Blogs and Exit Poll Data

Posted on November 7, 2006

Exit Poll DataEverybody wants the exit poll data and a Wall Street Journal story says the news media is determined to keep exit poll data from leaking into the blogosphere.
Two-by-two, polling specialists from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and the Associated Press will go into rooms in New York and Washington shortly before noon Tuesday. Their cellphones and BlackBerrys will be confiscated; proctors will monitor the doors; and for the next five hours, these experts will pore over exit-poll data from across the country.

If all goes well, only when they emerge from their cloisters will the legions of ravenous political bloggers have any chance of getting their hands on the earliest indication of which party will end up controlling Congress.

"The demand for info is intense, and if the safeguards aren't steel doors bolting people inside a room, it will get out," says Marc Ambinder, associate editor of National Journal's Hotline OnCall. "The insatiable appetite for this info will overwhelm the ability to keep it secret."
Stephen Baker at Blogspotting says this secrecy will only make interest in the exit poll data even stronger.
Perhaps the best thing to do is publish exit polls continuously through the day. Only then will the public see that they're inaccurate and near meaningless, especially early in the day. If reporters are locked up without their cell phones and Blackberries, interest in the exit polls is sure to rise. Why? People naturally suspect that secrets are worth knowing.
Political blogs like Wonkette want people to send them poll data. It is a safe bet that at least some exit poll data will be leaked online and posted in blogs. Meanwhile, The GOP is warning voters not to trust exit polls which is also going to add to the curiosity over the data. Proof that people are very interested in exit polls can already be found on Technorati. "Exit Poll" is the very top search on Technorati as of this writing.

Raw Story has an article with some early exit poll data. This data was intentionally released. It does not contain any information about candidates but does indicate that people are more focused on national then local issues. ABC News is reporting about the same data that shows about six in ten voters do not approve of President Bush's job performance.

Some of the pre-election polls and predictions can be found on websites like Electoral-Vote.com, Pollster.com and Real Clear Politics.

The New York Times also has an article discussing how some of the major websites and blogs will be handling election coverage this evening and tomorrow. CNN also has the Blog Party later tonight.

Update: A few unconfirmed exit polls hitting the blogosphere. Note: these are not actual election results just reported exit polls from blogs.

  • The New York Observer's Politicker shows some early Senate results.
  • Wonkette shows an exit poll with Lamont leading Lieberman.
  • Raw Story has another list of exit poll results obtained from "somewhere." The list shows Democrats leading in 7 of 9 Senate races. Raw Story notes that, "The list finds Republicans leading in just 2 of 9 key races, in Arizona and Tennessee. Exit polls in 2000 and 2004 overestimated the performance of Democrats in final tallies by sometimes large margins."
  • TNR's The Plank has been posting some exit poll data and says, "I've now seen about five different sets of "exit polls" from sources of varying degrees of credibility. Every set has a different spread for almost every race, but what they all have in common is that they show Democrats ahead in VA, RI, PA, OH, NJ, MT, MO, and MD, and either down or tied in TN." They also say to take the data with "many grains of salt."

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