Exit poll reductions not likely to lessen Catholic vote impact
By Michelle Bauman
A woman holds a sign encouraging people to vote. Credit: Airman 1st Class Nathan Lipscomb-USAF.
A woman holds a sign encouraging people to vote. Credit: Airman 1st Class Nathan Lipscomb-USAF.

.- A decision to reduce the number of states included in exit polls after the 2012 presidential election is not expected to detract from the importance attached to the Catholic vote or future efforts by candidates to attract Catholics as a group.

Dr. Mark M. Gray, research associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, explained that the change means “we won't be able to discern how Catholics voted nationally as quickly as we have in the past.”

However, he told CNA on Oct. 17 that he believes the votes of Catholics and other subgroups will still be a significant topic of discussion following the upcoming election.

On Oct. 4, the Washington Post reported that the decision to eliminate the polls in some states had been made by the National Election Pool, which sponsors national exit surveys of voters in order for the media to make predictions about election outcomes before all the votes have been counted.
For 20 years, exit polls after presidential elections have included voters in all 50 states. However, this year that number will be cut to 31 states, eliminating the surveys from 19 states where there is already a high level of confidence that one candidate will win. 

The change will allow exit polls to focus on gathering data from hotly-contested swing states.

ABC News elections director Dan Merkle, a member of the National Election Pool’s managing committee, said the decision was to an attempt to maintain quality while dealing with increasing costs.

An increase in early voting has necessitated a rise in the use of telephone interviews rather than cheaper in-person precinct polls.

In addition, the National Election Pool is increasing the number of precincts that will be sampled in the national survey this year, facilitating detailed analysis of subgroups.

The states that will not have exit polls this year are: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. The District of Columbia will also be excluded.

As a result, analysts and researchers will not be able to see the individual state breakdown of voters by religion, sex, age or race in these states.

However, Gray explained that he does not think the change will affect the way in which campaigns appeal to the Catholic electorate.

“It does not diminish the importance of the Catholic vote either,” he added. For years, the Catholic vote has been considered an important demographic in presidential elections.

“The loss of the national exit polls simply means we won't quickly be able to discern how Catholics voted,” Gray explained. Instead, analysts will have to rely on small national surveys, such as The National Election Study, which “won't be released for some time after the election.”
Mark J. Rozell, professor of public policy at George Mason University, agreed that the change will likely not detract from the way that campaigns reach out to Catholics.

Election seasons will still include numerous polls with participants broken down by religious affiliation, he said, and individual campaigns look at voter subgroups in “minute detail.”

The biggest loss resulting from the decision to cut exit polls from some states will be to the academic community in its post-election analysis, Rozell stated.

“I don’t think it will minimize one bit the perceptions of Catholic voters,” he said.

Tags: 2012 election, Catholic vote

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »


Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: