Skeptics Guide Part 2: Absence of Evidence is Not Evidence of Absence

A couple of weeks ago, based on claims that exit polls showed that the primary was stolen from Bernie Sanders, I said: “I stand with Carl Sagan who said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

Now we have the reverse situation from the NYTimes: Exit Polls, and Why the Primary Was Not Stolen From Bernie Sanders <read>

I seems like a pretty good case that the exit polls do not prove  the election was stolen:

All of this starts with a basic misconception: that the exit polls are usually pretty good.

I have no idea where this idea comes from, because everyone who knows anything about early exit polls knows that they’re not great.

We can start in 2008, when the exit polls showed a pretty similar bias toward Barack Obama. Or in 2004, when the exit polls showed John Kerry easily winning an election he clearly lost — with both a huge error and systematic bias outside of the “margin of error.” The national exits showed Kerry ahead by three points (and keep in mind the sample size on the national exit is vastly larger than for a state primary exit poll) and leading in states like Virginia, Ohio and Florida — which all went to George W. Bush.

The story was similar in 2000. The early exit polls showed Al Gore winning Alabama, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina. Mr. Bush won these states by between six and 15 points. The exit polls showed Mr. Gore winning Florida by six points — leading the networks to call the race before 8 p.m. in the East.

Young Voters Love Exit Polls. Old Voters Do Not.
Younger voters are more likely to complete exit polls than older voters across all interviewer ages.

Unfortunately, the Times headline is incorrect.  This evidence in this article only claims  that the exit polls do not prove that Bernie won. There is no proof that the official results are correct.  They may be, they may not be.  We still need Evidence Based Elections, providing strong evidence that the results are correct.

And the opposing case from Richard Charmin: Response to Nate Cohn of the NY Times <read>


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