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VNS abandons national exit poll operation

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

NEW YORK -- Voter News Service abandoned its state and national exit poll plans for Election Night, saying it could not guarantee the accuracy of the analysis which media organizations use to help explain why people voted as they did.

VNS also had problems Tuesday night with a separate operation for counting the actual vote. CBS and NBC complained the votes were coming in slowly and they were relying on a backup operation provided by The Associated Press.

The company did have limited information from the exit poll surveys that gave its members guidance in projecting winners for individual races.

The exit poll failure was a major setback for VNS -- a consortium consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and the AP. VNS had completely rebuilt its system in response to the 2000 election, when television networks twice used its information to make wrong calls in the decisive Florida vote for the presidential election.

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