Longtime CBS Newsman Dies — He Was a Pioneer of Exit Polling and Reportedly Originated a Term We’ve All Heard Many Times on Election Nights

Feb 10, 2014  •  Post A Comment

A longtime newsman who joined CBS News in 1964 after stints at ABC and NBC has died. The Associated Press reports that Marty Plissner, the former political director of CBS News, died Thursday of lung cancer. He was 87.

Plissner, a pioneer of exit polls, is said to have coined the term “too close to call” more than 50 years ago, the story notes.

“He was known for his extensive political knowledge and his range of political contacts, establishing himself by one appraisal as the gold standard for several generations of political journalists,” the article reports.

Plissner retired in 1997 as senior political director of CBS News.

The piece notes, “Plissner’s coinage of ‘too close to call’ was noted in 1996 by New York Times language columnist William Safire. He quoted Plissner as explaining that, in vote-sampling techniques that predated exit polling, ‘when we had a situation in which all the votes were reported but there was no clear winner, we called that election ‘too close to call.’”

marty plissner.jpgMarty Plissner

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