Vote-here-largeThere are two more polls being conducted today. One is the actual casting of ballots and — as one of Iowa’s long-time politicians likes to say — the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day. The other poll is an “exit poll” that started when voting started at seven o’clock this morning.

A New Jersey firm has people positioned at 40 precincts in Iowa to ask voters who they voted for and what issues helped them make their voting decision. They’ve also surveyed voters who cast their ballots early. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Qunnipiac University Poll, says Iowa’s marquee race — the battle for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat — seems to be coming down to the wire.

“This race looks the same way it’s looked for the last couple of months,” Brown says. “Mr. Braley does very well among women. Ms. Ernst does very well among men. Independents are split.”

Loras College political science professor Christopher Budzisz directs the new Loras College Poll, which began surveying likely voters this past spring.

“I think one of the things that this exercise over the last several months has shown me is that on a daily basis, if you follow the news, it seems as though every small event is understood to be a game-changer, when in fact the fundamentals do matter,” Budzisz says. “So whether you’re talking about voter registration or turn-out, those seem to be things that on a daily basis when you follow the news or the Twitter feeds sometimes get lost.”

Douglas Hess, a Grinnell College political science professor, says people in his profession want to dig into the actual voting data as soon as possible.

“For researchers, the most important thing is to have data at the smallest level possible, so getting data by county is perhaps even too aggregated,” Hess says, “so if we can get data by precinct level and analyze that, that’s always ideal, as well as exit poll data.”

Edison Research is conducting the exit poll for several national networks, including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News, NBC and the Associated Press.