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No Exit Polling in RI

Ouch.

The Washington Post reports that Rhode Island is among 19 states that will have no exit polling on Election Day this year. This marks a break from tradition; for the last five presidential elections, there have been exit polls in all 50 states.

The National Election Pool - a consortium of the Associated Press and the major networks - made the decision because of the rising cost of surveys. With so many states offering early voting, pollsters need to conduct costly phone interviews to get a representative sample.

Any decent exit poll in Rhode Island, this year, could tell us all kinds of fascinating things about the state's marquee political race, pitting Congressman David Cicilline against Republican challenger Brendan Doherty: How important was the independent vote? How about the women's vote? Did the Latino vote make the difference? How about redistricting, which added big swaths of Latino south Providence to the district? And what of President Obama's coattails?

Some of this can be inferred from simple turnout data. But we'll be missing a lot.

The National Election Pool, of course, dropped states that are not expected to be competitive in the presidential race - and which don't have any high-profile, national races a la Brown v. Warren. It's not easy being blue.

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