WASHINGTON, Dec. 15
Designing an exit poll questionnaire when there are 7,000 candidates on the ballot isn't effortless. And let's just say that in Iraq, the issues matrix is sort of complex too.
We don't normally cover elections in other countries that much in The Note, but the Bush White House and the Gang of 500 have a lot riding on the outcome of today's Iraqi election, so we sold off some of our vintage, eBay-ready Note Notebooks (from the 2004 glory years) and raised enough cash to spring for an exit poll in today's election. (Note to the literal-minded who want to ruin our holiday season: this is a joke.)
The data will come in three waves, as usual.
As always, first wave data (11:30 am ET) is completely unreliable and is no predictor of the outcome. Luckily, we will have it in time for subscribers to take it with them to lunch at the Palm or the Senate Dining Room to talk knowingly about how the election is going.
By the second wave (3:30 pm ET), you will be able to start pontificating about who will be in the Iraqi cabinet and "what it means" for President Bush.
And when the third wave numbers come in (6:00 pm ET), it will be crystal clear if Republicans will lose control of the House and/or the Senate in 2006, and what President Bush's approval rating will be next October 1st.
Per usual, subscribers can call in to be briefed by the ABC News Political Unit on each wave of data at the listed times (again: 11:30 am, 3:30 pm, and 6:00 pm). As always, this data is for subscribers only, and may not be posted on websites (even the Drudge Report) or blurted out on cable TV or talk radio. You can, however, use the data to say things such as, "It looks like it is going to be a loooong night for the Kurds." Or: "The Sunnis just never got a clear message across to the voters -- that's clearly hurting them."
Because of the length of the questionnaire, these calls will take a little longer than usual -- assume about 30 minutes.
FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY, THE NUMBERS IS 888-EXIT-POLL (888-394-8765).
AGAIN, FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY, THE PASSWORD IS "HAPPY" AND THE CALL LEADER'S NAME IS BARRY BREMEN.
Please call in no more than five minutes before the call start time.
Polls opened in Iraq at 11:00 pm ET last night and closed at 9:00 am ET.
ABC News' Angus Hines says that "Al Iraqiya TV has reported that the Interior Minister has announced that voting will be extended to include those still queuing at 5:00 pm local. Anyone who joins the queue after that will be excluded."
The Council on Foreign Relations has an excellent primer on the election: LINK
The Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq has lots of FAQs for you as well: LINK
President Bush and the First Lady meet with Iraqi out-of-country voters at 1:15 pm ET at the White House.
(ABC News' Ann Compton reports that no presidential press conference is on the agenda -- public or otherwise, today or tomorrow -- at this point because, as Compton sees it, the President wants to commend Congress if the Patriot Act is extended and express his consternation if it isn't. Therefore, any anticipated press conference will likely come after Congress finishes its work on that bill. Said Scott McClellan to the press at the gaggle this morning, anticipating tonight's media holiday gathering -- we paraphrase -- "party on!!!")
The days best stories on what Iraq means for President Bush and American politics: