Frequently Asked Questions about the U.S. Exit Polls

1) Who conducts the Exit Polls?

The U.S. Exit Polls are conducted by Edison Research on behalf of the National Election Pool (NEP), a consortium of major media organizations.

2) Why is there an application process to analyze the Exit Poll data?

The NEP generously makes the Exit Poll data available for research purposes. This application process ensures that the data are only used for the intended research purposes.

3) How do I request access?

Researchers from Roper member institutions need to submit an application with a data protection plan and certified digital or scanned signatures from appropriate institutional representatives to data-services@ropercenter.org. Exit Poll datasets are included with membership; non-members need to pay appropriate fees (see dataset pricing). Non-members should complete the application approval process before making payment.

Applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible. Roper Center will work with researchers to facilitate successful applications. Attention to detail in the completion of the application will speed processing; researchers are highly encouraged to review a sample application.  Datasets are delivered to approved researchers via a secure FTP site.

4) Are there any Exit Polls that do not require an application?

Yes, older Exit Polls conducted by individual media organizations are exempted from this process. They include files listed here  from 1972-2002 that were not conducted by Voter Research and Surveys, Voter News Service, or NEP. Please contact data-services with additional questions.

5) I had an application approved for my research on earlier Exit Polls. Do I need to submit a new application?

Researchers who have previously-approved applications are welcome to submit an amendment to their previous application listing the intended use of the new datasets, the specific datasets required, and the time period for the extension. Roper Center will require a new application for projects that substantively increase the scope of the original research project.

6) Why do some states not have Exit Poll datasets in some years?

All states are represented in each year’s national Election Day poll. The NEP determines which states will be included in the primary and Election Day state-level polling.

7) How many years of Exit Polls does Roper have?

Roper’s collection dates back to the very first Exit Poll, conducted by CBS News in 1972. Exit Polls were conducted in U.S. national presidential election from 1972-1980. The first Exit Polls in a midterm election were fielded in 1982.

8) What formats are available for the datasets?

The 2014 and 2016 primary datasets are available in SPSS, Stata, and .csv formats.

9) What state Exit Polls does Roper have?

Complete lists of state primary Exit Polls and state national election Exit Polls are available.

10) Do you have Exit Polls from other countries?

Yes, the Roper Center offers some historical Exit Polls from Mexico.

11) How do I learn more about how the Exit Polls were conducted?

Additional information is available from Edison Research at this page.

12) Will Roper get the 2016 general election Exit Polls?

Yes! NEP will send this data as soon as they are able. If you would like to be alerted when these polls become available, please email data-services@ropercenter.org.