Please take action to urge the media to report the unadjusted exit polls for the 2008 election.
Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International will again conduct all exit polling in 2008 for the National Election Pool, comprised of ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press. Exit polls will involve polling more than 100,000 actual voters, remove sources of polling error and can be extremely accurate. In 2004 John Kerry was showing a 7 point lead in the unadjusted exit polls, but then on election night the computers were down for several hours and when they came back on-line a flip had occurred and Bush now narrowly led. This was not because of a change in the actual polling but because the exit polls had been "adjusted," i.e. "corrected" so as to conform to the vote count assuming that count was correct. Investigations into the election in Ohio later raised serious doubts about the accuracy of the actual vote.
Voters should be provided with the unadjusted exit polls and if adjustments are made to the final polls they should be explained publicly. Major media outlets are urged to archive all of the interim exit poll results to allow independent analysis later. Election integrity advocates must push for greater transparency since large-sample exit polls can and should be used be used to audit vote totals.
News and political divisions of the major networks must plan to archive all of the preliminary exit poll results since the overall survey will quickly be adjusted by the vendor to match the published vote totals, and will thus no longer be useful as an audit of the integrity of the vote totals.