As someone who works in the quarantine room on election night at Edison Media Research, I can tell you that we will not make a call if a race has the potential to be in a recount situation. In a close race, we review the recount procedures and consider what we believe to be the outstanding absentee and provisional ballots before we are willing to make a call. It is not the job of the media to prejudge the election process when there is a possibility for recount procedures to take place. Think: Florida 2000.The big picture: the Obama campaign has every right to a recount if they want one, and the networks aren't presuming to make that judgment for them. There is also a small but tangible chance of a material human error in the vote tabulation.
If the Obama campaign makes a formal statement that they concede Missouri, then I would expect the media would call the election outcome. My guess is that they will wait until the results are certified to make a decision if they will request a recount. As we have seen in Minnesota, there can be human errors lurking in the results reported to date.
Why The Networks Haven't Called Missouri
by Nate Silver
From turnout guru Michael McDonald, who is in a position to know: