An open access publication of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
Fall 2012

Long Live the Exit Poll

D. James Greiner and Kevin M. Quinn
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We discuss the history of the exit poll as well as its future in an era characterized by increasingly effective and inexpensive alternatives for obtaining information. With respect to the exit poll's future, we identify and assess four purposes it might serve. We conclude that the exit poll's most important function in the future should, and probably will, be to provide information about the administration of the franchise and about the voter's experience in casting a ballot. The nature of this purpose suggests that it may make sense for academic institutions to replace media outlets as the primary implementers of exit polls.

D. JAMES GREINER is an Assistant Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. His research focuses on statistics and litigation, and his current projects involve redistricting, election administration, adjudicative system design, and the evaluation of delivery of legal services. His work has been published in the Review of Economics and Statistics and the Harvard Law Review, among other journals.

KEVIN M. QUINN is Professor of Law at the UC Berkeley School of Law. His research, which focuses on judicial decision-making and statistical methodology, has been published in such journals as the Columbia Law Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Stanford Law Review. He currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Statistical Association.