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Bloggers Publishing Early Exit Poll Data

Some bloggers with apparent access to early exit-polling data are publishing numbers they say are based on exit polls. They are "scooping" mainstream news organizations that are participating in the National Election Pool (NEP). The NEP participants are bound by an embargo to withhold the data until polls close. The Associated Press has said, "NEP will make every effort to track any violations (of the embargo) and cut off access to its website for any abusers."

Though there's scant documentation of where the numbers come from, you can find these reports on: Wonkette, Daily Kos, MyDD, Atrios, PoliticalWire, Instapundit, Powerline, and The Drudge Report.

Slate is also carrying exit-poll numbers and promoting them on its homepage. Slate editor Jacob Weisberg told the New York Times he doesn't want to put his website "in the paternalistic position of deciding that our readers aren't mature enough to react in the proper way to truthful information we possess."

What will mainstream news organizations do now? The cat is out of the bag in terms of early exit-poll estimates. They're spreading quickly through the blogosphere and the Web. Should traditional news organizations continue to hold the data, even though it's all over the Web? Or should they link to the data? What do you think?

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