Are Bogus Early Voting Polls the New Bogus Exit Polls?

Remember back in 2004 (how young we all were then), all the exit polls showed Sen. John Kerry defeating President George W. Bush in Ohio and winning the presidency? Those exit polls dispirited Bush supporters and caused so much controversy, because they were consistent and consistently wrong, that news organizations changed how exit polls were done in subsequent elections.


Are we seeing the same thing play out now in these “early voter” polls?

I don’t know, but it is worth asking the question when these early voting polls keep skewing the way those exit polls skewed before, favoring Democrats.

Today, the Democrats are touting a SurveyUSA early voter poll in Ohio, for instance, that claims Obama is winning among early voters by a whopping 62-38. If that number is right, things look bad for Romney to win Ohio and thus the presidency. But is the number right?

Election Insight says hold the phone, the SurveyUSA number may not be right at all. You’ll need to read their entire post, but this gives the flavor of it.

The SurveyUSA data suggests that 60.32% of the early vote from those with No Party ID/Independents have voted for Obama. As of today, most polls suggest that that Romney is leading Independents by +8%. Even in Survey USAs poll, they report Independents breaking for Romney by +8%. We can only conclude that early voting polling, at this point, cannot be trusted to provide accurate results. The flaw may lie in the oversampling of Democrats to Republicans and overestimating who has already voted or who will be voting on Election Day.

With a 6% lead in Registered Democrats over Republicans, there is no doubt Obama is probably winning the early voter turnout. However to get a +8% Independent support for Romney, Obama’s early lead would probably be around 50% to 46% or 47% for Romney. Perhaps a better indication of how the early voting is going, and for whom it is breaking , is to look at the total number of Democrat and Republican Party affiliated voters and infer the total early votes received. Given how early voting turned out in 2008, Romney is in good shape to carry Ohio in 2012.


The Romney campaign’s take is that Obama is significantly underperforming now compared to 2008, and may also be cannibalizing his strong voters in early voting, leaving him weak when the final days comes. If they’re right, then these early vote numbers are actually bad news that the Obama campaign is spinning. The bottom line on this is obvious: Vote. Early if you can, on Election Day if you can’t. Don’t let what may be inaccurate and even possibly bogus polling dissuade you.



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