How About Those Exit Polls Favoring Kerry?

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - As Wednesday dawned with a Bush victory waiting in the wings, many pundits and press outlets were starting to question how Tuesday's exit polls could have been so wrong.

Those polls showed Kerry leading into Tuesday evening -- only to be replaced with actual results that showed Kerry trailing.

Bush-Cheney Campaign Chairman Marc Racicot on Wednesday called the exit poll results "disconcerting" and "dispiriting" to the media outlets that use them as an aid in calling the election.

"There were such aberrations with the exit polls that really something's got to be done because they were so completely inaccurate," Racicot said in an interview Wednesday morning on Fox & Friends.

He said the Bush camp started to doubt the poll results early on, when exit polls in Florida said the Hispanic population had shrunk -- when the opposite was true. The exit polls also miscalculated the number of female voters in North Carolina, he said.

"So it wasn't long before we started to realize there's something very wrong here with the models that they're using."

The exit poll results are supposed to be secret -- available only to subscribing media outlets -- but on Tuesday night, the results were available on the Internet. Some people suspect they were leaked by Kerry supporters who may have hoped to discourage Bush voters -- to keep them away from the polls in states where the voting was still going on.

"Well, that's certainly one conclusion that one could draw," Racicot commented on Wednesday morning. He said he doesn't know what happened, but he hopes the system can be improved.

Even TV anchors grumbled about the exit polls Tuesday night: "Someone needs to reassess exit polling," CNN commentator Tucker Carlson said. Fox News anchor Brit Hume said the headline should be, "Exit poll on trial."

The 2004 election was the first test of new exit polling, called the National Election Pool, which was supposed to be more accurate than exit polls used in 2000.

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