How To Read Exit Poll Data

Horizontal percentages describe the percentage of people in a category who voted for each candidate. They are called that because you read across the rows to find the right numbers. Vertical percentages describe the number of each candidate's supporters who are part of that category. They are called vertical because you read down the columns to find the right numbers.

Let's take the following example:

 CLIN DOLE PEROT CLIN DOLE PEROT Men 43* 44* 10* 42** 52 57 Women 52 54 38 58** 48 43

Look at the three numbers with a single asterisk next to them. They are horizontal percentages. They mean that 43 percent OF MEN voted for Clinton; 44 percent OF MEN voted for Clinton; and 10 percent OF MEN voted for Perot. Note again that the proper way to read these numbers is by looking across the rows.

Now look at the two numbers with the double asterisk next to them They are vertical percentages. They mean that 42 percent OF CLINTON VOTERS were men and 58 percent OF CLINTON VOTERS were women. Note that the proper way to read these numbers is by looking down the columns.

Here's another example:

 CLIN DOLE PEROT CLIN DOLE PEROT African-American 84 12 4 17 3 4

Take a look at Clinton's numbers. The horizontal percentage indicates that Clinton won 84 percent of the African-American vote. The vertical percentage says that 17 percent of Clinton's support was made up of African-Americans.