Washington D.C., Oct 19, 2012 / 00:56 am
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.