The much-praised Wonkette, a foul-mouthed but often quite funny liberal blogger, seems to have been one of the earliest purveyors of the exit polls that had John Kerry winning, and, when leaked, sent the stock market on a downward path (oh, such fun, Wonkette!).

We know for certain that Wonkette was an early poster of the misleading exit polls, but we don?t know for sure if Powerline was alluding to her when he wrote the following:

“There is a ridiculous rumor on the web that Kerry is ahead on exit polls…THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF THIS!…This untrue rumor was started on the web by two internet gossip columnists and one of them now admits that her source is ‘not exactly trustworthy.”

“No one knows who is winning right now—get out and vote!

“Please forward this to your email friends and help stop this fraud from being spread around the internet.”

“Not exactly trustworthy” sources? If Powerline was talking about Wonkette, it sounds as if she?s ready to move on to the New York Times, doesn’t it?

Naturally, Wonkette blames…Karl Rove:

“About those exits,” she writes when it was beginning to dawn on her that they were all wrong. “We’re starting to get this weird feeling that the birdies who gave us those delicious early numbers are really Karl Rove. Or Ashton Kutcher. And while we usually are of the opinion that we like the sort of ‘punking’ that’s found in prison movies, we are not enjoying the prospect of getting reamed for another four years.

“It’s not that we really, really believe we got played. We are just, ahem, covering our ass.”

As for the exit polls themselves, New York Post columnist Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Bill Clinton, among others, suggests that fraud was involved in coming up with pro-Kerry results. 

Mickey Kaus of kausfiles is kinder and gentler on the subject: ‘Specifically, angrier voters vote earlier. This year, Kerry voters were angrier, so angry that they lined up at the polls as soon as they could in the morning and got disproportionately counted by the NEP survey-takers. Unfortunately, they could only vote once, and their vote was cancelled by the less angry Republicans who sauntered in later in the day. Just a theory….” 

P. S. Foul-mouthed but fair? I want to add this late-breaking exoneration for Wonkette…

“I can attest that neither Joe Trippi nor Ana Marie Cox was in any way a party to deliberately disseminating incorrect data. As Democrats, they were excited by the information they were being given, just as I was depressed by it,” Powerlineblog notes in today’s (Thursday’s) post. “But I saw the printouts that Joe was handed. He wasn’t making them up. He and Ana had separate sources of data which were generally consistent but sometimes disagreed. They passed them on, but I am absolutely convinced that if there was any deception, they were not parties to it and should not be blamed for it.”