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Creator of the exit poll to analyze Connecticut primary (Released: 2/22/96)

by Luis Mocete, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- The creator of the exit poll, Warren Mitofsky, will discuss the possible consequences and effects of the New Hampshire primary on Connecticut s March 5th primary.

Mitofsky, president of Mitofsky International, an election and public opinion survey research company, will provide his insight at 3 p.m. Feb. 28 in Student Union Room 358 at the University of Connecticut.

Whether we like it or not, New Hampshire is a measuring stick that is used by many in determining how the election will develop over the next nine months, said John Barry, associate director of the UConn-based Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and the Institute for Social Inquiry.

Mitofsky s company is known for conducting exit polls in Russia, Mexico and the United States, where it has worked for The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other news organizations.

Before starting his own company, he was vice president of CBS News Special Projects and executive director of Voter Research and Surveys (VRS), the first research organization responsible for producing election projections and exit polls for the major television networks.

Along with Joseph Waksberg, a former consultant for CBS News, they developed a highly efficient random digit-dialing telephone sampling method which became the foundation for telephone polling.

Their creation played a significant role in drastically reducing the time it takes to do scientific survey research, Barry said. It has permitted those in the survey profession to conduct and tabulate their research at a much faster rate so that decisions based on that research are made more rapidly.

As director of CBS News election night coverage, Mitofsky was also credited with conducting the first election-day poll of voters when, in 1967, he used in-person interviews at sampled voting places in Kentucky to predict the governor s race. His technique for exit polling has been adopted by every major news organization.

By creating the exit poll Mitofsky has allowed us to examine the substance of an election and not just the results, Barry said.

Not only are we able to analyze the data, but exit polls have provided projections which enable the television networks to have an opportunity to put on a coherent broadcast, Mitofsky added.

Mitofsky is a board member of the Roper Center, which maintains the largest database of public opinion poll questions asked nationally in the United States from 1936 to the present.

He is working on a book about exit polling and recently completed editing A Meeting Place: The History of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

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