Did Fox News Jump the Gun with Exit Poll Results?

Some are saying that Fox News Channel did not play by the rules.

Politico reports that Fox News aired exit polls from the New Hampshire Senate race almost two hours before polls closed in that state, a move that is likely in violation of agreed-upon rules by the media companies that commission the exit polls.

Minutes after 6 p.m. Tuesday, Fox News ran exit polls that showed Republican Scott Brown leading Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen by 50 percent to 49 percent among Independents. The polls in New Hampshire don't close until 8 p.m.

As Vox's Dara Lind notes, the premature broadcast "definitely ... broke the rules for exit polls." Exit polls are commissioned and owned by a National Election Pool made up of six news organizations — Fox News, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and The Associated Press.

Fox News disputes that it broke the rules. Executive Vice President Michael Clemente told POLITICO, “According to the National Election Pool (NEP), we are permitted to report exit poll results as long as we don’t characterize the outcome of the race, which we did not do earlier this evening.”

Although FNC had the Republican Brown leading in the polls, he ended up losing.