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Nielsen's New Election Role: Counting The Votes

The major U.S. political parties have agreed that the popular vote will no longer be used to determine the outcome of national elections. Instead, the parties and their candidates have cut a deal with Nielsen Media Research to conduct exit polls of approximately 12,000 voters nationally, and will abide by those results.

While over 125 million voters are expected to turn out today, under the new system, one in 10,000 will now have their votes contribute to the exit poll results. With the elections costing approximately $3 billion, the move is seen as both cost-conscious and logical.

"After all," says one party spokesperson, "if Nielsen is trusted as the judge and jury for over $70 billion in TV ad spending, the paltry $3 billion spent on U.S. elections is, by comparison, insignificant." He concludes: "We should have done this sooner. After all, what really matters is that the American people get the feeling of voting; the counting is academic."

The published results will be final, and no margins of error will be made readily available to the general public. Only Nielsen will be authorized to monitor and report on the results. The company has secured monopoly contracts with all political parties of any size, each with a different termination date. The shrewd timing of these contracts protects Nielsen from the same term limits that elected officials face every year.



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