What We Learned from the 2020 Election Exit Polls

Thank you for joining us for our first webinar of 2021, What We Learned from the 2020 Election and Exit Polls.

Click here to download a copy of the presentation

In this webinar, EVP Joe Lenski and VP Randy Brown gave an overview of the challenges presented by exit polling during a pandemic, the processes that Edison Research developed to conduct the exit poll of record for the National Election Pool, and some of the findings about the U.S. electorate.

Click here for more on Edison Research and our role in the U.S. elections.

January 5 Election Day Coverage

Edison Research continues coverage of the 2020 election with exit polls of early voters and election day voters for the January 5, 2021 Senate runoff election in the state of Georgia. Edison Research conducted the exit poll of record for the November 3 general election for The National Election Pool (NEP), comprised of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News.

The NEP’s exit poll is the only survey that will be released on election night that represents the views and opinions of actual voters interviewed after they cast their ballots at early voting locations, and after they cast their ballots on election day in Georgia.

Click here for more on Edison Research and U.S. elections

Click on the links below for coverage of the Senate runoff election in Georgia, including exit poll data:

 

 

 

 

Continued Election Day 2020 Coverage

The exit poll of record for the U.S. presidential election is conducted by Edison Research on behalf of The National Election Pool (NEP), comprised of  ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.

Edison Research began interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country on Oct ober 13, and will continue through election day, with the bulk of the interviews being conducted across the United States on November 3. The NEP’s exit poll is the only survey that will be released on election night that represents the views and opinions of actual voters interviewed as they cast their ballots all across the country.

Click here for more on Edison Research and U.S. elections, and see below for more Election Night 2020 coverage, including exit poll data.

Click on the links below for Election Night 2020 coverage, including exit poll data:

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEP & EDISON RESEARCH TO ONCE AGAIN CONDUCT EXIT POLL OF RECORD

NEP and Edison Research will expand in-person early voting interviews and implement Covid-19-related protocols to maintain health and safety.

With record numbers of Americans expected to vote before Election Day, the exit poll of record, conducted by Edison Research on behalf of ABC News, CBS News, CNN and NBC News, will begin interviewing voters at early voting locations around the country on October 13.

“More Americans are expected to vote before Election Day this year than any other election in history, and the member networks of the National Election Pool (NEP) and Edison Research have developed innovative new techniques to account for that in our long-standing exit poll,” said Joe Lenski, co-founder and Executive Vice President of Edison Research.

The NEP’s exit poll is the only survey that will be released on election night that represents the views and opinions of actual voters interviewed as they cast their ballots all across the country.

As it has since 2004, the NEP exit poll will also include extensive telephone surveys of those planning to vote by mail to ensure that all voters are represented in Election Night coverage across the pool’s member networks and subscribers. This year, those polls will reach more than 25,000 voters casting ballots before Election Day.

For the first time in 2018, NEP’s exit poll included in-person interviews with those voting at early voting locations. The technique proved highly accurate in Nevada and Tennessee, the two states in which it was used that year, and was successfully expanded in this year’s presidential primaries in North Carolina and Texas. For the presidential election this fall, early voters will be interviewed in person in eight critical states.

“In 2018, Edison and the NEP pioneered the technique of conducting interviews at in-person early voting sites, and today, we’re using that valuable experience to expand those efforts for 2020,” said Lenski. “It’s simply a matter of taking our time-tested models and applying them to the ways people vote today.”

The 2018 exit poll also incorporated methodological improvements to better reflect the educational and age makeup of the electorate in the NEP’s results. Those improvements will be carried through to 2020. In order to make reliable, direct comparisons to the 2016 exit polls for the size of subgroups including age, education and income, the NEP members and subscribers will be using trend-adjusted results that apply the techniques added to our standard methodology in 2018 to the results from 2016.

In addition to adapting to the changing ways that voters cast their ballots, the NEP is taking precautions to ensure that voters participating in our in-person exit polls remain safe.

The NEP tasked Edison Research to conduct tests to determine best practices for safe and secure exit polls even in the midst of a major public health crisis. Exit polls will be conducted by interviewers wearing masks, who will remain six feet away from respondents and will have new, single-use pencils available for each voter filling out the exit poll questionnaire. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available for voters to use before and after completing their exit polls.

In addition to the exit poll, the NEP and Edison Research will be tabulating the vote from all counties in the U.S. for statewide and congressional races as it has done in previous elections.

Edison Research
Joe Lenski
jlenski@edisonresearch.com

In 2018 the National Election Pool (NEP) incorporated several changes to the exit poll questionnaire and the survey weighting to help improve the accuracy of the reported size of groups by age and education in the exit polls.  The wording of the education question was changed and the education question was placed on the front side of all questionnaires.  In addition, we applied an adjustment for non-response by education and by age using parameters developed by comparing past Census estimates of turnout among these groups and past Exit Poll estimates of turnout among these groups.

The application of these changes starting in 2018 means that direct comparison of the size of voting groups by age, education, and income in 2020 cannot be made with the published survey results for those groups from 2016.  In order to allow comparisons of age, education, and income from the 2020 exit polls with those from 2016 we have applied the new age and education parameters retroactively to the 2016 surveys.  These “trend adjusted” composition numbers for age, education, and income should be used for comparison with the national survey and the twenty two states where we will have conducted state exit polls in both 2016 and 2020.

We have produced the attached spreadsheet with the trend-adjusted compositions for these demographics for the 2016 national and state surveys to be used for comparison with the 2020 exit poll results for these demographics.

To find the NEP exit poll 2016 trend-adjusted data click here

We strongly recommend when reporting on changes to the size of the electorate among age, education, income and related sub-groups in 2020 that all organizations use these trend adjusted compositions from 2016 for comparison.

For every other question we recommend that the published compositions from the 2016 exit polls should be used for comparison and trending with the 2020 exit poll results.

For the vote results among all questions including age, education, and income, the published 2016 exit poll results should still be used for comparison.

Edison Research’s Ask Me Anything About Elections

Thank you to those who joined us live for our Ask Me Anything About Elections webinar with Edison Research’s Joe Lenski and our election team. View a replay of the event below, and if you have a question that wasn’t answered here, please email us at info@edisonresearch.com.

Click here for more information about Edison Research and elections.

About Edison Research 
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison Research is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison Research is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.