Today USA Today’s Mark Memmott reports that the National Election Pool, the network consortium which, along with the Associated Press, oversees Election Day polling, will change its policy for releasing exit poll data in future elections.
According to Sheldon Gawiser, chairman of the polling group’s steering committee and NBC’s director of elections, the first wave of data will not be sent out until at least 4 p.m. EST. That will be three hours later than the first numbers were released this year, which instantaneously prompted speculation on the blogosphere and some TV news broadcasts that Kerry was on his way to a victory.
CJR Daily isn’t quite sure how a delay of three hours is going to stop the feeding frenzy. But at least the decision shows that the group recognizes that 2004 was not its finest hour. As for 2008, we’ll bet the sharks will be circling well before 4 p.m., hoping for raw polling meat, despite this year’s debacle.
—T.L.Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.