NBC News relies on two sources of information during the general election. The Associated Press delivers statewide vote counts as well as county by county results for general elections. The National Election Pool, a consortium formed by NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP, provides exit polls, precinct votes in selected sample precincts, and models for the analysis of the election information.
NBC News will continue to use exit polls, precinct votes, county votes and statewide votes to project races, using the new computer models which were developed for the last presidential election and revised for 2008.
NBC News election unit analysts will first examine exit poll information in a given race to determine if the race can be called. In order to make a call, all three senior election unit analysts must agree, the NBC News director of elections must agree, and the senior news division management representative must agree. If all five agree, a call is made.
If the exit poll information is not sufficient to call a race, usually because either the race is too close to call based upon exit polls alone or because there is a limited amount of exit poll information available, the election unit analysts will examine results from selected sample precincts. If sample precinct information is not sufficient to call a race, the election unit analysts will examine county by county model results. If that is still not sufficient information to make a call, the actual raw votes, both statewide and county by county, will be considered. When all the votes have been counted, a candidate may be named the apparent winner.
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