NEW: Exit Poll data finally coming in. Read latest here>.
EARLIER: It’s 2:30 in the afternoon on the east coast, and the polls have now been open for more than eight hours. That’s plenty of time to get a good picture from exit polls. Unfortunately, and shockingly, no exit polls appear to have been leaked, not least by prudish CNN, which won’t be publishing any until after the polls close (what good are they then?)
But the lack of actual exit polls hasn’t stopped dozens of enterprising sites from trying to cash in on 2008 Exit Poll mania. “Exit Polls 2008” is a “volcanically” hot search term on Google Trends right now, and it produces links to all sorts of AdSense farms (see below).
If you’re dying for anecdotal election info, you can always check out our “anecdotal election info” tracker here.
And don’t miss Mark Blumenthal’s explanation of why THERE WONT BE ANY EXIT POLL DATA UNTIL 5PM ET (thanks to reader for noting):
Looking for leaked exit poll results from the Obama-McCain presidential race? Sorry to break the news, but until at least 5:00 p.m. today you are out of luck.
Following the 2004 election, when partial and misleading results leaked out at mid day, the network consortium that conducts the exit polls decided to restrict access to a small number of analysts in a “quarantine room” for most of the day. During the primaries this year, and presumably tonight as well, they release their results and vote estimates to producers and reporters at the television networks and other subscriber organisations about about 5:00 p.m. eastern time. While some of that information will no doubt leak after 5:00 p.m, anything you see before that time claiming to be an “exit poll” is probably bogus and certainly not part of the official network exit poll apparatus (Tom Webster, an employee of Edison Research, blogged some details about life inside the quarantine room just before the Super Tuesday primaries).
And while I have your attention, let me offer some advice: Ignore leaked exit polls tonight. I know, I know. How can you ignore them? Everyone wants to know as much as possible about the outcome of this election as soon as possible. But you will do youself a favour if you ignore what leaks out before the polls close, or at least try not to jump to any conclusions about the likely outcome based on what you see. Why? First, the McCain campaign is right: Historically, the leaked exit poll results have “tended to overstate the Democratic vote,” and as I reported in March, and the early leaked results during the primaries tended to overstate the Obama vote as well.
Meanwhile, we’ll be scouring the web for those damn exit polls.
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