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As Los Angeles continues to change and grow, accurate exit polling becomes a vital tool for understanding, developing theory on, and improving voter experience, behavior, preferences, and opinions. Los Angeles Votes is a series of exit polls and polling place studies in Los Angeles known for the use of a breakthrough sampling methodology – the racially stratified homogenous precinct approach – and becoming the largest per-capita exit poll in the nation.

Since 2005, StudyLA has conducted fifteen projects, resulting in some of the most accurate exit polling results of every major election in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Votes began as a response to exit poll discrepancies in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Ethnic breakdowns from exit polls conducted during these elections skewed Latino voters towards the Republican candidate while no other data supported this trend. StudyLA researchers designed the racially stratified homogenous precinct approach to address this sampling anomaly and more accurately reflect ethnic voting patterns discovered by exit polls. In contrast to conventional sampling methodologies, the racially stratified homogenous precinct approach places an emphasis on location when it comes to racial and ethnic voting patterns. Voting patterns of a racial or ethnic group living within a racial or ethnic enclave are different from voting patterns of a racial or ethnic group living within a racial or ethnic enclave dissimilar to their own. The 2018 Gubernatorial General Election Exit Poll asked voters about whom they voted for in U.S. Senate, State and Los Angeles County races, how they voted on various propositions, and their overall voting experience at their respective polling places. In addition, voters were asked about various civic concerns. They were also asked for general demographic information such as race/ethnicity, political ideology, education, income, employment status, etc.


Field researchers collected surveys at 25 polling places located in Los Angeles County. Some polling places served multiple precincts. The polling places were selected via the racially stratified homogenous precinct approach. Geographic location matching for the racially stratified homogenous precinct approach used the most recently available population figures from the American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. This sampling methodology results in five polling places of each racial/ethnic category in Los Angeles County: white, African American, Latino, Asian American, and mixed precincts.


This study is only of at-poll voters. Field researchers were instructed to ask every other person who exited the polling place to participate in the survey.


The 2018 Gubernatorial General Election Exit Poll was conducted on November 6, 2018. More than 125 LMU students served as field researchers, distributing surveys in both English and Spanish from 7:00am to 8:00pm at 25 randomly selected polling places in Los Angeles County. Field supervisors collected completed surveys at three times throughout the day. Data entry began on the same day as survey distribution and the remainder was completed the following day. Over the course of Election Day, 1,546 English and Spanish surveys were collected.


The margin of error is ±3.0 percent. The 1,546 responses collected in 2018 for this survey are weighted based on respondent self-identified racial/ethnic group, gender, age, and political party, matching them to the most recently available population parameters and voting demographic estimates. Datasets are available in Excel and Stata. All numbers represent percentages, unless otherwise indicated. Due to rounding and multiple response questions, not all rows or columns total 100%.


Approval to begin survey administration was granted from the Institutional Review Board at Loyola Marymount University.

Publication Date


Recommended Citation for Data Brief

2018 LA Votes for Sheriff. Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California.

2018 LA Votes for Sheriff