Please Stop Looking at Exit Polls

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Our editor-in-chief has a gripe:


Seriously, people, just don’t do this. The polling this year was unreliable and there’s every reason to think the exit polls are unreliable too. But analysts are gonna analyze, so we get a lot of opening sentences like this:

Take all this with a grain of salt, but….

No. Just stop there. I know it’s frustrating for numbers-oriented folks to have no reliable numbers to analyze the election with, but right now we don’t. And this is doubly true if you’re comparing 2020 to 2016, which had some reliability issues of its own. Like it or not, this year’s exits just aren’t good enough except at the broadest possible level (for example, shifts of six or seven points or more, which will probably hold up even if the precise magnitude of the shift changes when we get better numbers).

I myself have taken an even more extreme tack: I haven’t even looked at the 2020 exit polls. Even if I swear to myself that I’m just curious and I won’t let them influence me, they will. I’d rather have no opinion than one based on bad data.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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