In a move to encourage voter turnout, and avoid debacles like in the 2000 election, major U.S. news networks have agreed not to release exit poll data until after the polls close in a given state, according to the Huffington Post.
The networks that have agreed to this are ABC, Fox, NBC, CNN, CBS, the Associated Press and Reuters.
Other networks are not bound by these restrictions of course. If, for example, a PolicyMic reporter managed to get his hands on the data, that person would be free to share it. In some other countries, like the U.K., releasing the data before the close of polls is a criminal offense.
One big reason for keeping the information out of the public eye this election cycle is to keep people from thinking that the race has already been decided in the state before it's over. When voters hear that a candidate has X lead in a state, some may decide to just skip voting and just go about their other business, even if the poll is incorrect. Another reason is to avoid problems like those in 2000 and 2004, where early poll results had a hand in the inaccurate reporting of a projected winner in a state.
Reporters who get to see the data - and there is only one from each organization - will be locked in a "quarantine" room from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will not be allowed to leave, use email or make phone calls. This allows them to conduct early analysis without the risk of leaking the information to the public.
PolicyMic will be covering the results of the 2012 election live. For real time results and analysis, see here.