MSNBC was among a handful of news outlets that prematurely called the New York City mayor’s race for Michael Bloomberg last night. At 9:39pmET, Rachel Maddow, hosting on MSNBC said, “NBC News can project Michael Bloomberg was re-elected mayor of New York City. He’s the projected winner having spent in excess of $100 million to win himself a third term over Bill Thompson. 7% precincts reporting, but we can project Michael Bloomberg winning.”
Insiders tell TVNewser, Maddow got the information from NBC News’ internal alert system, but that NBC News did not call the race. Rather, the information came from Edison Media Research (EMR), which conducted exit polling for the news media.
Twenty minutes after that first call, Maddow explained, “NBC News, relying on a local election monitoring service called EMR to call tonight’s race — that call has been retracted.”
About an hour later, at 11:02pmET, Maddow made the call, again for Bloomberg, but this time based on an NBC News projection. Bloomberg won the race 51% to Thompson’s 46% — a difference of less than 51,000 votes in a city of 8.3 million.
> Update: According to several NBC News and MSNBC sources, the news was communicated to Maddow via the internal NBC News political unit which called the race for Bloomberg, based on the EMR data. So, while Maddow said it on the air, the erroneous early call, although not an official NBC News call came from the network’s political unit.