News Release

Why to be Wary of Fox News’ Reinvention of Exit Polling Tonight

DAVID W. MOORE,  dmoore62 at comcast.net
Moore is a senior fellow with the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. He is a former vice president of the Gallup Organization and managing editor of the Gallup Poll, where he worked from 1993 until 2006. His books include How to Steal an Election: The Inside Story of How George Bush’s Brother and FOX Network Miscalled the 2000 Election and Changed the Course of History.

Moore is now polling director at iMediaEthics, where he recently wrote the piece “Why Fox News is reinventing the exit poll for Tuesday’s election — and why we should be wary,” which states: “Last Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Fox News Network has decided to conduct its own exit polls for Tuesday’s election contests. This does not sound like good news.

“Since 1998, the network has relied on exit poll data provided by a media consortium, which today goes by the name of the National Election Pool (NEP). It includes ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, the Associated Press — and Fox, until this year. But now the network believes it has developed a ‘superior’ system. …

“As the Post article notes, ‘The project, dubbed the Fox News Voter Analysis, was born from the network’s frustration at having underestimated Donald Trump’s chance of victory until late on Election Day in 2016.’

“Let’s get this straight: It’s not that NEP made predictions that were incorrect, but that it made the predictions ‘late’ on Election Day. And Fox wants to make the predictions earlier.

“Why? Who is served by a rush to judgment? After all, the election winners will be announced as soon as all the votes are counted. So, how important is it to predict the winners earlier in the evening? The answer: Not important at all. At least to the citizenry.

“So, why the rush? …

“The last time Fox decided to make a similar rush to judgment was in the 2000 Election, when — at 2:30 in the morning after Election Day — it projected George W. Bush the winner in Florida. This projection caused all the other networks to follow suit, only to rescind the projection two hours later.

“The miscall and resulting confusion caused Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News Network, to admit, ‘In my heart I do believe that democracy was harmed by my network and others on November 7, 2000.'”