You Want Cautious Calls?
Well, it's clear the networks are not exactly going out on any limbs in calling races. The polls closed in South Carolina more than an hour ago, and they haven't called it for Bush yet. At 8:00, briefly at least, Wolf Blitzer said CNN "didn't have enough information"' to call the District of Columbia for Kerry (they did eventually).
But here's the weird thing about the media web sites (at least the two I checked: CNN and MSNBC). They're publishing exit poll data, including candidate numbers, when the polls close, whether or not they've made a call. What's sneaky about it is they don't show totals, just all the breakdowns. So you can check out Ohio, and see that the exits have John Kerry leading Bush among men by 51-49, and among women by 53-47. Doesn't take a statistician to figure out that the final exits for Ohio show Kerry winning 52-48.
And Ohio, folks, is the ball game.