5:15 p.m. ET
CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and Bill Scheider waste no time introducing the network’s new exit poll analysis center to viewers. They use it to display that the economy is so far the most important issue to voters and to show that voters most concerned about Iraq voted for Democratic candidate Barack Obama in all but two states.
CNN says that exit polls indicate that 62% of voters said the economy is the most important issue. — Glen Dickson, Senior Editor
Embedded video from CNN Video
5:30 p.m. ET:
National exit poll information is now starting to leak out. According to Fox, among first time voters, the vote was overwhelmingly for Obama in three of the big toss-up states, Ohio, Indiana and Virginia. Just as overwhelmingly, it showed white men in that state favored McCain. But the first time voter stats were truly startling. Fox said 73% of Indiana voters went for Obama, 69% in Ohio, and 63% in Virginia. No one’s really surprised that Obama was winning in that little category, but percentages must be surprising.
It’s been fun, early in the evening, to watch Karl Rove, President Bush’s campaign strategist, and now a very competent Fox analyst (you know where he’s coming from, for sure!) explained that insiders in a candidate’s campaign know more, quicker than the networks, and laughed about 2004, when one unnamed network wouldn’t call Iowa for Bush, because two precincts’ votes still weren’t counted. – P.J. Bednarski, Executive Editor
5:30 p.m. ET:
MSNBC’s Keith Olberman asks Obama campaign senior advisor Stephanie Cutter to grade how the voting process has been going, given she would have access to info on breakdowns of machines or blockages or problems with the voting process.
“There have been no major problems to report at this point,” she tells him. “There are things that we’re hearing across the country but we’ve got people on the ground taking care of things almost immediately.”
“If I had to give it a grade I’d give it a B or B+,” she says. — Melissa Grego, Executive Editor
5:33 p.m. ET:
10% say Iraq, of those who said Iraq was their top issue, 63% voted for Obama and 36% voted for McCain
9% say health care
9% say terrorism, and of those, 86% voted for John McCain
First states should be called in less than 20 minutes, although it’s pouring rain in Virginia and they are having some voting problems so that may slow up that state’s results. — Paige Albiniak, Contributing Editor
CNN’s technology is Tim Russert’s white board on super steroids.
5:39 p.m. ET
Just saw a Fox News ad on CNN calling Fox News "America’s election headquarters." — Alex Weprin, Online Multimedia Editor