Friday, November 05, 2004


Exit Poll Handbook

Such Little Things has obtained a web exclusive: an inside look at the CNN training manual "How to conduct an exit poll:"

In order to forecast the election as properly as possible, it is imperative to approach a representative cross-section of CNN viewers. But it's not as easy as it looks to get strangers to respond. To help you out, we've developed this handy checklist:
  • Neighborhoods that traditionally vote Democrat have better coffee shops, encouraging a more open-minded approach by voters. Start there.

  • People wearing Kerry/Edwards t-shirts are known to be forthright and balanced in their opinions. Use them wherever possible.

  • Wearing a t-shirt of your own that says "no blood for oil" will identify you as an independent, unaffiliated pollster, which encourages folk of all political stripes to respond.

  • Women give better responses than men; try to interview as many as possible. But see also the next point.

  • Wedding rings are bad luck for pollsters. Avoid those women who wear one.

  • People will open up about how they voted if there are some large folks within earshot; this really breaks the ice.

  • Make sure you get each respondent's IQ first; the figures will be tabulated later. A good opening question: were you smart enough to vote for Kerry?

  • If the respondent says they voted for Bush, be sure to ask "are you sure?", just in case.

  • After you're done, give a gift certificate, or an extra provisional ballot, to each voter. They always appreciate it.

The above is from the 2004 manual, of course. The 2008 version hasn't come out yet.