Television news executives have vowed they won't jump the gun and project a president-elect until one man has 270 electoral votes. And they won't count electoral votes until polls are closed, reports the Los Angeles Times. But if key states in the East and Midwest back Obama, viewers will likely be told he appears headed for victory even before polls close in the West.
It's an important issue for every candidate because early projections can discourage people from voting. "We won't declare him the president-elect—because it won't have happened yet—but we'll be clear in our language about the likely outcome," said a TV news executive.