Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy
Since 1982, The KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll has been a helpful tool to understanding Utah elections. Through a sample of voters exiting the polls on Election Day, the questionnaire collects information on voting behaviors, issue positions, demographics and more. The exit poll does more than predict winners; it enables interpretation of the meaning of the votes that are cast.
Students. The KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll is the only existing statewide student-run exit poll in the nation. BYU undergraduate students from three disciplines — statistics, political science and communications — design the project. On Election Day, more than 1,000 student volunteers from campuses across the state carry out the exit poll. The direct involvement by students facilitates first-hand learning of the political process and is an invaluable educational opportunity for all who participate.
800 volunteer interviewers fan out to 90 polling places
200 students volunteer for data entry assignments
100 students work with logistical coordination and roving crisis teams
75 students produce the KBYU Election Night news broadcast
30 gallons of hot chocolate and hundreds of donuts help the students cover an estimated 4,000 miles on the road on Election Day Accuracy. The BYU statistics students, guided by professors Howard Christensen and Dan Williams, design a sample that gives an accurate picture of Utah voters. The results are very precise; In the 2003 Salt Lake City mayoral race, the KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll predicted 53.8 percent of the vote for Rocky Anderson and 46.2 percent for Frank Pignanelli. In the actual vote, Anderson carried 54 percent of the vote to Pignanelli's 46 percent.
The 2004 poll. This year the questionnaire will be available in Spanish to include more responses from the growing number of Latino voters. Interviewers will gather surveys from 9,000 voters. The following schools have participating students:
Brigham Young University – Professors Kelly Patterson and Quin Monson
Snow College – Professor Paul Harnett
Dixie State College of Utah – Professor Matt Harris
Southern Utah University – Professor Stephen Roberds
Utah Valley State College – Professor Jay Desart
Utah State University – Professor Shannon Peterson
Weber State University – Professor Leah Murray
Westminster College – Professor Bill Bynum
Writer: Kate Kelly