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Warren J. Mitofsky (September 17, 1934 – September 1, 2006) was an American political pollster.
Mitofsky graduated in 1957 from Guilford College and was executive director of the CBS News election and survey unit from 1967 to 1990. He also previously served as an executive producer of CBS election night broadcasts.
Prior to CBS, Mitofsky worked with the Census Bureau where he designed a number of surveys. Along with Joseph Waksberg, Mitofsky is credited with developing an efficient method of sampling telephone numbers using random digit dialing, which has since been widely adopted as a sampling method. In 1999, the American Association for Public Opinion Research presented him with its lifetime achievement award for his "continuing concern for survey quality".
In November 2004, Mitofsky was interviewed by PBS NewsHour regarding what went wrong with the accuracy of his exit polls for the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Early poll results were leaked which showed John Kerry leading George W. Bush, conflicting with the final official outcome. Mitofsky said he suspected that the difference arose because "the Kerry voters were more anxious to participate in our exit polls than the Bush voters." He refused, consistently, to release precinct-level polling data from Ohio to researchers who maintained that the election results were fraudulent, and his own exit polls were a more accurate picture of the vote.
In 1993 Mitofsky founded Mitofsky International, a survey research company. Its primary business is conducting exit polls for major elections around the world. It does this work exclusively for news organizations. Mitofsky has directed exit polls and quick counts since 1967 for almost 3,000 electoral contests. He has the distinction of conducting the first national presidential exit polls in the United States, Russia, Mexico and the Philippines.
Along with CESSI, Ltd., Mitofsky International were the only exit polls for the Russian presidential elections in 1996 and 2000 as well as all other Russian elections since 1993. It was the only provider of exit polling and quick counts reported by the Mexican broadcast industry for its 1994 presidential election.
- David W. Moore, Senior Gallup Poll Editor, “New Exit Poll Consortium Vindication for Exit Poll Inventor,” Gallup News Service, October 11, 2003
- U.S. Census Bureau - Notable Alumni, April 28, 2014 https://www.census.gov/history/www/census_then_now/notable_alumni/warren_mitofsky.html
- View/Search Fellows of the ASA, accessed 2016-11-19.
- New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/04/obituaries/04mitofsky.html?_r=2&oref=slogin
- Mitofsky International at the Wayback Machine (archived April 26, 2006)
- "WHAT WENT WRONG?" (with 2004 polling), PBS Newshour, November 5, 2004
- "Mitofsky,'father of exit polling', dies at 72" [sic], CNN, September 3, 2006
- Mitofsky Remembered As Exit Poll Pioneer, by Mike Mokrzycki, Associated Press, September 4, 2006