For my part, I have never treated exit polls as an absolute measure for predicting election results. Moreover, no one I know has said that the discrepancy itself indicates that Kerry must have really won the election. Rather, the evidence that cast doubts on the election results come from diverse sources. The exit polls have never been cited as primary evidence of fraud, but only as a reason to take that primary evidence to heart. US Representative John Conyers, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee and author of the foreword to our book says the discrepancy is "but one indicia or warning that something may have gone wrong — either with the polling or with the election."
The discrepancy is an undisputed fact. The question thus becomes, “What caused it?” Those who defend the election say that Bush voters must have participated in the polls at a lower rate than Kerry voters did. This presumption has never been substantiated by any data or even coherent theory. In fact, the data that has been made available by the pollsters not only fail to validate the presumption, they undermine it entirely.
All indicators on poll participation suggest not lower, but slightly higher response rates among Bush voters. For example, if Bush voters were responding at lower rates, then response rates should be lower in precincts where Bush voters predominated as compared to Kerry precincts. The opposite is true. Response rates in Bush precincts are slightly higher, not lower.
Whereas we could find no evidence regarding lower participation of Bush voters, we observed more than a dozen indicators of a corrupted count. I’ll mention just two of them. First, consider: If you are going to steal an election you go after votes most vigorously where they are most needed. In this case, the 11 swing states where the election was close. As it turns out, even though there is no reason why exit polls should be more or less accurate in key states, the discrepancy is significantly higher in the swing states than other states and significantly higher yet in the three critical battleground states of Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.
If fraud were afoot, it would also make sense that the president's men would steal votes in their strongholds, where they control the machinery of government and few people would be in a position to challenge the result. Lo and behold, we learn that in those precincts where Bush won 80 percent or more of the vote, the average disparity between the exit poll predictions and the official count was a whopping 10 percentage points. In these Bush strongholds, Kerry received only about two-thirds of the votes that voters said they cast for him.