Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

A Decline In White Voters Helped Obama Win

Posted Nov 12, 2012 at 9:16 AM by Maurice Berger

In "The Case of the Missing White Voters, Sean Trende writes: "For Republicans, that despair now comes from an electorate that seems to have undergone a sea change. In the 2008 final exit polls (unavailable online), the electorate was 75 percent white, 12.2 percent African-American, 8.4 percent Latino, with 4.5 percent distributed to other ethnicities. We’ll have to wait for this year’s absolute final exit polls to come in to know the exact estimate of the composition this time, but right now it appears to be pegged at about 72 percent white, 13 percent black, 10 percent Latino and 5 percent 'other.'” PollTrack points out that a +3% drop off of such a large Demographic was very significant in this election, representing one of the most important factors in Obama's victory.

Exit Polls: Hillary Clinton Would Have Won By A Wider Margin

Posted Nov 13, 2008 at 2:15 AM by Maurice Berger

CBS News Election and Survey Unit's analysis of exit polls in last weeks elections concludes that Hillary Clinton would have beaten McCain by a wider margin than Obama: "As voters left the polls on Election Day, many were asked how they would have voted if the election match-up were between Hillary Clinton and John McCain rather than Barack Obama and McCain. 52 percent said they would have backed the former Democratic candidate; 41 percent would have voted for McCain, wider than Obama’s 7-point margin over McCain. Interestingly, 16 percent of McCain voters said they would have voted for Clinton, the Democrat, if she had been her party’s nominee." While this conclusion is, of course, hypothetical--it's hard to predict how any candidate would do in the heat of a hard fought campaign--the piece examines the makeup of voters who now say thay would have supported Clinton instead of the Republican candidate.

Grain Of Salt: Turnout Predictions Not Unlike Raw Exit Polls

Posted Nov 04, 2008 at 8:39 AM by Maurice Berger

A note of caution: take any attempts to predict voter turnout at this point with a grain of salt. It is almost impossible to ascertain voter turnout relative to past elections early in the day.As Curtis Gans, director for the Committee For The Study Of The American Electorate at American University writes: "Because turnout can only accurately be ascertained by getting actual tabulated vote numbers and because to make any real sense of the numbers, one needs to wait until at least 90 percent of the vote has been cast in an individual state, any judgment on this year's turnout probably won't be available until late in the evening--probably around midnight before one can make an educated stab at how much turnout might have increased." And do NOT take personal observations about "long lines" and "frustrated poll workers" at your neighborhood precinct too seriously, either.What passes for heavy voting in your community or state may have little relevance to an urban or rural precinct a thousand miles away in another state. Similarly raw exit polling information--if it is leaked after this data is passed onto news organizations at 5:00 PM EST--should also be ignored. Without proper weighting and analysis these numbers are virtually meaningless.

PollTrack Policy On EXIT POLLS

Posted Nov 02, 2008 at 8:04 AM by Maurice Berger

In anticipation of our Live Blog on Election night, tune in throughout the morning and afternoon of Election Day for updates on voting and trends. One thing you will not get, however: exit poll vote projections. PollTrack conforms to proper journalistic standards, and these include not releasing or discussing exit poll data, except demographic trends, until all of the polls are closed in a state. Given the inaccuracy of exit polls--they were often wrong during the primary and caucus season--and the need to properly weight and interpret data culled from these surveys, we will also not publish unprocessed raw exit numbers.This policy is consistent with others on our site. We are committed to fair, accurate, non-partisan analysis of elections.