Calling a state with 0 votes in?

I was looking at the CNN election map, and there are states they have called for one candidate or the other, but when you mouseover the state in question, they have 0 votes tallied, and 0% or precincts.

So how can they even think of “calling” a state given those facts?

Mods: Wasn’t sure if this one had a correct answer or not, but figured GQ was the place.

Exit polling. If the exit polling shows a winner by a large margin they call it. CNN has a page where they talk about how they call races.

Amusingly enough, Obama was actually leading in SC 55% to 45% when they called it for McCain.

It’s also possible that some votes have been reported, but less than 1/2 of one percent of the precincts have provided results. I would expect that would be rounded down to 0%.

Two of the three cable news networks report that as 0%… one (MSNBC?) was reporting that as <1%, which makes more sense.

They don’t actually look at the votes reported. They go precinct by precinct. If they have all the urban counts and they’re not high enough, they can call if for McCain even though he’s, at the moment, losing.

They announced Obama the winner, the second the polls closed on the west coast. There wasn’t time for even one precinct to be counted, but it was a foregone conclusion that those states would be for Obama, and had enough electoral votes to put him over 270. Zero votes counted = Obama wins.

Probably means they’d only counted cities yet or something.

I called it around 10:15 when Obama’s total hit 195. For add 77 absolutely certain votes from the west coast and you get 272.

When I was young, the cities, in PA at least, reported first. They had machines from which you needed only to read the totals and phone them in, while the rural areas didn’t.

I predicted to my wife that Gary, IN would report late after they had found out just how many votes the Dems needed. Although it is not, at this time, settled, I think I was right. Does anyone know if they will do a recount, when it cannot change the outcome?

What I can’t figure out is, on the Yahoo! electoral map this morning, they still have Georgia undecided, with something like 99% of the precincts reporting and McCain with something like an 11% lead. I know that Georgia was one of the first states that CNN called for McCain last night, so it was surprising to not see it red on the map this morning.

Are you out in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere? He hit 195 when Ohio was called for him about 8:15 central time. (At any rate, that’s when I called it. I’ve read that online outfits like Slate and The Huffington Post called it several minutes later. Slackers.)

I remember Kansas being about the same way back in the Sixties. The Democrats looked to be doing pretty good until the vote from the rural western half of the state started trickling in after ten o’clock.

Aparently there’s some problem in Georgia – many early votes have not yet been counted, and they are expected to go heavily in Obama’s favor. So a few news organizations are recalling their call of Georgia for McCain.


I’m pretty sure I saw Fox News call Texas for Obama about 8:30 EST last night, but with only 5% of votes in! I thought that was very premature, and turns out Texas went to McCain.