Again, the math doesn’t add up. CNN’s exit poll of Florida voters reports that 16% self-reported Republicans who voted in the Florida PPP as being “latino” [sic].
We know that prior to Election Day, of the more than 1.2m registered Republicans who had already voted, more than 86% self-identified as “white” when they registered to vote. Only 10.3% marked on their voter registration cards that they were “Hispanic.”
It’s stretches the imagination, then, that one in five of the 1.16m Republicans who voted on Election Day (some 254k) were Hispanic voters. Sure, some 192k Republican Hispanics didn’t vote early in Miami-Dade, but chances are, a few of them also stayed home on Election Day. Indeed, there were less than 400k Republican Hispanics statewide who had yet to vote on Election Day. Nearly every one of them would have had to have voted on Election Day in order for the CNN exit poll figure for Hispanic turnout to map out.
With such dubious baseline figures, I’d throw caution to the wind for anyone digging any deeper into the CNN exit poll crosstabs in Florida. One wonders how far off the exit polls are in the other states that have had primaries?
I will be digging into this some more as time permits. Although I can’t find a link to the exit poll methodology or how weighting was done, I’m assuming CNN drew its sample of 1907 Republicans not only from Election Day voters, but sampled early in-person and called absentee voters who cast ballots ahead of the March 15, 2016 PPP in Florida.
But some quick observations of the marginals…
First, and most glaringly, I am hard-pressed to believe that only 39% of Republican respondents were 60+. Sure, Election Day voters tend to be younger than convenience voters (early in-person and absentee mail), but my analysis of the statewide voter file and absentee and early in-person voting indicates that of the nearly 1.2m Republicans who voted prior to Election Day, 63.4% were 60+.
So, some simple arithmetic: A total of nearly 2.36m votes were cast by Republicans in the PPP; less than half of the total (roughly 1.16m) were cast on Election Day. If CNN’s exit poll is accurate, that 39% of Republican voters were 60+, it would mean that 919.9k of the 2.36m Republican voters were in this group of older voters. But roughly 756.9k Republicans 60+ had already voted early (in-person and absentee), which leaves only 163k Republicans over 60 to show up on Election Day. That would mean that only 1 in 8 of the 1.64m Republican voters who showed up on Election Day were 60+.
That’s just not credible.
This is not the first time I’ve found problems with CNN’s exit polls; its 2014 General Election exit polling breakdown for the age of voters was also way off.
But we’ll know for sure about the accuracy of CNN’s 2016 PPP exit polls in Florida next month.
Floridians wanting to participate in the March 15, 2016 presidential preference primary had until February 16 to either register to vote or change their party registration to Democrat or Republican in order to vote in either closed primary.
Between February 1 and February 16, more than 36k Floridians became newly registered voters during the final run-up to the registration deadline. Roughly one-third of them cast ballots prior to Election Day. Some 5.4k newly registered Democratic voted (3.4k cast early in-person ballots and 2.0k mailed in their absentee ballots), and 6.1k newly registered Republicans voted (3.7k early in-person and 2.4k absentee ballots). A smattering of newly registered NPAs and 3rd party registrants also voted before Election Day.
We won’t know until next month if the 24k other newly registered voters waited to cast ballots on Election Day. We’ll never know (because the state of Florida doesn’t track this) if those who voted, or those who waited until Election Day or didn’t vote at all, opted-in to register at DMV offices or other state or federal agencies that are required to ask voters if they’d like to register. My Ph.D. graduate student, Lia Merivaki, is looking into questions like these in her dissertation. It will be interesting to see if the ongoing implementation of online voter registration across many states (and in Florida, in 2017), or automatic registration (which is already in effect in Oregon and will be in California), will lead to these new registrants voting, or deciding not to exercise their franchise.
If it’s the later, turnout rates will likely take a tip dip due to an inflated denominator of registered voters who didn’t opt when applying for their driver’s license or other services.