I'm as willing to jump on new CNN chief Jonathan Klein as the next blogger--he seems way too slick. (And he won't be forgiven for the "pajamas.") But isn't Klein's controversial "flood the zone" comment--about CNN's intensive tsunami coverage--the sort of highly unfortunate word mistake almost anyone could make? ... He was just going with the cliche! ... 3:10 P.M.
The smoking gun indicting the official Mitofsky/Lenski exit poll appears to have surfaced--in New Zealand! Mystery Pollster points the way to this file posted on the Scoop website. It is one of several that "appear to be actual internal Election Day reports generated by Edison/Mitofsky," according to MP. ... What it shows: As late as 7:33 P.M. on Election Day, Mitofsky and Lenski were apparently telling their clients (NBC, CBS, CNN, AP, etc.) that after "weighting" Kerry was beating Bush by 9 points among women and losing by only 4 among men. By 1:24 P.M. the next day (see this file) revised results revealed that, in fact, Kerry won women by only 3 points while Bush won men by 11 points. Whoops! ... It wasn't the dumb bloggers who didn't understand on Nov. 2 that they were being prematurely leaked "complex displays intended for trained statisticians," as Mitofsky would have it--or the dumb Kerry aides and dumb Bush aides who believed the same leaked numbers. It was that the weighted results Mitofsky's statisticians put out were full of it! ...
P.S.: The documents would also seem to contradict Mitofsky's argument that "we recognized the overstatement in the exit polls in mid-afternoon, and we told the members of NEP about the suspicions we had"--but mistakenly did not tell the mere "subscribers" like WaPo. If the errors were recognized in mid-afternoon, why was bogus 'weighted' data being compiled in neat official tables well into the evening?
P.P.S.: How much did Mitofsky's clients pay to be misinformed at 7:30 in the evening on Election Day? Are they happy about it?
Update: Mystery Pollster seems to think the New Zealish documents are less of a smoking gun than I do, but that's because he feels already knew the story--in part from WaPo managing editor Steve Coll's comments in a postelection chat. But it's one thing to take Coll at his word. It's another thing to see the bad Edison/Mitofsky data in black and white on an official NEP document. MP notes:
The continuing stonewall of secrecy that the networks have erected around the exit polls does not help. It is that secrecy, as much as anything else, that continues to fuel the more bizarre conspiracy theories floating around the blogosphere. I remain a skeptic of widespread fraud, but I cannot understand the continuing secrecy: Why did these documents have to be leaked by a left-wing web site in New Zealand? Why did NEP not release them in early November? Why did it take until late December for NEP to make the basic methodology statements the networks had on Election Day available online? And why so much reluctance to discuss, openly, what went wrong and why?
Gee, maybe because the truth is really, really embarrassing? Just a guess! ... 2:26 P.M.
Monday, January 3, 2005