From The Guardian:
Anyone who’s sat up watching the TV on election night knows there’s a pattern to how things go: before the polls close, early in the evening, broadcasters assiduously say as little as possible to avoid breaking election broadcasting rules.here for the results. At left are some of the more entertaining screenshots.
Then comes 10pm, and the polls close. Moments later, the anchor behind the desk (almost always a Dimbleby of some description) gives the results of the exit poll – often the only bit of red meat to talk about for the next several hours.
Except, as the polls close in the Scottish referendum, this won’t happen – as neither the BBC nor any other media outlet has bothered to pay to get one done.
Exit polls are the best form of voting-related data we can ever get our hands on. They’re collected by large numbers of researchers standing outside polling stations and asking tens of thousands of people how they voted – as well as collecting a little demographic information, such as age, gender, race or social class.
The most visible outlet for the results of this (quite expensive) work is in the first hours after polls close: it gives a snapshot of the result while the laborious work of actually counting the votes is done.
As we won’t start to see the referendum results start to trickle in until at least 2am, without an exit poll broadcasters will have to fill the first four hours of their coverage with … what, exactly? This “poll” of Grindr users might be as good as anything else we’ve got...