The television networks' practice of predicting the outcomes of political contests of national significance early on Election Day has generated considerable controversy. In 1980, NBC's early projection of a Ronald Reagan landslide, together with Jimmy Carter's early concession speech, was widely reported to have discouraged many voters in Western states from casting their ballots.Similar behavior by the networks during the 1982 and 1984 elections, while yielding fewer dramatic anecdotes about voters leaving the polls without casting their ballots, likewise generated concern among politicians and the public at large.
"Early Election Projections, Restrictions on Exit Polling, and the First Amendment,"
Yale Law & Policy Review: Vol. 3
, Article 12.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylpr/vol3/iss1/12