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Exit Poll Problems: Math, not conspiracy theory

by : Bob Harris
Monday November 15, 2004 - 20:31
1 comment

I hope you’ll read a paper called The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy,

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php...

released on Thursday by Prof. Steven Freeman of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s worth seeing in its entirety. A lot of other folks have been posting about it. Rightly so.

What jumped out at a lot of people on the night of the election was how the "errors" in the exit polls consistently occured in the same direction.

The thing about genuine errors, extremes, and anomalies in results... is that they’re random.

The chance that a flipped coin will land "heads" four times in a row is only 1 in 16 — but you’re just as likely to see it land "tails" four times in a row. And if it’s an honest coin, flipped fairly, over time, you will. Very basic math will tell you exactly how likely a given outcome is.

But even without the math, we have a sense of this in our daily lives. If you were betting another guy a dollar a flip, and the coin came up tails ten times in a row (about a 1 in 1000 chance) common sense would tell you the coin was weighted.

And if somebody told you it wasn’t — that it was just an error or pure random chance, never mind, keep emptying your wallet — you’d start to wonder about their motives.

Common sense. Not a conspiracy theory. Just what you’re seeing, right in front of you.

Without getting into all the state-by-state details — I’ll let Prof. Freeman tend to the numbers — what happened last Tuesday, where a wide variety of extremely accurate exit polls suddenly turned out to be at the extremes or even beyond their margin of error, was exceedingly unlikely — even if the benefits of these errors had been evenly distributed.

But they weren’t evenly distributed. They favored Bush. Over and over and over. That’s the coin flipping. And flipping. And still coming up heads. Heads in Florida. Heads in Ohio. Heads in a bunch of other swing states (even while the exit polls remained relatively accurate elsewhere). Almost everywhere the election was close, the coin just kept coming up heads.

How bad was it?

According to Dr. Freeman’s analysis... 1 in 250,000,000.

One in a quarter of a billion.

In simpler terms, that 50-50 coin flip just came up "heads" almost thirty times in a row.

Do you still trust that coin now?

That is what you’re being asked to do.

Now, a lot of folks are understandably unwilling to come right out and say the word "fraud." I get that. I respect everybody here. And I won’t guess other people’s feelings on it, but for me, merely acknowledging the possibility that our elections were hijacked this broadly makes me feel all sorts of unpleasant emotions.

It’s frankly a terrifying prospect, because if true, we have one hell of a goddam fight in front of us, against a group of powerful people who clearly will stop at nothing whatsoever to continue centralizing their power.

That’s what the word "fraud" means here.

So yes, I would very much prefer to believe in the remote possibility that there are factors unaccounted for, and the numbers are off a little, reducing the chance down to, oh, one in 50,000 or so.

Sure, maybe all the Republican voters just didn’t feel like talking to exit pollers, only in swing states, all at once, for hours. (That’s one of the explanations we’re being given, often by the same people deriding reasonable suspicion of foul play as a conspiracy theory. Nice.)

I do not know exactly what happened or how, nor can I (or you) yet. And without more specific knowledge, I understand how it might seem irresponsible to come right out and say that the election was bullshit. It feels like an allegation without evidence.

But it should not be tinfoil hat territory to simply understand what the basic math means and scream foul. The math is evidence. And we already know that the votes weren’t secure; we already know how somebody could easily rig the vote counts; and we’ve already caught dozens of consistently pro-Bush impossibilities (like more Bush votes in some parts of Ohio than there were registered voters) in the final tally.

That’s a hell of a lot to go on.

And now we learn it’s a 99.9999996% likelihood that the numbers were wrong, as far as can be calculated with the limited data available, precisely because the outcome was so incredibly slanted for Bush.

I repeat: we know the numbers are screwed up because of how absurdly they were slanted.

Let that sink in.

Just because we weren’t standing right there when it happened doesn’t mean we can’t see what was done.

Look, Nicole is dead. There are bloody size 12 shoe prints running down the walk, and her ex-husband has been threatening her for years.

But gee, would her husband really do such a horrible thing...?

Let’s talk about that. Would they?

We already know that allies of this twice-unelected president in Florida and Ohio screwed with the voter rolls, screwed with people’s ability to vote, and are working right this very minute to continue distorting the vote, right before our eyes. Is screwing with the votes on election day somehow qualitatively different?

No one should need reminding that Karl Rove has always broken any rule necessary to win at all costs, and that there have been no costs for cheating since this administration took office. Someone near the top of this administration has already committed treason by leaking Valerie Plame’s name to the press, and received nothing but protection ever since.

And let’s not forget that this very same band of merry men conspired for over a year to lie their way into an illegal war and generate rationalizations for torture, indefinite detention, and even disappearances — a series of high crimes against the constitution, existing law, and humanity which makes electoral tinkering seem tame by comparison.

I mean, what sort of behavior is necessary to start suspecting the beneficiaries of the obvious rigging in their favor? Does Karl Rove have to come to the house personally and start humping the furniture?

(He will, you know. You probably want to dig out that old can of Scotchgard.)

Until Karl finally shows up... just do the math.

http://www.bobharris.com/index.php?...

PS — The Blogging Of The President has been a central link festival for the ongoing developments in this stuff.

http://www.bopnews.com



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Commentaires de l'article
 

> Exit Poll Problems: Math, not conspiracy theory
Monday November 15 - 22:56 - Posted by 8f2e526d45560845...

too funny...thanks for the article.

When is the mainstream media going to start doing their jobs? If they wait until the American people have figured it all out themselves they will lose all credibility. Oh yeah, they already have...lol







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