No exit polling in Minnesota?

You’ll probably see the media call the Minnesota governor’s race later than usual tonight.

Why? Minnesota apparently isn’t being exit polled tonight. Media organization use that data to speed their calls.

Edison Research, which does the job for ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and the Associated Press, is skipping the state. Minnesota Public Radio and Twin Cities Public Television haven’t ginned up a system of their own. I haven’t received replies from the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press, but Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has not heard of any exit polling and competing outlets who might have heard agree.

Even though we could have a tick-as-a-tick battle between Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer, why is Edison staying away? A spokeswoman didn’t know, but local political analyst Blois Olson notes the national consortium rarely polls in states that lack Presidential swing-state or U.S. Senate contests. This is Minnesota’s first such election year since 1998.

The only Senate-less state exit polled this year is the far bigger Texas.

Exit polls are samples of the electorate conducted near the polling places.The actual vote count is the thing that matters, of course; if the governor’s race is a blowout, we’ll know by midnight, and if it’s a Franken-Coleman replay, the call will never come.

Still, exit polls are at least an interesting way to check the electorate’s gender gap, the age gap, and the demographic breakdown. Media outlets will still be able to analyze the geographic patterns using precinct-by-precinct results.

(Update, 4:30 p.m. Tuesday: Seems there may be a smattering of exit pollsters here, but only enough for national trends, not state-level insight.)

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