These academics know the U.K. election result before anyone else

Why you should care about the UK election

What’s that will like to know a secret of major national importance?

An elite group of academics will find out on Thursday, when they gather at an undisclosed location in London to formulate a vitally important general election projection.

that will’s This particular forecast — based on exit poll data — that will will be announced by major broadcasters in Britain at 10:00 p.m., offering an authoritative first indication of the election’s winners in addition to losers.

Total secrecy can be required. The academics are not allowed to bring mobile phones into “the bunker,” in addition to they are prohibited by communicating with outsiders until the lockup expires.

“that will can be quite stressful mainly because of the time constraint,” said David Firth, a professor at the University of Warwick who worked on previous projections. “that will’s not like any various other aspect of academic life.”

The researchers, led This particular year by professor John Curtice, use data collected by roughly 20,000 voters at 144 polling stations to create versions that will predict the outcome of the election.

The data, which can be culled by interviews with voters, can be delivered to the researchers in spurts — the first tranche comes after lunch, in addition to the final batch arrives just before 10:00 p.m.

Firth said that will a picture of how the election can be likely to swing often emerges by the early evening.

although the public won’t be told until hours later, when exit poll sponsors BBC, ITV in addition to SKY simultaneously announce the group’s projection.

“The highest tension comes at around 9:00 p.m,” said Firth, “because the journalists who are going to present the prediction need to be briefed so they can get the story straight in their minds.”

Related: General election 2017: Latest updates

The exit poll has typically been much more accurate than Britain’s notoriously shoddy opinion polls.

Kieran Pedley, the research director at GFK, which administers the poll on behalf of the broadcasters, said the projections are more accurate because actual voters are surveyed.

“We try to go to the same polling stations each time,” he said. “You are trying to type the change in vote in specific areas of the country.”

The type missed widely in 1992, although has been broadly accurate inside the years since. In 2015, that will correctly predicted that will the Conservatives would likely win an outright majority.

that will was an outcome that will few expected — in addition to many didn’t believe until hours later.

“I can tell you — that will can be wrong,” former Liberal Democrats leader Paddy Ashdown said at the time. “If these exit polls are right, I’ll publicly eat my hat.”

The accuracy of the projection comes into view relatively quickly. By the time most voters wake up on Friday, many areas will have reported their official results.

that will’s when the researchers will know if they’ve succeeded.

“For an academic, This particular can be the ultimate challenge,” said Firth. “You make a prediction in front of millions of people, in addition to 10 hours later everyone knows whether you were right or wrong.”

sy88pgw (London) First published June 8, 2017: 11:53 AM ET

These academics know the U.K. election result before anyone else

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