Monday, May 02, 2005

Feels like my head wants to bust!

And I work in research! I'm supposed to get it...oy!

Mystery Pollster discusses, yet again, the issue of exit polls vs. election results from November's election. It's a long read, one full of much statistician-speak, but intereting none-the-less. To sum up, a study done that claimed that the only plausible explanation for the discrepancy between the exit-polls and the final results was vote corruption. This is an explanation of a model that tests that hypothesis.

Mr. Blumenthal found a non-professional who has shed more insight on the question than seemingly any who have gone before. And the ironic part is, she's a registered-Kos-user.

What did she find? Mystery Pollsters summarizes as follows:

The USCV authors hypothesize greater "vote corruption" in Bush strongholds. As evidence, they point to the difference between the mean and median WPE in these precincts: "Clearly there were some highly skewed precincts in the Bush strongholds, although the 20 precincts (in a sample of 1250) represent only about 1.6% of the total" (p. 14, fn). A simple scatterplot would show whether that skew resulted from a handful of extreme outliers or a more general pattern. If a few outliers are to blame, and if similar outliers in both directions are present in less partisan precincts, it would seem to me to implicate random human error rather than something systematic. Even if the math is neutral on this point, it would be reasonable to ask the USCV authors to explain how outliers in a half dozen or so precincts out of 1,250 (roughly 0.5% of the total) somehow leave "vote corruption" as the only plausible explanation for an average overall exit poll discrepancy of 6.5 percentage points on the Bush-Kerry margin.

Yeah!...what he said.

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