December 26, 2004
THE ORANGEMEN WIN:
Yushchenko Leading in Ukranian Exit Polls (The Associated Press, December 26, 2004)
Exit polls projected an easy victory Sunday for opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in a bitter campaign that required an unprecedented three ballots and Supreme Court intervention to pick a new Ukrainian leader.Posted by Orrin Judd at December 26, 2004 8:58 PM
Elated opposition supporters flooded Kiev's Independence Square, the center of protests after the Nov. 21 election that was beset with fraud allegations and eventually annulled. Music blared from loudspeakers and fireworks lit up the sky. In Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych's home base of Donetsk, the streets were largely empty, with only a few people stumbling home from the bars.
The three exit polls projected Yushchenko winning by at least 15 percentage points, and with ballots from just more than 30 percent of precincts counted he was leading with 57.43 percent to 38.89 percent for Yanukovych, election officials said. Final official results were not expected until Monday.
A dejected-appearing Yanukovych, who had the backing of the outgoing Ukrainian president and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, refused to concede defeat in a newsconference begun before the polls closed.