At least one broadcast network and one Web site said Monday that they could foresee signaling to viewers early Tuesday evening which candidate appeared to have won the presidency, despite the unreliability of some early exit polls in the last presidential election.
A senior vice president of CBS News, Paul Friedman, said the prospects for Barack Obama or John McCain meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. ”” before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California. At such a moment, determined from a combination of polling data and samples of actual votes, the network could share its preliminary projection with viewers, Mr. Friedman said.
“We could know Virginia at 7,” he said. “We could know Indiana before 8. We could know Florida at 8. We could know Pennsylvania at 8. We could know the whole story of the election with those results. We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”