Have TV networks, AP already called 19 states?

National Constitution Center

Television networks and the Associated Press will skip exit polling in 19 states in the upcoming presidential election, apparently deciding those states have already gone to President Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

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The Post said an official at the National Election Pool confirmed it will only focus on 31 states on November 6, when the nation elects a president. People in the 19 excluded states will be included in some national exit polling.

The Pool is a cooperative agreement between the television networks and the AP to combine resources to do exit polls, which the news outlets have done for several decades.

The 19 states include Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Almost all of those 19 states are in the Republican camp, and it would give Mitt Romney a 138 to 19 lead in the electoral vote right at the start of election night.

Cost cuts are one of the reasons for the moves, along with issues conducting telephone polls and compiling data for early voters.

Exit polls have had a murky history, at best, in recent elections.

The National Election Pool projected that John Kerry would take Ohio and Nevada in its 2004 exit polling. Those states went to George W. Bush in the actual electoral vote count and decided that contest in the Electoral College.

Exit polling data from Florida in 2000, which forecast an Al Gore victory, also caused major confusion with television networks, which had to retract calling the presidential election for Gore, based on the exit poll data.

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