Understanding and Interpreting Polls: Exit Polls

Exit poll data from Super Tuesday (and any election) can help not just with daily coverage, but can shape your reporting strategy through the 2016 campaign.

Exit polls typically gather three types of data:

  • For whom voters cast their ballot (especially key with people who decide at the last minute)
  • Attitudes held by the voter
  • Demographic characteristics of the voter

From this, you can learn why people voted the way they did and which key demographic groups voted for which candidates. The so-called “mandate” of the election can be measured (and reported) accurately, without relying on the partisan spin that the candidates, their campaign staff and political pundits typically put on interpreting election results.

Taken from Understanding and Interpreting Polls, a self-directed course at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.


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