While troubles with state and county election websites left viewers of other Utah news stations in suspense late into the night, KBYU called the tightly contested 4th District congressional race two hours ahead of the pack.
And thanks to the 1,200 student volunteers who had conducted their exit poll, not only was it the right call, the predicted margin of victory was almost exactly right. That prompted this late-night tweet from Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox after his team had pulled together the actual vote totals:
— Spencer Cox (@SpencerJCox) November 5, 2014
KSL's Sam Penrod also noted the precision of the predictions:
— Sam Penrod (@KSLsampenrod) November 5, 2014
Since early September, thirty-six BYU students have been organizing this year’s exit poll under the direction of political science professor David Magleby. The work includes drawing a random sample, designing the surveys, training students as Election Day interviewers, programming computer systems for data entry, and preparing an Election Night television program.
“I love seeing the results of my efforts,” BYU student Meredith DeMordaunt told the Daily Herald . “I have learned more in this class by doing hands-on stuff than most of my other classes combined.
"It’s time consuming, but so worth it. As opposed to writing a paper and getting a grade, you actually see the results of your hard work.”
Student volunteers from Utah State University, Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Westminster College and Southern Utah University joined BYU students in fanning out to polling places around the state. The KBYU/Utah Colleges Exit Poll has a long track record for neutrality, confidentiality and accuracy. Over its 32-year history, the Utah Colleges Exit Poll has been the most accurate exit poll in Utah.