Don’t Worry About the Polls
If you are a McCain support, don’t let reports of huge leads by Obama keep you from voting. No one knows yet how things will go. Karl Rove has a piece up at The Wall Street Journal where he warns of the dangers of such thinking:
On election night in 2000 Al Hunt — then a columnist for this newspaper and a commentator on CNN — was the first TV talking head to erroneously declare that Florida’s polls had closed, when those in the Panhandle were open for another hour. Shortly before 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Judy Woodruff said: “A big call to make. CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column.”
Mr. Hunt and Ms. Woodruff were not only wrong. What they did was harmful. We know, for example, that turnout in 2000 compared to 1996 improved more in states whose polls had closed by the time Ms. Woodruff all but declared the contest over. The data suggests that as many as 500,000 people in the Midwest and West didn’t bother to vote after the networks indicated Florida cinched the race for Mr. Gore.
I recall, too, the media’s screwup in 2004, when exit-polling data leaked in the afternoon. It showed President Bush losing Pennsylvania by 17 points, New Hampshire by 18, behind among white males in Florida, and projected South Carolina and Colorado too close to call. It looked like the GOP would be wiped out.
Bob Shrum famously became the first to congratulate Sen. John Kerry by addressing him as “President Kerry.” Commentators let the exit polls color their coverage for hours until their certainty was undone by actual vote tallies.
In other words, the media only cares about getting the Democrat elected, no with reporting on elections with facts.