NBC News relies on two key sources of information during the general election. The National Election Pool, a consortium formed by NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox and the AP, provides exit polls, absentee polls, precinct votes in selected sample precincts, and models for the analysis of the election information. The Associated Press delivers statewide vote counts as well as county by county results for general elections.
NBC News election unit analysts will first examine exit polls, any absentee polls and estimates in a given race to determine if the race can be called. Analysts also examine results from selected sample precincts, county by county model results, the actual raw votes (both statewide and county by county) and additional statistical information. In order to make a call, all senior election unit analysts must agree, the NBC News director of elections must agree, and the senior news division management representative must agree. If everyone agrees, a call is made.
When all the votes have been counted, a candidate may be named the apparent winner.
NBC News will not project a winner in a state until after the last scheduled poll closing time in that state. If the race appears to be close in any given state, an abundance of caution will be used before calling a race in that state.