How NBC News’ Decision Desk is calling the races on 2022 midterm election night

This is how NBC News calls the races on election night, the steps needed to verify the results and answers to some frequently asked questions.

How does NBC News project race results?

Early on election night, NBC News’ decision desk uses exit poll data to determine whether uncompetitive races can be triggered. Most races are called based on analyzes of precinct and county level voting results. The analyzes also examine the differences between early voting and Election Day. In tight competitions, careful analysis of the proportion of votes that have not been counted is a crucial part of the process. No race is scheduled until the decision board is at least 99.5% sure of the winner.

NBC News will not project a winner in a race before the latest scheduled polling time in any state.

What types of calls and characterizations does the decision desk make?

Here are the key appeals and characterizations of the decision desk that our audience can expect to hear from NBC News on election night:

Too early to call: This characterization covers two scenarios. The first is that there could be a significant margin for one of the candidates, but we have not yet reached our statistical standards to project the race. The second is that there is not enough data to determine the margin with certainty.

Too close to call: The final margin between the candidates will be less than 5 percentage points. The decision desk will not use this characterization until we have statistical certainty that the race will be that close.

Projected winner: NBC News made a projection that one candidate will win the race.

Apparent winner: NBC News predicted that one candidate won the race, but the results are close enough that the outcome may depend on a potential recount and/or confirmation that the results that have been reported are accurate.

What will NBC News call Senate scrutiny?

When a party has obtained the majority of seats in the Senate, the decision-making office will project control to that party.

What is the house estimate and how will NBC News project the house check?

The House estimate is a projection of the composition of the House of Representatives as a whole. The Decision Bureau calculates the probability of a Democratic or Republican victory in each of the 435 House races based on pre-election research. On election night, election analysts review all available voting data and adjust the odds for each House seat that changes relative to its pre-election probability. The model then calculates the most likely outcome of the House election and an estimate of the probability of error expressed as plus or minus a number of seats.

NBC News is part of the national electoral pool. What does that mean?

The National Election Pool, or NEP, is a consortium of major news networks — ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC — that pool resources to collect voting data and exit poll data. The NEP works with consumer research firm Edison Research to collect timely and comprehensive election data on Election Day and in the days, weeks and months following until the results are certified by all states. The NEP licenses data to several news outlets, including Reuters and the Washington Post.

How are votes counted?

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

What is an exit poll and why is it important?

Using probability-based sampling methods, the exit poll is a survey conducted with voters as they leave their polling stations. It is the only survey measure of real voters, and it is carried out in hundreds of polling stations. Voters in person on Election Day will be interviewed when they leave their polling stations. The exit poll also includes in-depth interviews with in-person early voters and telephone surveys of early and absentee voters. Approximately 21,000 interviews will be conducted.

What steps are taken to collect and report electoral data in order to make a call?

1. Data reporters and field interviewers collect results.

On Election Day, votes will be tallied in all 50 states for statewide races, ballot measures and the 435 House races. Pollsters also conduct in-person national and state polls, the only survey of real voters in the nation, measuring who voted and why they made their choices. About 2,500 pollsters will work for us through the NEP to collect votes at county and constituency levels and to conduct exit polls.

2. Several sources provide voting results throughout Election Day.

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

3. The accuracy of the data is verified.

Voting results are rigorously monitored and verified. Part of the quality control is checking that the voting data is consistent across sources, and we also compare the vote to previous election results to see if turnout looks wildly different across multiple races. past. Decision desk vote count analysts, along with computer software, trigger quality check alerts, and senior team members review all votes that fail quality checks.

4. NBC News analyzes the data independently.

NBC News’ racing screenings are completely independent of those of other media outlets. The decision office independently analyzes voting data and exit poll data and uses proprietary statistical models, as well as a team of experts, most with PhDs, in data analysis, polling , election administration and political science to interpret the results in order to decide when races can be screened.

5. Results and projections are delivered quickly.

Election Day voting data is made available as quickly as possible. The counting of votes will continue in several states 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 at least 99.5% confident in the projections.

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