ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC and the Associated Press are changing the way Election Night exit polls are conducted. Their poll consortium is cutting back this year on in-person exit polls while increasing the amount of telephone polling, the AP reports. This is to take into account more people voting before November 6 and households that have dropped land lines in favor of cell phones. “It makes it trickier,” said Joe Lenski, EVP of Edison Research, which oversees the election operation. “It means there are a lot of different pieces to keep track of.” The changes are also partly because of the expense, although AP didn’t cite any figures.
To save money this year, the consortium is doing bare bones exit polling in 19 states. They are considered non-battleground states: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming, plus the District of Columbia. Some non-battleground states will get the full exit poll for other reasons, like Massachusetts and its hotly contested U.S. Senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren. “What we are doing is taking our resources and using them where the stories are,” said Sheldon Gawiser, NBC’s elections director and head of the consortium steering committee. The consortium said it’s interviewing 25,000 voters this year, up from 18,000 in 2008.