The largest exit poll taken in Wisconsin on June 5 didn’t predict the outcome any better. That poll, conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press, indicated that Walker would win by a four-point margin.
One problem is that the exit poll could not account for absentee votes — an estimated 10-12 percent of those cast.
University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato told TheDC exit polls provide more room for error than just the absentee ballots.
“There’s nothing new about top-line exit poll problems,” Sabato said in an email, explaining that Republicans seem to disproportionately refuse to participate in them, possibly because of their dislike of mainstream media outlets that sponsor the surveys.
Sabato also believes comparing scientific polling to exit polls is like “comparing apples to oranges” because exit polls cannot be weighted to correct any over- or under-sampling of ethnic groups, age groups or either gender.
But he cautioned that “shifting a point to Romney for all swing states isn’t justified” if it’s done only in response to exit poll data.
Some Democratic strategists, however, have used the same Associated Press exit poll data to boast that Wisconsin voters supported Obama over Romney by a 51-44 percent margin.