With the price of exit surveys on the rise, election pollsters are curbing costs by canceling exit polls in 19 states — and non-swing-state Texas didn't make the cut.
The decision, confirmed Thursday, was made by the National Election Pool, a collaboration between The Associated Press and several major television networks that has provided election exit polling information since 1990.
Dan Merkle, director of elections for ABC News, which is a member of the pool, told the Washington Post that the goal is "to still deliver a quality product in the most important states." He told The New York Times, “We are simply shifting resources to get the best coverage we can: beefing up the national sample, beefing up the telephone polls, beefing up the battleground states.”
He said the rising costs are associated with increases in early voting totals and the number of voters who only use cell phones. States included in this year's exit polls will have their sample sizes increased by 32 percent. "It makes perfect sense that their costs have been rising," said Mark Blumenthal, senior polling editor for The Huffington Post, "especially given the need for dual mode (landline & cell) telephone surveys in order to reach the growing number of early voters in many states."
Some Texas voters will still receive phone calls as part of a national exit poll, but the information about demographics and other data collected in traditional exit polls would have been useful to future analysts. "The effects are a real loss for everyone that has come to rely on the data to better understand who votes and why," Blumenthal said.