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How to read exit polls

To illustrate how exit poll results should be read, let's use the following hypothetical results as an illustration.

Smith Jones Brown
Male (43%)
46% 53% 1%
Female (57%)
50% 48% 2%

The first column of numbers shows how many people who voted today fell into each category. In our example, that means 43 percent of all voters were men and 57 percent were women.

All other figures show how each category voted. The numbers should be read across (which is why you may occasionally hear them referred to as "horizontal results"). In the example, that means that 46 percent of all men voted for Smith and 53 percent of all men voted for Jones. Looking at the next line, Smith won 50 percent of the women's vote to 48 percent for Jones.

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