How to Read the CNN Exit Poll Data

Exit poll can be referred to as a "CNN Exit Poll" or a "Voter News Survey exit 
poll conducted for CNN." You do not need to report a sampling error for exit 

Now an important note about how to read the results. Let's look
at the following actual results from the Louisiana caucuses:

Exit Poll Question   All < Vertical Pcts > < Horizontal Pcts >
                         KEYS UNCM           KEYS UNCM
Vote by Gender Men   56   53   0    0    58   46   1     2   35    
                           0   0               5   6
Women                44   47   0    0    42   51   1     3   33 
                               0    0          3   5

First, look at the column marked "All Pct." This indicates the number of poll
respondents who belong to each category. In the example above, 56% of the
Louisiana voters were men; 44% were women.

Next -- and this is very important -- note that the columns to the left are
marked "Vertical Pcts" and the ones on the right are marked "Horizontal Pcts."
What's the difference? A very important one. Look under the "Vertical"
percentages column marked "GRAM" which clearly stands for Gramm voters. The "58"
means that 58% of Gramm voters were men. The "42" indicates that 42% of Gramm
voters were women.

Now look at the "GRAM" column at the far right of the screen. Since it is in the
"Horizontal Pcts" section, the numbers have a different meaning. The "35" means
that 35% of the men who participated in the caucus voted for Gramm. The "33"
indicates that 33% of female voters chose Gramm.

Confused? Here's a simple rule: in nearly every case, you want to use the numbers
in the "Horizontal Pcts" section. That is because you want to tell your viewers
how men (or whites, or moderates, or 18-to-29 year olds) voted. 55% of women
voted for Dole. 32% of conservatives voted for Keyes. 67% of whites voted for

The "Vertical Pcts" column describes the make-up of Dole voters, or Gramm voters,
or Forbes voters. 57% of Dole voters were men. 67% of Keyes voters were
conservatives. 97% of Buchanan voters were white. Only rarely will you want to
describe the election in this fashion.

Finally, you see that some columns are "double-stacked" -- like the one marked
"BCHN KEYS." This is because in primaries there can be so many candidates that
they don't all fit on one line. In the "BCHN KEYS" column in the "Horizontal
section, for example, the top number (46) corresponds to Buchanan ("BCHN")
voters. The bottom number (5) corresponds to Keyes ("KEYS") voters. In other
words -- since these are "horizontal percentages" -- 46% of men voted for
Buchanan and 5% of men voted for Keyes. The next two rows of numbers show that
51% of women voted for Buchanan and 3% of women voted for Keyes.

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