One company will break with exit-polling tradition on Tuesday and release results of its surveys throughout Election Day rather than waiting until all votes have been cast in a particular state.
Votecastr plans to release its first real-time projections at 8 a.m. Eastern, Politico reports.
Slate and Vice News have partnered with the firm.
The plan has been met with concerns that reporting on voting as it happens could affect the outcome if people who would have voted decide against it because they believe the outcome has already been determined.
Some speculated that Florida Panhandle voters stayed home in 2000 after the race was prematurely called when polls closed in the Eastern time zone. The Panhandle is in Central time, and polls stayed open an hour later.
"I'm profoundly uncomfortable with characterizing election results during Election Day," ABC News decision desk consultant Ken Goldstein told the New York Times in September when Votecastr announced its real-time exit polls.
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh also expressed concerns on his program Monday, openly wondering what the motivation might be.
"Now why would anybody want to do that? Why would anybody want to start broadcasting exit poll data?" Limbaugh said, adding that the 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. exit polls have been "dramatically wrong" in past elections, including in 2004, when Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was wrongly forecast to have bested President George W. Bush.
Votecastr's chief strategist Sasha Issenberg told Politico that fears of voter influence are unfounded.
"It's not as though voters go to the polls without indications about the state of the horse race," he said. "They've seen no shortage of polls, poll averages, poll aggregations, simulations and predictions before Election Day, and now see plenty of early-vote numbers being analyzed to determine who's winning and losing. Why should information on Election Day itself be held to a different standard than on the day before it?"
Traditional exit polls are conducted by a consortium of news organizations, including The Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News. Experts crunch those numbers in real time, and they do release some data, such as which demographics are voting and where. But they do not release projections before the polls close.
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