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How the NBC News Decision Desk makes election calls in 2024 races

By 37ci3 Jan 23, 2024



Here’s how NBC News calls the races on election night steps taken to verify the results and answers to some frequently asked questions.

How does NBC News predict race results?

Early on election night, the NBC News Decision Desk uses exit poll data to determine whether uncontested races can be called. Most of the contests are called based on the analysis of the results of votes at the precinct and district level. The analysis also examines differences between early and election day votes. Careful analysis of how many votes are not counted in close races is a crucial part of the process. No race is predicted until the Decision Desk is sure of a winner.

NBC News will not predict the winner of the race until after the close of the last scheduled poll in a state.

What types of challenges and characteristics does the Decision Desk make?

Here are the key Decision Desk calls and features our viewers can expect to hear from NBC News on election night:

It’s too early to call: This characteristic covers two scenarios. First, there may be a significant difference for one of the candidates, but we have not yet met our statistical standards for predicting the race. The second is that there is not enough information to accurately determine the margin.

Too close to call: The final difference between the candidates will be less than 5 percent. The Decision Desk will not use this feature until we have statistical confidence that the race will be this close.

Predicted Winner: NBC News has predicted that the candidate will win the race.

NBC News is part of the National Constituency. What does this mean?

The National Electoral Pool, or NEP, is a consortium of the major news networks—ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC—that pool resources to gather polling data and exit polls. NEP is working with research firm Edison Research to gather timely and comprehensive election data in the days, weeks and months ahead until election day and the results are confirmed by all states. NEP licenses data to several news agencies, including Reuters.

How are votes counted?

News correspondents across the country talk to local election officials and report raw voting results by precinct from the time the polls open until they close and beyond. Data is also collected through state and county voting computer feeds and websites when available.

What is an exit poll and why does it matter?

Using probability sampling methods, an exit poll is a survey of voters as they leave the polling station. It is the only survey of real voters and is conducted in hundreds of polling stations. On the voting day, the voters will be interviewed when they leave the polling stations. In many states, exit polls also involve extensive in-person interviews with early voters and telephone surveys of early and absent voters.

What steps are taken to collect and report election data to challenge?

1. Data reporters and interviewers in the field collect results.

On Election Day, votes will be tabulated for all statewide races, event ballots and House races covered by the Decision Desk. Interviewers also conduct in-person national and statewide exit polls, the only surveys of real voters in the country that measure who voted and why. Interviewers will work for us through the NEP to collect votes and conduct exit polls at the state and precinct levels.

2. Multiple sources provide voting results during voting day.

Data is collected through multiple sources on polling day, with data reporters and interviewers across the country calling the results in a timely and continuous manner throughout the day. Polling data is also collected through state and county websites and feeds.

3. The correctness of the data is checked.

Voting results are strictly verified and verified. Part of the quality control is to check that the polling data is consistent across sources, and we also compare the polling to past election results to see if turnout is wildly different in many past races. Decision Desk vote counting analysts, along with computer software, trigger quality control alerts and senior team members review votes that do not pass quality control checks.

4. NBC News independently analyzes data.

NBC News race predictions are completely independent of other news outlets’ predictions. The Decision Desk independently analyzes polling data and exit poll data and uses specialized statistical models to interpret the results to decide when races will be held, as well as a team of experts, mostly PhDs, in data analytics, polling, election management and political science. can be predicted.

5. Results and forecasts are delivered quickly.

Election day voting information is provided as soon as possible. Counting of votes in several states will continue for several days. Exit poll results are independently analyzed in real-time, and NBC News calls all races as soon as the Decision Desk is confident in the predictions.



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By 37ci3

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