State-level exit polls after the election will only be conducted in 31 states this year, the Washington Post reports, with yet-to-be-named noncompetitive states excluded.
Exit polls, which are widely reported and used as a basis for research, have been conducted in each state after presidential elections since 1992. The National Election Pool, a consortium that includes the Associated Press, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News and NBC News, said interviews for a national exit poll will still include voters from all states.
ABC News director of elections Dan Merkle told the Washington Post the new plan would address growing expenses and "deliver a quality product in the most important states."
Conducting exit polling is a massive project, involving thousands of interviews conducted the day of the election, distributed to major news outlets and used to project the races after polls close.
Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming will be excluded from the poll, as will the District of Columbia.
The change in procedure comes partially due to the rising costs and logistical issues presented by the growing prevalence of early voting, which requires pollsters to conduct phone polls of absentee voters in addition to the live interviews at polling locations.
A third of the electorate voted early in 2008, compared with 16 percent in 2000. The share of voters casting ballots before Election Day could increase further this year.