Site test data posted accidentally

The last thing ABC needed Tuesday was another headache.

With picketing technicians forcing the net to cover the election without some of its most experienced hands, folks at ABC could be forgiven for seeming a trifle distracted.

On Monday afternoon, the eve of Election Day, a computer operator working on material for the ABCnews.com site accidentally posted fake election results for all 50 states on the Web.

According to the figures, California’s Democratic Lt. Gov. Gray Davis narrowly beat Republican challenger Dan Lungren in the governor’s race — a day before a single polling place had opened its doors. Davis was said to have garnered 49% of the vote, 3% more than Lungren.

“It wasn’t our finest hour,”‘ ABC spokeswoman Michelle Bergman said Tuesday. She explained that ABCnews.com was testing its election coverage and “some pages inadvertently got published live.”

She said the numbers, which were up for a couple of hours until someone at the net discovered them, did not reflect what ABC expected to happen. “There was no bias intended by what we posted, and the predictions do not reflect the reporting or news judgment of ABC News,”‘ a statement on the site said.

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