Democrats desperate for a silver lining in Tuesday’s recall election in Wisconsin are pointing to the final exit polls, which showed voters preferred President Obama over Mitt Romney 51 percent to 44 percent.
But wait: The final exit poll number had Gov. Scott Walker (R) leading by 4 percentage points, but his actual win was by about 7 points. So how accurate could the Obama vs. Romney number be?
Exit polls are, we are told, faulty because they don’t include absentee votes. In many states that have early voting, we won’t have accurate exit polling on Election Day in November either. And it does appear that, apart from this issue, there are further problems with exits. Remember that Rick Santorum, the more conservative candidate, also regularly outperformed his exit poll numbers in the Republican primary.
So here’s an idea: Dump exit polls. If they are wrong on the top line, then all the information is wrong. Garbage in, garbage out. If we want to know why voters voted how they did, pollsters can always do a regular old-fashioned phone poll on election day.
Pundits who say, “but the data in the exits is good,” are selling snake oil. What we know about the exits is they are reliably wrong.