What time will the TV news start calling Tuesday's elections?
November 4, 2006 10:52 AM   Subscribe

So if there's no exit polling this year, when will the TV news organizations begin to call the congressional races?

I want to have people over to watch TV on Tuesday night, but I don't know when the results will start to get called in the interesting Senate races. According to this page polls in Virginia (Webb v. Allen) will close at 7 PM EST, and Tennessee (Ford v. Corker) and Missouri (McCaskill v. Tenant) at 8 EST - but when will CNN &c. start predicting winners?
posted by nicwolff to Law & Government (6 answers total)
The returns were really speedy in the primaries: as much as 80% of the vote was counted by 10 in some places. So some races could start being called by 9. The interesting, close East Coast races will be much later, though.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:03 AM on November 4, 2006

There is exit polling; it's just not being released until polls close to prevent Internet leaks. So the networks will call elections at the same time as they always do.

Though unless Tennessee and Missouri and Virginia and New Jersey are surprising blowouts, the exit polling isn't going to be accurate enough for the networks to call those races until 11 or (much) later, and some may even come down to absentee ballots. Montana closes late EST also. There should be enough data to know whether the House switches before bedtime, though races like TX-22 aren't going to be resolved for days.
posted by commander_cool at 11:10 AM on November 4, 2006

My understanding is that there won't be any exit polling at all on the House races. Too expensive.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:37 AM on November 4, 2006

With the end of punch cards, vote counting should be much, much quicker this year than in past years. There wasn't much exit polling in 2004, either. So instead of knowing immediately who won Ohio, it was more like 2 am before anyone knew for certain. But not all races will be so close, so I think calls will come in all night from about 7 pm on.
posted by raf at 11:51 AM on November 4, 2006

races like TX-22 aren't going to be resolved for days.

You said it. Dealing with the write-in vote here is a massive headache. The race has become surprisingly more competive, and extremely nasty. Unless Lampson has a clear lead over all write-ins, it may take weeks.
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:22 PM on November 4, 2006

Apparently there will be exit polling this year (though only of the Senate races?), but they're going to be more careful about releasing it.
posted by raf at 1:08 PM on November 4, 2006

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