Friday, August 7, 2009

Slanting the exit poll of Cary's instant runoff voting election

Was the exit poll of the Cary, NC instant runoff voting slanted? The answer is that the exit polling and voter education activities were not done using a scientific method, nor were groups involved objective. Instead, FairVote activists, whose agenda is to promote IRV - were very involved in both voter education and exit polling. Messages from the "maineIRV" group and a video show document that FairVote employees and activists interviewed voters both entering and exiting the polling place.

In the yahoo news group "maineIRV" - Maine Electoral Reform/IRV, Diane Russell, IRV America Director summed up her experience with helping in the Cary North Carolina IRV election. These are excerpts, the full messages are at the links:

On Oct 25, 2007, message number 18, she writes:

Cary, NC: As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, I had the privilege of being on-site in Cary, NC for their first IRV election. ...If you see the hand holding the mic, that was me. (Don't let the Southern accent fool you; I was Incognito.)

Russell about the Cary IRV election posted to mainIRV on Oct 11, 2007

"I did exit polling and some volunteer education all day with proved much more interesting than even I had anticipated. There is a direct correlation between the quality of the voter education and the feelings toward IRV in the exit survey/polling.

...For those people who have a difficult time explaining IRV succinctly, the response from the exit polling was less positive.... ... (There were times when I served as both for my precinct; not a good precedent).
Below is the video where the interview occurs, you can see Ms. Russell's arm holding the microphone as she is "incognito" and pretends to be a "southerner". The respondents in the video were the ones FairVote selected because of the positive attitude. Ms. Russell told the maineIRV group that at the end there were negative responses, but none of those made it into the video -- which makes the video misleading.