39 States, 68 Contests, 79,281 Interviews

I filed a piece yesterday summarizing what we’ve learned from the exit polls across this primary season – a blueprint to the presumptive nominees’ strengths and weaknesses as they square off for the general election. We’ve now added the data that have informed these judgments – spreadsheets summarizing the results we’ve covered from state to state and in aggregate across primaries all year. See them here.

These exit polls have illuminated and helped us understand the 2008 primaries in an irreplaceable way – reaching beyond the spinmeisters, pundits and drumbeat of conventional wisdom to hear the views and measure the preferences of voters themselves, in valid, reliable representative samples. The polls represent a gargantuan data-collection effort – 79,281 interviews in all, conducted in 68 contests in 39 states, encompassing all the Democratic state primaries, the contested Republican primaries and the Iowa and Nevada caucuses.

Reporters, analysts, strategists, political scientists and historians will be picking over these data, not just in the weeks and months ahead but for years to come. There are many stories to be told and lessons to be drawn from the 2008 primary elections, and the exit polls are a terrific place to start. It’s a privilege to have had first crack at them these last five months.

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