For two decades, the Utah Colleges Exit Poll has brought important election information to Utah voters. This year's poll will be unique because it will mark the first time the Utah Colleges Exit Poll will be solely in Salt Lake City covering the mayoral election.
On Tuesday, Nov. 4, more than 300 Brigham Young University and Utah Valley State College students will assist in carrying out the poll, which will include distributing questionnaires to statistically selected voters and then calling in the results to data entry specialists stationed on the BYU campus who will log and compile the data. Members of the Political Science and Statistics Departments will use this information to predict the results of the election live on KBYU-TV (Channel 11) at 8 p.m., after polls have closed.
The student pollsters have been trained by a group of 15 BYU students who created, organized and executed the poll under the direction of Kelly Patterson, chair of the Political Science Department.
The exit poll has two main objectives, says Patterson. "The poll provides Utah citizens with a deeper understanding of the decisions voters made and also gives students the opportunity to study public opinion in a real-world context," he said.
Having an exit poll in an odd year like this one is also a unique experience. "Normally, we only do exit polls on even years when there are federal or state elections, but because of the significance and interest surrounding the Salt Lake City mayoral race, we decided it would be important to have data on why voters made the decisions they made," Patterson explains.
"The exit poll has a history and reputation of accuracy. Normally, our polls are within one percent of the actual vote. If the vote is 57 to 43 percent, our polls will be about there," he says.
More information about the KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll can be found at http://exitpoll.byu.edu.