Exit Poll Secrecy Measures Aim to Plug Leaks to Blogs
Wall Street Journal ^ | November 7,2006 | Amy Schatz
Posted on 11/07/2006 5:28:30 AM PST by meg88
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; 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 extraordinary security is a result of mix-ups that prompted grumbling about the accuracy of exit polls after the 2004 presidential election: Bloggers posted data from early exit polls, incorrectly calling some states for Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry and indicating that he would unseat President Bush.
Exit polls will be available for all the key Senate races, giving an early picture of whether it could flip to the Democrats.
The data are collected through the National Election Pool, a consortium made up of the three traditional networks, CNN, Fox News and AP.
In previous years, numbers were made available to the news organizations in waves via secure Web sites. In 2004, the first wave of data went out around 2 p.m. and quickly leaked onto the Internet.
That's what brought about this year's sequestering of the news organization's representatives. The only communication they'll be allowed to make out of the so-called quarantine rooms before 5 p.m. will be to warn news organizations about potential problems in the data.
But at 5 p.m., waves of exit-poll data will begin flowing to newsrooms via limited-access Web sites. For the bloggers, the scramble will be on to get the data first, hoping for an email from a friendly source.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
The only thing I told anyone as I exited the poll was that I liked the touch screen voting.
"This way, I get to give them all the finger!"