August 31, 2009

Exit Polls Call the Election

Japan's 8/30 election, in which the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was defeated by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Thanks to exit polls, at around 8:30pm last night, this Japanese TV channel was confidently declaring the winner of a seat in Nagano (the bottom of the screen, in red). No matter that voting had only ended at 8pm. Meanwhile, a seemingly contradictory banner at the top of the screen stated, "Percentage of votes counted: 0%".

The results of the election were unveiled in this manner. The media reported the results apparent from the exit polls, and then spent until 1am confirming what they knew hours beforehand. But even so, some TV stations were more cautious about calling the election than others. At around 8:45pm, three channels stating different results:

LDP: 42, DPJ: 176

LDP: 59, DPJ: 276

LDP and Komei: 116, DPJ and Socialist Party:338

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