A look at the exit polls

5 11 2008

Here are some interesting stats from the exist polls. Based on the actual number votes for each candidate it seems that they are more or less accurate, slightly favoring Obama. You  can correct them by subtracting just under 1% from Obama’s results and adding just under 1% to McCain results. (Basically, if you see 51% Obama and 49% McCain, then these can be considered even).

Who are the great Obama fans (groups voting 60% or more for Obama, I am not listing groups 2% or smaller). I have picked factors other than just current views and opinions:

  • African-Americans (95%)
  • Latinos (67%)
  • Under 30-year olds (66%)
  • Those earning less than $30k per year (60%), and less than $15k per year (73%)
  • Those with no high-school education (63%)
  • Democrats (89%)
  • Liberals (89%) and Moderates (60%)
  • First time voters (69%)
  • Jews (78%) and non-religious (75%)
  • Those who never go to church (67%)
  • Those with no stock investments (61%)
  • Single or non-married (65%)
  • Working women (60%)
  • Union members (61%)
  • Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual (70%)
  • Urban dwellers (63%)

And now the McCain fans (percentage threshold here is 53%, otherwise the list would be short):

  • White (55%), white men (57%), white over 30 (approx. 57%), white earning over $50k (56%), white with no college (58%)
  • 65 or older (53%)
  • Republicans  (90%)
  • Conservative (78%)
  • Those who attend church weekly or more often (55%)
  • White Protestants (65%), Protestants attending church weekly (67%), Evangelicals/Born Again (74%)
  • Married women without kids (53%), married men with kids (54%)
  • Gun owners (62%)
  • Those who served in the Military (54%)
  • Rural dwellers (53%)
  • Those living in the South (54%)

Now let’s look at some interesting individual numbers. The first one is “first time voters”.

First time voters.

First time voters.

It looks like among those who voted before, the race was close to a tie. But the first time voters gave Obama an advantage of over 5mln votes (120mln total times 11% times (69%-30%) ) out of the 7.5mln votes with which Obama won.

Another interesting number was those who earn $200k per year or more. There were twice as many such voters than in 2004 (6% compared to 3%, or about 7mln compared to 3mln). Surprisingly they voted for Obama 52% to 46% (they know that their taxes will be most probably raised). In 2004 this group voted 63% to 35% for Bush. This change does not appear to correlate to any change in the number of post-graduate voters (highly educated voters have higher income but also are more Liberal).

One explanation for this that I heard is that these are the Palin haters, i.e. they were so offended by the choice of “dumb” Palin, that they decided to vote for “intelligent” Obama. The other explanation that I heard is that these are economically savvy people who are tired with the economic mess brought upon us by Bush government, so that they are willing to give Obama a chance. These people may own businesses, but they do not mind higher taxes under Obama, because Obama will make economy run so good that their after tax revenues will be higher anyway.

I think both explanations are severely wanting. Maybe if we knew why in 2008 there were twice as many over $200k voters, that would help to explain. Who knows? Maybe some of these are California (Bay Area and L.A.) voters who normally would not be bothered to vote, but this year came out to vote against Prop 8.

The third interesting number is the total number of votes. So far, in 2008, 120,318,920 votes have been counted. In 2004 there were 121,068,715 votes total cast. So it looks like the turnout will basically be the same. Definitely not as it was predicted.

Forth number. The “Ideology” distribution is basically the same as in 2004. This year we had Liberal (22%), Moderate (44%), Conservative (34%). In 2004 we had Liberal (21%), Moderate (45%), Conservative (34%).

Fifth number: 24% of the people polled declared that they would be scared if Obama won.

Sixth number: 67% of the people polled favor offshore drilling (42% favor offshore drilling strongly).

Seventh number: This one is particularly surprising. 71% of the people polled think that their taxes will go up under Obama. 57% of those who voted for Obama think that their taxes will go up. This may mean that Obama voters do not trust Obama on tax promises (he promised tax cut to 95%). Or it may mean that Democrat voters are “partiotic” and they simply like taxes. A vote for Obama is a plea to be taxed more.

Eighth – this one is weird: 4% of the polled think that Obama is too conservative. What is weird is that close to half of those who thought so voted for McCain – OK, so you vote for McCain because you think that Obama is too conservative ???. Such weird results make me trust these polls less.

Ninth: Very, very few Obama voters think that terrorism is a very important issue.

UPDATE: Here are some interesting interactive election result maps, and interactive exit poll result maps.

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