The Unadjusted 2004 National Exit Poll: Closing the Book on the returning Gore voter "False Recall" Myth

 

Richard Charnin (TruthIsAll)

 

Oct. 20, 2011

 

“False recall” was the final argument promoted by exit poll naysayers to explain away the mathematically impossible 43/37% returning Bush/Gore voter mix in the 2004 Final National Exit Poll (NEP). It was an attempt to cast doubt on the preliminary NEP (Kerry won by 51-48%) and the unadjusted state exit poll aggregate (Kerry won by 52-47%). It was a last-ditch attempt to maintain the fiction that Bush really did win fairly and that the unadjusted and preliminary exit polls "behaved badly". The bottom line: exit polls should not be trusted (or even used) here in the U.S. -  but they work fine in far away places like Ukraine and Georgia.

 

"False recall" stated that the mathematically impossible Final NEP mix was due to returning Gore voters who had the temerity of misstating their past vote to the exit pollsters, claiming they actually voted for Bush. This strange behavior was apparently due to faulty memory - a “slow-drifting fog” unique to Gore voters and/or a desire to be associated with Bush, the official “winner” of the 2000 election. The fact that he actually lost by 540,000 recorded votes was dismissed as irrelevant.

 

Although there is no evidence that Gore voters came to love Bush (even after he stole the 2000 election), or that returning Gore voters were more forgetful and dishonest than Bush voters, the "false recall" canard has been successful in keeping the “bad exit poll” myth alive. Such is the power of the mainstream media. "False recall" was the equivalent of the famous “Hail Mary” touchdown pass.  It followed the "reluctant Bush responder" (rBr) and "Swing vs. Red-shift" arguments, both of which had been refuted (see the links below).

 

Since unadjusted 2004 NEP data was not provided in the mainstream media, "false recall" was a possibility, however remote and ridiculous the premise. It was a very thin reed that has been surprisingly resilient. Apparently it still is to Bill Clinton, Al Franken and even Michael Moore. Not to mention the mainstream "liberal" media who continue to maintain the fiction that Bush really did win.

 

Unadjusted 2004 National Exit Poll (NEP) data from the Roper website has been added as a new worksheet in the True Vote Model. Demographic category weights can be compared to the corresponding weights in the Final NEP. This should finally put "false recall" to eternal rest. Of the 13,660 respondents, 7064 (51.7%) said they voted for Kerry, 6414 (47.0%) for Bush and 182 (1.3%) for other third-parties. The data confirms Kerry's 52.0% aggregate share of the state exit polls (over 70,000 respondents).

 

But what did the respondents really say about how they voted in 2000? Of the 3,182 respondents who were asked that question, 1,222 (38.4%) said they voted for Gore, 1,257 (39.5%) said Bush, 119 (3.75%) said Other. The remaining 585 (18.4%) were either first-timers or others who did not vote in 2000. When the actual Bush/Gore 39.5/38.4% mix and 12:22am preliminary NEP vote shares are used to calculate the final vote shares, Kerry has 51.7% - exactly matching the unadjusted NEP cited above. In order to match the recorded vote, the exit pollsters had to adjust the Final NEP returning voter mix from 39.5/38.4% to an impossible 43/37%. But they had to do more than just replace the mix. They also had to inflate the Bush shares of new and returning voters to implausible levels.

 

Now, with the actual responses to the question "Who did you vote for in 2000", there is no longer any question as to whether Gore voters forgot or lied or were in a slow moving fog. The "pristine" results show that the actual Bush/Gore returning voter mix (39.5/38.4%) differs substantially from the artificial, mathematically impossible Final NEP (43/37%) mix. The earlier proof that the returning voter mix was adjusted in the Final NEP (even though it was mathematically impossible) to match the recorded vote is confirmed by the data itself.

 

This is irrefutable evidence that the Final NEP is not a true sample. Of course, we knew this all along. The exit pollsters admit it but they don't like to talk about the fact that it's standard operating procedure to force ALL final exit polls to match the recorded vote. This is easily accomplished by adjusting returning voter turnout from the previous election to get the results to "fit". Of course, the mainstream media political pundits never talk about it. So how would you know?

 

Political sites such as CNN, NY Times and realclearpolitics.com still display the 2004 Final National Exit poll and perpetuate the fiction that Bush won. But it's not just the 2004 election. ALL FINAL exit polls published by the mainstream media (congressional and presidential) are forced to match the recorded vote. Unadjusted exit polls don't "behave badly" - but the adjusted Finals sure do.

 

False recall followed the "reluctant Bush responder" (rBr) and "Swing vs. Red-shift" arguments (see links below), both of which have been refuted.

 

http://richardcharnin.com/FalseRecallRebuttal.htm

http://richardcharnin.com/ConversationAboutFalseRecall.htm

http://richardcharnin.com/FalseRecallPetard.htm

http://richardcharnin.com/SwingVsRedshift1992to2004.htm

http://richardcharnin.com/SwingRedShiftHoisted.htm

 

The Final NEP is mathematically impossible since the number of returning Bush voters implied by the 43% weighting is 52.6 million (122.3 million votes were recorded in 2004). Bush only had 50.46 million recorded votes in 2000. Approximately 2.5 million died, therefore the number of returning Bush voters must have been less than 48 million. Assuming 98% turnout, there were 47 million returning Bush voters, 5.6 million fewer than implied by the Final NEP.

 

Based on 12:22am NEP vote shares, Kerry wins by 10m votes with 53.2% - assuming equal 98% turnout of returning Bush and Gore voters. He wins by 7 million given 98/90% Bush/Gore turnout. Total votes cast in 2000 and 2004 are used to calculate returning and new voters.

 

Only 3182 respondents were asked their PAST 2000 vote but ALL exit poll respondents were asked whom the JUST voted for in 2004. The Kerry trend was consistent at the 7:33pm (11027) and 12:22am (13047) time lines. Kerry gained 1085 votes and Bush 1025 from 7:33pm to 12:22am. Third-parties declined by 90 due to the 4% to 3% change in share of the electorate.

 

False recall is disproved in a number of ways.

 

1. False recall is based on a subset (3168) of the Final NEP 13660 respondents who were asked how they voted in 2000. But all 13660 were asked whom they JUST voted for in 2004.

 

2. The Preliminary 12:22am NEP consisted of 3025 of the total 3168 respondents who were asked how they voted in 2000. The weighted result indicated that returning Bush voters comprised 41% (50.1m) of the electorate. The Final NEP "Voted in 2000" cross tab (as well as all other cross tabs) was forced to match the recorded vote. To do this required that 43% (52.6m) of the electorate be returning Bush voters. The change from 41% to 43% was based on just 143 additional respondents (from 3025 to 3168).

 

a) There was an impossible late switch in respondent totals. Between 7:33pm and 12:22am, the trend was consistent: Kerry gained 254 votes, Bush 239. Third-parties declined by 13. But between 12:22am and the Final, Kerry's total declined by 13, Bush gained 182 and third party lost 26.

 

b) It was also impossible that returning Bush voters would increase from 41% to 43% (122) and returning Gore voters would decline from 39% to 37% (8). Regardless, the Final 43/37% split was mathematically impossible. It implied there were 5.6 million more returning Bush voters than could have voted, assuming that 47 (98%) of the 48 million who were alive turned out.

 

c) The increase in Bush's share of new voters from 41% to 45% (+31) was impossible; there were just 24 additional new voters. Kerry lost 2.

 

d) The changes in the Gender demographic were impossible. The Kerry trend was consistent at the 11027 and 13047 respondent time lines. Kerry gained 1085 and Bush 1025. Third-parties declined by 90.

 

e) There was an impossible shift to Bush among the final 613 respondents (from 13047 to 13660). Kerry’s total declined by 99, while Bush gained 706. Third-parties gained 6. That could not have happened unless weights and vote shares were adjusted by a human. In other words, it could not have been the result of an actual sample.

 

3. False recall assumes that 43/37% was a sampled result. But we have just shown that it is mathematically impossible because a) it implies there were 5.6 million more returning Bush voters than could have voted in 2004 and b) the 41/39% split at 12:22am could not have changed to 43/37% in the Final with just 143 additional respondents in the "Voted 2000" category.

 

4. The exit pollsters claim that it is standard operating procedure to force the exit poll to match the recorded vote. The Final was forced to match the recorded vote by a) adjusting the returning Bush/Gore voter mix to an impossible 43/37% and b) simultaneously increasing the Bush shares of returning Bush, Gore and new voters to implausible levels using impossible adjustments.

 

5. Just reviewing the timeline, it is obvious that the exit pollsters do in fact adjust weights and vote shares to force a match to the recorded vote. It invalidates the naysayer claim that the 43/37 split was due to Gore voter false recall. Rather, it was due to exit poll data manipulation.

 

6. Which is more believable: a) that the exit pollsters followed the standard procedure of forcing the poll to match the vote, or b) that at least 8% more returning Gore voters claimed they voted for Bush in 2000 than returning Bush voters claimed they voted for Gore?

 

7. As indicated above, there was a maximum number of returning Bush 2000 voters who could have voted in 2004: the ones who were still living. So the 43/37% split is not only impossible, it is also irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the returning voters said regarding their 2000 vote. We already know the four-year voter mortality rate (5%) and maximum LIVING voter turnout (98%).

 

8.  False recall assumes that the returning voter mix is a sampled result. But the 4% increase in differential between returning Bush and Gore voters (from 2% to 6%) is impossible since the total number of respondents increased by just 143 (from 3025 to 3168).

 

9. The false recall claim is based on NES surveys of 500-600 respondents that indicate voters misstate past votes. But the reported deviations are based on the prior recorded vote – not the True Vote. There have been an average of 7 million net uncounted votes in each of the last eleven elections. The majority  (70-80%) were Democratic. In 2000, there were 5.4 million. When measured against the True Vote (based on total votes cast, reduced by mortality and voter turnout), the average deviations are near zero. Therefore, the NES respondents told the truth about their past vote.

 

10. The 2006 and 2008 Final National Exit Polls were forced to match the recorded vote with impossible 49/43% and 46/37% returning Bush/Kerry voter percentages. The 2008 Final required 12 million more returning Bush than Kerry voters. These anomalies are just additional proof that false recall is totally bogus – a final “Hail Mary” pass to divert, confuse and cover-up the truth. The exit pollsters just did what they are paid to do:

 

 

2004 National Exit Poll Timeline                                                                       

 

Voted in 2000

 

7:33pm  2545 respondents                80.3% of 3168                                                   

                Voted in                                                 Respondents Share             Respondents Vote

MoE       2000        Mix         Total                       Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

1.9%       DNV       17%        433          -               59%        39%        2%          255          169          9

1.1%       Gore        38%        967          -               91%        8%          1%          880          77            10

1.1%       Bush       41%        1043        -               9%          90%        1%          94            939          10

1.9%       Other      4%          102          -               65%        13%        22%        66            13            22

                                                                                                                                                               

1.9%       Total                       2545        -               50.90%   47.09%   2.01%     1295        1198        51

                                                                                                                                                               

12:22am                3025 respondents                95.5% of 3168                                                   

MoE       Voted     Mix         Total       Change   Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

1.8%       DNV       17%        514          82            57%        41%        2%          293          211          10

1.0%       Gore        39%        1180        213         91%        8%          1%          1074        94            12

1.1%       Bush       41%        1240        197          10%        90%        0%          124          1116        0

1.7%       Other      3%          91            -11           64%        17%        19%        58            15            17

                                                                                                                                                               

1.8%       Total                       3025        480          51.20%   47.50%   1.30%     1549        1437        39

Change from 7:33pm            480                          52.79%   49.67%   -2.46%    254          239          -12

                                                                                                                                                               

Final 3168 respondents (forced to match the recorded vote)

                                Mix         Total       Change  Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

                DNV       17%        539          24            54%        45%        1%          291          242          5

                Gore        37%        1172        -8             90%        10%        0%          1055        117          0

                Bush       43%        1362        122          9%          91%        0%          123          1240        0

                Other      3%          95            4              71%        21%        8%          67            20            8

                                                                                                                                                               

                Total                       3168        143          48.48%   51.11%   0.41%     1536        1619        13

 

Change from 12:22am          143                          -9.1%      127.5%   -18.4%    -13           182          -26

Change from 7:33pm            623                          38.6%     67.5%     -6.1%      240          421          -38

 

 

The Gender Demographic

 

7:33pm  11027 respondents (80.7%)

MoE       11027      Mix         Total       Change  Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

0.93%     Female    54%        5955        -               53%        45%        2%          3156        2680        119

0.93%     Male       46%        5072        -               47%        51%        2%          2384        2587        101

                                                                                                                                                               

                Total                       11027      -               50.24%   47.76%   2.00%     5540        5266        221

                                                                                                                                                               

12:22am                13047 respondents (95.5%)                                                                                            

MoE       Gender   Mix         Total       Change  Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

0.86%     Female    54%        7045        1091        54%        45%        1%          3805        3170        70

0.86%     Male       46%        6002        929          47%        52%        1%          2821        3121        60

                                                                                                                                                               

                Total                       13047      2020        50.78%   48.22%   1.00%     6626        6291        130

Change from 7:33pm            2020                        53.73%   50.73%   -4.46%    1086        1025        -90

                                                                                                                                                               

Final       13660 respondents

MoE       Gender   Mix         Total       Change  Kerry      Bush       Other      Kerry      Bush       Other

0.84%     Female    54%        7376        331          51%        48%        1%          3762        3541        74

0.83%     Male       46%        6284        282          44%        55%        1%          2765        3456        63

                                                                                                                                                               

                Total                       13660      613          47.78%   51.22%   1.0%       6527        6997        137

Change from 12:22am          613                          -16.1%    115.1%   1.0%       -99           706          7

Change from 7:33pm            2633                        37.5%     65.7%     -3.2%      987          1731        -84

 

Final National Exit Poll

Demographic Adjustments

* indicates change in weighting (mix)

 

Note:

All demographic category cross tabs required changes to the weights and/or the vote shares in order to force a match to the recorded vote.

Categories which required changes to weights AND vote shares include: Party-ID, Voted 2000, Bush Approval, Region, Education, Income, Ideology, When Decided.

 

The following categories required changes ONLY to the vote shares: Gender, Race and Gender, Age, Military Service, Community Size,

The Final NEP vote shares and/or weights for Party-ID, Voted 2000, Bush Approval and When Decided do not agree with other data sources:

-Bush approval: was 48% based on the average of 11 final pre-election polls. With 48% Bush approval and preliminary vote shares, Kerry has a 53.6% total share.

-Party-ID: was 39/35% Dem/Rep based on other studies.

-Voted 2000: The 43/37% Bush/Gore weighting mix was mathematically impossible.

-When Decided: Kerry and Bush were tied in the polls one month prior to the election. The Final indicates that Bush led by 7 points.

 

 

 

 

2004 National Exit Poll                                                                                             

 

Voted in 2000

 

 

 

 2004 Unadjusted NEP vs. Final                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                               

Voted 04               Total      Kerry      Bush       Other                     

Respondents         13691    7064       6414       182                        

Voted                     100%     51.7%    47.0%    1.3%                      

NEP Final                              48.3%    50.7%    1.0%                                      

Adjustment                           -3.43%   3.77%    -0.33%                  

                                                                                                                                                                               

Sex                         Total      Male       Female                                                                                                                  

Respondents         13659    5987       7672                                                                                                                      

Share                      100%     43.8%    56.2%                                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     46%        54%                                                                                                                       

Adjustment                           2.2%       -2.2%                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                               

Voted 2k               Total      DNV       Gore       Bush       Other                                     

Respondents         3182       585         1221       1257       119                                                                                        

Share                      100%     18.4%    38.4%    39.5%    3.7%                                      

NEP Final              100%     17%        37%        43%        3%                                         

Adjustment                           -1.4%     -1.4%     3.5%       -0.7%                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Race                       Total      White     Black     HispanicAsian      Other                                                                     

Respondents         13526    10608    1473       1037       201         207                                                                        

Share                      100%     78.4%    10.9%    7.7%       1.5%       1.5%                                                                      

NEP Final              100%     79%        12%        6%          2%          1%                                                                         

Adjustment                           0.6%       1.1%       -1.7%     0.5%       -0.5%                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Age                         Total      18-24     25-29     30-39     40-44     45-49     50-59     60-64     65-74     75+        

Respondents         13639    1422       1169       2555       1580       1622       2640       856         1145       650        

Share                      100%     10.4%    8.6%       18.7%    11.6%    11.9%    19.4%    6.3%       8.4%       4.8%      

                                                                                                                                                                               

Party ID                 Total      Dem       Rep         Ind                          Ind          Other                                     

Respondents         13121    5020       4531       3570                       2988       582                                        

Share                      100%     38.3%    34.5%    27.2%                    22.8%    4.4%                                      

NEP Final              100%     37%        37%        26%                        26%                                                       

Adjustment                           -1.3%     2.5%       -1.2%                     3.2%                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                               

Philosophy            Total      Liberal   Mod       Conservative                                                                                                       

Respondents         12939    2909       5968       4062                                                                                                      

Share                      100%     22.5%    46.1%    31.4%                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     21%        45%        34%                                                                                                       

Adjustment                           -1.5%     -1.1%     2.6%                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                               

First-time voter     Total      Yes         No                                                                                                                          

Respondents         6704       813         5891                                                                                                                      

Share                      100%     12.1%    87.9%                                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     11%        89%                                                                                                                       

Adjustment           -               -1.1%     1.1%                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                               

Income                  Total      0-15        15-30     30-50     50-75     75-100   100-150 150-200 200+                      

Respondents         12321    1011       1804       2654       2850       1722       1384       483         413                        

Share                      100%     8.2%       14.6%    21.5%    23.1%    14%        11.2%    3.9%       3.4%                      

NEP Final              100%     8%          15%        22%        23%        18%        11%                        3%                         

Adjustment           -               -0.2%     0.4%       0.5%       -0.1%     4%          -0.2%                     -0.4%                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Education             Total      No HS    HSG       Col          ColGr     Postgrad                                                                               

Respondents         9986       400         2095       3217       2628       1646                                                                      

Share                      100%     4%          21%        32.2%    26.3%    16.5%                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     4%          22%        32%        26%        16%                                                                       

Adjustment           -               0%          1%          -0.2%     -0.3%     -0.5%                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Bush Approval     Total      Str Appr Appr       Dissap    Str Dis                                                                                   

Respondents         6913       2131       1358       846         2578                                                                                      

Share                      100%     30.8%    19.6%    12.2%    37.3%                                                                                   

Approve/Dis         100%     50.4%    -               49.5%                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     53%        -               47%                                                                                                       

Adjustment           -               2.6%       -               -2.5%                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Party ID Total      Dem       Rep         Other                                                                                                     

Respondents         13121    5020       4531       3570                                                                                                      

Share                      100%     38.3%    34.5%    27.2%                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     37%        37%        26%                                                                                                       

Adjustment           -               -1.3%     2.5%       -1.2%                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Bush Approval     Total      Yes         No                                                                                                                          

Respondents         6913       3489       3424                                                                                                                      

Share                      100%     50.5%    49.5%                                                                                                                   

NEP Final              100%     53%        47%                                                                                                                       

Adjustment           -               2.5%       -2.5%                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                               

Region                   Total      NE          MidW     South     West      

Respondents         13719    2922       3686       4463       2648      

Share                      100%     21.3%    26.9%    32.5%    19.3%   

NEP Final              100%     22%        26%        32%        20%       

Adjustment                           0.7%       -0.9%     -0.5%     0.7%      

                                                                                               

Size -5                    Total      500k+    50-500k Suburbs 10-50k   Rural

Respondents         13711    1498       2814       6193       1160       2046

Share                      100%     10.9%    20.5%    45.2%    8.5%       14.9%

NEP Final              100%     12%        19%        45%        8%          16%

Adjustment           -               1.1%       -1.5%     -0.2%     -0.5%     1.1%

                                                                                               

Size -3                    Total      City        Suburb   Rural                     

Respondents         11719    3504       5441       2774                      

Share                      100%     29.9%    46.4%    23.7%                   

NEP Final              100%     31%        45%        24%                       

Adjustment           -               1.1%       -1.4%     0.3%