CNN conducted exit polls during the election day throughout the country. The polls asked Americans, beyond who they voted for, what issues remained at the top of their minds when thinking about the country. In terms of general issues, those polled said that the economy was the top issue facing the COUNTRY. However, when CNN questioned using wording like "people like you", 38% said unemployment was the top issue, 37% said rising prices, 14% said taxes and 8% said it was the housing market facing them. According to CNN, "Of those who voted Tuesday, 25% said they were doing better today compared with four years ago, 32% said they were doing worse and 42% said they were doing about the same."
While all of these insights are interesting, I question the precise questions asked, the methods of the polls, and how generalizable the results were. CNN fails to give much information relating to question wording, outside of the "people like you" question. Wording of questions can play a critical role on responses. How did CNN select their exit poll respondents? Did they use a systematic approach or a convenience sample? Was the poll based on response or nonresponse. None of this information was listed within the exit poll article. Without this information, we can't know if the results are generalizable to the entire nation or if they are even relevant. The data simply looks at public opinion at one point in time; the answers can't be generalized within the entire population. CNN should give more detail on their sampling methods to gain credibility.
Exit Poll Article - http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/06/politics/exit-polls/index.html?hpt=hp_t2_6