Did you watch the results of the Kentucky election and wonder, “Where are the exit polls from the Kentucky Primary?” If so, you’re not alone. Exit polls had become the source of suspicion of so much election fraud that the hashtag “#ExitPollGate” surfaced on social media. Primary after primary, exit polls were not aligning with election outcomes in the Democratic primaries, almost exclusively in primaries where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the victor, some say.
Many independent or smaller media outlets reported on the day of the Kentucky primary that media coverage for the Kentucky election would include exit polls, because it’s been the standard.
“Kentucky polls are open until 6 p.m. CST, so viewers can expect to begin seeing some results just prior to the closing of polls. Official results won’t come in until at least a couple of hours after 6 p.m., but until then, exit polls will air on all major news and politics stations, such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC,” Bustle announced ahead of the Kentucky primary. The Washington Post broke the news to its readers that they simply don’t have exit poll data from Kentucky the day after the election. Virtually no explanation has been given to readers from any of the major media outlets as to why election polls were not included in the Kentucky primary media coverage.
Throughout the primary and caucus season, exit polls had been conducted by Edison Research, an independent firm that had been hired to cover the responses of people who had just cast their votes at the polls, the firm states on its website. All exit poll data is then archived at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, a non-profit organization that archives polls from or on behalf of the likes of Gallup, Roper, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and public policy organizations, according to Edison Research.
Oregon Live also indicated that exit polls would be waiting for us at the end of the election in Kentucky.
“Oregon and Kentucky voters picked their presidential nominees and more Tuesday. This post was updated throughout the day with news, analysis, exit polls and results. You can find all of The Oregonian/OregonLive’s election results here.”
Yet, none of the major networks showed any results of any exit polls in Kentucky. CNN‘s dedicated page remained free of Kentucky exit polls and so did the dedicated page on CBS News‘ website. Other major news sources even had earlier links, pages, and references to exit polls almost completely removed without any explanation.
The lack of exit poll reporting and the lack of an explanation for their absence has only added fuel to voters’ speculation regarding election fraud.
— Lee Camp [Redacted] (@LeeCamp) May 18, 2016
“The exit polls have not matched the official results OUTSIDE the margin of error in many states in the Democratic primary election. It has been a red flag for fraud. WHY are the networks canceling exit polls in the remaining upcoming primaries? Simple,” Election Fraud 2016 reported. “They do not want to provide a means of evidence to document the theft.”
— Truthglow (@truthglow) May 22, 2016
Ballot Access reported that exit polls were canceled in Kentucky, but also in California and New Jersey.
“The big television networks have traditionally paid for exit polls. On May 6, they canceled exit polls for the Kentucky Democratic presidential primary, and for both major party primaries in California and New Jersey.”
— #ForThePeople (@BernieVolunteer) May 12, 2016
Joe Lenski, Executive Vice-President and lead researcher for Edison Research, told Counterpunch that exit polls are normally called in three times during an election.
“Edison Research exit poll interviewers call in exit poll results three times during election day – once in the late morning, once in the mid-afternoon, and once shortly before the polls close in a state. The exit poll data that is released at 5PM to the news organizations comprising the National Election Pool (NEP members are ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press) and any other news organizations subscribing to the exit poll include about two-thirds of the interviews that will be conducted on an election day. The exit poll results that are released around poll closing include nearly all of the voter interviews that are conducted during election day.”
Voters and voter advocacy groups have pointed to exit polls as a red flag that election fraud may be occurring, because the United States has used exit polls as a measure of fraud in elections in other nations.
In 2007, the United States paid for exit polls of the election in Kenya. When a president was elected with a two-point margin of victory, but the U.S. funded exit polls showed that the supposed victor actually finished six points behind, the authors of the exit poll report stated that the victor’s opposition scored “a clear win outside the margin of error.”
Voter exit polls and data on Kenya’s electoral fraud – Ferree, Gibson, and Long in J. of E. African Studies http://t.co/f3zN5fpEgt”
— Carl LeVan (@Dev4Security) February 11, 2014
— Roxane Assaf (@RoxAHHHN) May 21, 2016
Many media sources have excused the discrepancies between the exit polls and the results found in the face-off between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton by blaming early voting and absentee voting. These reports indicate that the exit polls are off because Hillary Clinton does more favorably among early voters and absentee voters. However, in 2013, MSNBC reported on how pollsters avoid this problem in order to “ensure that absentee voters are properly accounted for” when examining exit poll data. That MSNBC report also stated that for state exit polls, “the uncertainty is plus or minus 4 percent, which means that the ‘true’ values for the entire electorate are almost certain to be within 4 percentage points of the results tallied for the sample.”
Now that exit polls appear to have been canceled by the major media outlets, Sanders’ supporters are discussing amongst themselves the possibility of funding their own exit polls, especially in California.
Thing I still wonder: ExitPollsters r private co’s; so can’t a Campaign hire an ExitPoll co. directly?#ExitPollGate https://t.co/tZyHEY4QW9
— George John (@A2ndEnding) May 22, 2016
An online petition has also been started asking the Sanders campaign to use donations to pay for exit polling in California. Meanwhile, voters in Kentucky or either campaign still have a couple more days to ask for a recount, according to Kentucky law.
[Image via Pixabay]