Tuesday, November 7, 2006

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In case you were wondering about the exit polls....

Howard Kurtz reports in the Washington Post that exit poll data will be more closely held this year than in the past:

The biggest behind-the-scenes change in network coverage involves what has been dubbed the Quarantine Room. Determined to avoid a rerun of recent years, when its exit polls leaked out by early afternoon to the Drudge Report, Slate and other Web sites, a media consortium is allowing two people from each of the networks and the Associated Press entree to a windowless room in New York. All cellphones, laptops and BlackBerrys will be confiscated. The designated staffers will pore over the exit polls but will not be allowed to communicate with their offices until 5 p.m.

The consortium, called the National Election Pool, is conducting no surveys for House races. The exit polling will take place for Senate and gubernatorial contests in 32 states with competitive races.

The recent track record with such polling has been pockmarked with failure. There was, of course, the debacle of election night 2000, when the networks used polling data from Florida to prematurely award the presidency, twice, within hours. In 2002, the network consortium's predecessor, Voter News Service, suffered a computer meltdown and pulled the plug on its exit polls. Two years ago, its sample was so skewed that the group's surveys showed Sen. John Kerry beating President Bush well into the night. (emphasis added)

The Los Angeles Times' Matea Gold reported on Saturday that the media reps in the Quarantine Room will "even monitored when they use the bathroom."

Lorne Manly has more at the New York Times Caucus blog.

Hat tip: Open University's David Greenberg.

UPDATE: Jim Lindgren is right: "Expect heavy hinting by the networks after 5pm ET today."

posted by Dan on 11.07.06 at 03:18 PM


...Of course they are holding the exit polls until the electronic vote count can be manipulate so the Republican Candidate can "win". Then the exit polls are weighted to match the reported vote tally, and we can be just like 2000, 2002, and 2004 all over again.

...Why on earth do we even go through this charade?

posted by: Blue Shark on 11.07.06 at 03:18 PM [permalink]

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