David R. Henderson  

Will Networks Blow It Again?

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In the presidential election of 2000, all of the major networks but Fox News Channel blew it. Not by declaring Gore the winner too early or, later in the evening, Bush the winner too early. Those are predictions and you should always take predictions with a grain of salt.

No, they blew it by getting a simple fact wrong, a fact that ended up mattering greatly. When the polls closed in the Eastern time zone of Florida, all the networks but Fox announced that the polls were closed in Florida. But the polls weren't closed in the Florida panhandle, which is in the Central time zone. They were open another hour. Yet apparently thousands of people fewer than usual showed up in the panhandle to vote during that last hour. Given that Bush was running 2-1 against Gore in that part of Florida, if only 6,000 people, hearing that news, decided not to vote, then that cost Bush a margin of 2,000 votes (4,000 minus 2,000). Bush won Florida by under 1,000 votes. With that extra 2,000 of margin, the country would have been saved a lot of grief.

Will they blow it again tonight?


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
tadhgin writes:

What..? or more to the point, what is your point? I also note that what seems to be your decisive claim in this post is not sourced or linked, i.e. "Yet apparently thousands of people fewer than usual showed up in the panhandle to vote during that last hour"


Sean writes:

Seems like Fox news is already messing this up:

http://mediamatters.org/items/200811040018

Braden writes:

You could read the single link he posted before making accusations. From the seventh paragraph:

The Committee for Honest Politics, a GOP-founded watchdog group, estimated that at each of the 361 panhandle polling places, the networks' false information dissuaded 54 people from voting. That would represent a total of 19,133 Floridians who didn't vote.

The Snob writes:

You know what would be great? If all the states got together and just agreed to release their numbers at noon the day after, and not a peep before. Give everybody plenty of time to sort out questions, count every last chad, blah blah.

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