by: Alex in Los Angeles | Jan 20, 2005 4:22:21 PM

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