If current presidential polls hold steady for Sen. Barack Obama, Monika McDermott, Ph.D., may be looking at an early night on Nov. 4. But given the historic volatility of the final weeks of a presidential campaign, and with the issue of race a still wild card, the associate professor of political science is not going to hedge her bets.
McDermott is an expert in political psychology and voter behavior who moonlights as a CBS election exit poll consultant. After crunching the numbers on Election Night, McDermott’s analysis of who voted for whom, and why, will assist news anchors in explaining why Obama or McCain won or lost a state or region. Election 2008 marks McDermott’s fourth presidential election behind the scenes.
“Exit polls are one of the few times where you know you are actually talking to people who have voted,” she said. “[Exit voters] are also more likely to be enthusiastic and give honest answers, more honest than someone you just interrupted during dinnertime with a phone call.”
Although pre-election polls suggest a win for Obama, McDermott believes that the presidential election is still in uncharted waters. “This race has more dynamics than any other at the presidential level, and so many unknowns,” she said.