Exit Polls 2012: Electoral Votes Closely Watched In Midst Of Tight Election

Exit poll results will start coming in as early as 5 p.m. on Tuesday and they might give an indication as to who will win the 2012 presidency, especially since the candidates are tied or separating by one point in most poll results. 

Roughly 30 million people have done early voting and The Associated Press compiled tallies of those who voted by mail in their early voting ballot or those who voted at poll sites set up for early voters. Based on party affiliation of the voters, more democrats have voted in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina and Iowa. 

Stephanie Cutter, a visible and senior advisor to Obama, urged Americans not to rely too heavily on results from exit polls and early voting in trying to predict who will win the election before it is officially announced.

The Inquisitor reported that some believe the eagerness in predicting a result added to the confusion in past elections. In 2004, early exit poll results overestimated the popularity of John Kerry among voters.   

In 2000, The AP mistakenly said Florida was fully in support of Bush based on early exit poll reports, though they later retracted the statement. The George Bush vs. Al Gore race ended with the Supreme Court having to intervene to settle the dispute over who won the election. 

"While Gore garnered a 500,000 vote lead, Florida - the deciding state - was far too close to call, with just 500 votes separating the two candidates," CNBC stated. "Though Gore had won the popular vote, the conservative-leaning Supreme Court stopped the Florida recounts, granting Bush the presidency."

Bush won by only five electoral votes, 271 to 266.

News outlets can begin reporting after 5 p.m. on trends they see in exit poll statistics, however, they are not permitted to broadcast or publish anny information suggesting which way a state is leaning until the polls close on Tuesday and actual vote numbers start coming in, according to The Huffington Post. 

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