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AP VoteCast

A worker processes mailed-in ballots from Tuesday's primary election, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Wash., south of Seattle. Washington state has offered voting by mail since 2011. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
More inclusive and accurate polling of the dynamics behind America’s elections
  • Client
    The Associated Press
  • Dates
    2017 - Present


Traditional exit polling has become more challenging and less reliable.

When exit polls were designed in the 1960s, the vast majority of voters cast their ballots in person, making it easy for exit poll staff to interview them. But recent changes in voting behavior have made this methodology challenging, if not obsolete. 

The number of voters voting absentee or by mail has skyrocketed, from 5 percent in 1972 to 70 percent in 2020 during the pandemic, and still about half in 2022. And because voting behavior can vary by age, race, geography, and other demographic characteristics, those who still vote in person are far less representative of the electorate as a whole. 


AP VoteCast offers a more reliable way to survey the American electorate. 

Developed in partnership between NORC and The Associated Press and based on decades of research, AP VoteCast delivers surveys of registered voters in every state holding a statewide election. AP VoteCast uses an innovative weighting approach to combine a probability-based, state-by-state survey of registered voters with a large opt-in survey of registered voters conducted online. The survey starts several days before Election Day and concludes as polls close.

The survey captures both the voices of those who choose to vote and registered voters who decide not to cast ballots. To tell the story of the 2020 presidential election, for example, AP VoteCast conducted more than 130,000 interviews with registered voters in all 50 states. Together with AP’s constant updating of vote tabulations and its calling of race outcomes, AP VoteCast provides newsrooms with all the data they need to tell the comprehensive story of the country’s political races. 


VoteCast is key to how AP calls races and reports the factors behind voters’ choices. 

Major outlets such as Fox News, The New York Times, National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, Univision News, USA Today Network, and The Wall Street Journal have relied on VoteCast data for their election reporting. As part of its commitment to transparency and continual improvement, AP VoteCast publishes post-election reports for peer review of its results and methodology on the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research website. 

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