The Election: Tying Up Loose Ends

November 8th, 2004 // Leave a Comment

Jason Kottke thinks that most American’s are ill-informed. I tend to agree.

I think most of us are ill-informed in two major ways, “conveniently” split along the lines of the two major political parties available to us. We’re told we have two different choices — you’re rooting for this team or that team and the other team is the enemy — and we believe that and organize our beliefs accordingly. There’s a lot of fear and emotion involved on both sides. I can’t count how many times in the last two days I’ve heard self-righteous “liberals” call the entire middle of the country “stupid”. Kerry voters, we need to get over ourselves…we’re not special. We’re not informed by some superior intelligence that gives us a unique insight into how the world should work. We buy into the Democratic Party/liberal/anti-conservative/fear the church crap in the same way that our “red state” brethren buy into the Rebublican Party/conservative/anti-liberal/fear the gays bullshit. [read the full post at kottke.org]

I think that the Democratic party needs to really focus on what they believe in, as a unified party. We’re all over the board. What matter’s most to us as a party. Right now the Democratic Party is a niche party. It’s like expanded cable, there’s a little bit for everyone. Check out the Election 2004 Results map to really see how diverse the country is. It’s not nearly as divided as we have assumed.

Despite the revamp of the exit polling system, they we’re, for the most part, way off. According to a report prepared by the system’s architects:

In some cases, the report said, survey takers could not get close enough to the polls to collect adequate samples of voters opinion. They were often stopped by legal barriers devised to keep people electioneering – not necessarily bona fide poll canvassers – away from voters.

The report also theorized that the poll results more frequently overstated support for Mr. Kerry than for President Bush because the Democratic nominee’s supporters were more open to pollsters. Whatever the case, according to the report, the surveys had the biggest partisan skew since at least 1988, the earliest election the report tracked. [via NYT]

While some news organizations were blaming the political blogs for the misleading polling information.

“I think people believed them, and it’s particularly the case with Internet bloggers,” said Kathy Frankovic, CBS News’ polling director. “That’s unfortunate because it sets up expectations that may or may not be met. I think it’s a good exercise because it reminded people that early exit polls can be unreliable.”

Bloggers picked out different numbers to use for their purposes, said Joseph Lenski, who ran the poll with partner Warren Mitofsky for the NEP. As the day wore on, later waves of exit polling showed the race tightening.

“Doing an early poll is like reporting the results of the game at halftime,” Lenski said. “You only have about a third of the information. No other survey research is held to that level of accuracy.” [via Post-Gazette]

For a little different view on the election coverage, check out TVgasm’s “Fair” and “Balanced” 2004 Election Coverage.

By Miu von Furstenberg

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