Equally Dubious of @CNN Exit Polls Showing 16% GOP voters were Hispanic

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?

Very Dubious of @CNN Florida Exit Polls. Let’s Start with the GOP Age Marginals

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.

Damn, Florida’s Electorate is Old (and a lot older than the Exit Polls suggest)!

Just finished cranking out some crosstabs for my coauthor Seth McKee at Texas Tech, and thought I’d share the actual age breakdown of the 2014 Florida electorate. Let’s just say Florida’s voters were A LOT older than the official exit poll suggests.  Here’s CNN’s exit poll estimates for voters, by age, in the 2014 General Election:

exitpoll2014age

The exit poll is WAY off with regard to the estimate of younger voters turning out in 2014. According the Florida voter file, of the 6 million or so who turned out to vote, just over 8% were between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, a far cry from the 14% estimate of the exit poll.  Roughly 16% of actual voters who turned out were 30-44 years old, again, considerably less than the exit poll estimate of 19%.

So, does the exit poll over-estimate the turnout of 45-64 year olds? Actually, no.  According to the official voter file, less than 40% of the actual Florida electorate was in that age bracket, less than the exit poll estimate of 42%.

How is this possible?

The exit poll severely under-estimated the percentage of the electorate that was 65 and over. According to the exit poll, one quarter of the electorate in 2014 was 65 years old or older, when in fact the statewide voter file indicates that nearly 36% of the electorate was 65 or older.

The  generation gap is alive and well in Florida, especially with regard to turnout in midterm elections, a fact missed by the 2014 General Election exit poll.

Digging into the Florida voter file…

Here are some preliminary turnout numbers from the 2014 Florida statewide election gleaned from the Dec. 31, 2014 Florida voter file. (Standard caveats for discrepancies between the Florida Department of State’s “Official Results” and votes cast in the Division of Elections statewide voter file, as well as any rounding errors apply.)

Of those who cast ballots in the 2014 General Election, more than 42% were Republicans, 38% were Democrats, less than 17% were NPAs, with the balance comprised of those registered with third parties.

In terms of the race and ethnicity of the 2014 General Election electorate, more than 73% of those who turned out were white, slightly more than 12% were black, 10% were Hispanic.

So much for exit poll estimates, which overestimated black (14%) and Hispanic (13%) turnout, and underestimated the composition of the electorate that was white (69%).

Less than 44% of registered (active and inactive) Democrats, 31% of NPAs, and 55% of Republicans turned out to vote.  (Only 45% of the state’s registered Libertarians turned out to vote; so much for Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie or the chance to legalize Medical Marijuana smoking them out of their bunkers.)

Close to 50% of registered whites turned out to vote, but only 40% of registered blacks cast ballots. Even worse, only 30% of registered Hispanics and roughly 26% of registered multiracial and those of unknown race/ethnicity bothered to turn out to vote in the November 4, 2014 General Election.

More to come…