Monday, November 1, 2004
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Hey, network news producers!! Over here!!!
Joe Flint and Shailagh Murray have a great Wall Street Journal front-pager on the major networks' plans for reporting on the election Tuesday night:
I have a humble request for the nets -- show us how the sausage is made. In other words, instead of hiding the data from the exit polls from us, explain as the returns come in what the polls say and compare and contrast them to the incoing returns.
[Won't that be kind of... dull?--ed. It would still be much more interesting than Tim Russert and his f@#$ing midget whiteboard, or Dan Rather and his nonsensical similes.]
UPDATE: Some network should really hire myster pollster Mark Blumenthal to explain how the sausage is made -- go read his infomative post on the merit of exit polls.posted by Dan on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM
Can someone please explain to me what practical difference it makes whether the election is declared won at 11 p.m., 2 a.m. or 8 a.m.? Perhaps it makes a difference to someone shorting the yen, but the whole exit poll-breathless extrapolation et al reminds me unfortunately of the poor souls who call sports talk shows in the 14th week of the NFL season to discuss all the possible combinations and permuations of who will play whom in the first playoff round and who gets a bye. Too much free time and too much computing power have brought us Everests of meaningless academic research, here they exist to fill media whitespace and occupy the reserve army of the unemployed punditry (a lumpen group of the worse sort).posted by: gene on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
Dan, I hate midgets, too.posted by: jonk on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
Also, we already now what Russert is going to write on the white board Ohio Ohio Ohio. (Maybe a brief mention of FL and PA too.)posted by: Joel B. on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
I vote for a media blackout. b/c of the obnoxious factor.posted by: jason on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
I agree with Dan. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Take the mystery out of it, and let everyone have fun.
We ain't going to get rid of sausage.posted by: Hal on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
I wonder how--if at all--the exit pollers are going to factor in the millions who voted early and who won't be walking out of the polling stations?
Since early voting is a new phenomenon, there's no track record to compare against. Are the majority of early voters Republican or Democrat? Do they break as evenly as other voters in the same precincts? How do we know?
It strikes me as seriously dangerous (in terms of once again getting it wrong) for the media to not be dealing with early voters in predicting winners.posted by: John on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
Transparency is the key. I personally just want to hear a concession speech tomorrow night from somebody. I don't want any of this month-long drawn-out process. Ideally, networks' polls support the results eventually reported, and then the system looks good and no one asks questions.
It's only when it doesn't work that we begin to question it all. I personally think Kerry is much stronger than polls show. Young voters, new voters, minority voters I think will all turn out in record numbers. Then the networks will have an easier race to call.posted by: theDamascus on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
One thing I've not seen is a more sophisticated approach to looking at the results. Here in Australia, the ABC's election guru Antony Green has built up a model of the electorate down to the polling booth level. As results come in from a given polling booth, he's able to compare them against the same booth from previous elections, producing much more reliable predictions from a much smaller set of results. Is there any reason that something like this wouldn't work in the US? (For instance, if the results are not given in that detail).
> "The old VNS was based on mainframe
Um, if you absolutely, positively have to crunch some critical numbers with 100.000000% accuracy, a mainfame-based system is EXACTLY what you use. Perferably a DECSystem-10/20, but and IBM 390 will do.
What you ABSOLUTELY don't want is some cobbled-together MS-Windows-based dreck coded by 20somethings who don't understand the basics of high reliability systems and who calls any technology older than the day he started kindergarten "archaic".
That single snippet leads me to question the reliability of the entire process.
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 11.01.04 at 05:49 PM [permalink]
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