Current Exit Poll Results
No doubt everyone has seen some version of early exit poll results circulating around the web. Here is a version of those results that allegedly hails from around the 6pm hour and was posted on the Daily Kos. I have received pretty much identical numbers from several other good sources so these results are probably as reliable as anything else we can get at this point. Extreme caution is advised, of course, but these results do look quite favorable for Kerry:
PA 53 46
FL 51 49
NC 48 52
OH 51 49
MO 46 54
AR 47 53
MI 51 47
NM 50 49
LA 43 56
CO 48 51
AZ 45 55
MN 54 44
WI 52 47
IA 49 49
But here are some other early results that have received less attention. These results come from the national exit poll on the CNN website and, presumably, other sites as well. Now, these results can change and undoubtedly will in some respects. But if they wind up being close to the final results, there's a reasonable case to be made that CNN has already let the cat out of the bag in terms of the final result.
That's because CNN has posted data which indicate the overall popular vote result is 51-48 Kerry. If that holds up, it is not impossible for Bush to nevertheless win an electoral vote, but it is very, very improbable. A three point popular vote margin should translate into a substantially more lopsided margin in the electoral college in favor of John Kerry.
Here are some other potentially significant results from these early national exit poll results (Kerry number always given first):
1. Substantially smaller gender gap (54-45 women vs. 47-51 men). But change relative to 2000 is mostly the shrinking of Bush's lead among men (11 points in '00, 4 points this year)
2. Bush is only winning white men by 17 points; in '00 he won this group by 24 points.
3. Current results indicate minorities are 23 percent of the vote, which is 4 points higher than in 2000. These results shows blacks as 11 percent of the vote (vs. 10 percent in '00) and hispanics as 9 percent of the vote (vs. 6.5 percent in '00). In terms of support for the Democrats, these results show blacks supporting Kerry 90-10, very similar to '00 results (so much for that absurd Joint Center poll that had Bush's black support at 18 percent). Asians are supporting Kerry by 23 points (61-38), a fairly big jump from the '00 54-41 Democratic margin. On the other hand, these results show Hispanics supporting Kerry by only 56-41, compared to 62-35 in '00. If this result holds up (and this is one I would expect to change), it's quite a surprise.
4. Young voters (18-29) are going heavily for Kerry, 56-43 though these results do not show an increase in young voters as a proportion of the electorate (17 percent this year vs. 17 percent in '00)
5. Union household members are 24 percent of voters (down slightly from '00's 26 percent level) and support Kerry by 61-38 (slightly larger margin than '00's).
6. Kerry leads among independents by 7 points (compared to a 2 point Democratic deficit in '00) and leads among moderates by 16 points (compared to a Democratic lead of 8 points in '00).
More on these data later. But note this: CNN has now started posting their state level exit polls as soon as the polls close in that state. Take a look. Based on these data, Kerry seems very, very likely to win.
Update: CNN has posted an updated (9:20 pm) version of their national exit poll results. Some numbers move around by small amounts, but these changes have little effect on the patterns summarized above.