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Projecting Winners and Voter Turnout (Is It A Good Thing?)

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posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 04:48 PM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

I'll be upfront here. I strongly dislike the idea of voter turnout being influenced, IMO, by the media through the use of projected winners. Be it on a local or national scale, I see too many people hinging their participation in the electoral process on what is broadcast by the media.

I grant that these projections are often fairly accurate. But they appear, to me, to be a self fulfilling prophecy. This, again in my opinion, discourages a certain sector from making the effort to vote. Early voters, such as retirees and the wealthy, though certainly not limited to that group, therefore decide, in effect, the direction of the election to a degree that is almost criminal.

And worse, there is far too much room for some broadcast media, and supposed political expert consultants, to manipulate the election toward a preordained end. To quote Disraeli (later quoted by Mark Twain), there are "lies, damned lies, and statistics."

I am interested to see, and please be honest, as the only person anyone would really be lying to is themselves, how many people here have in the past been influenced not to bother to vote because the media had already projected a winner? And will you follow that same path in this election?

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

[edit on 30-10-2008 by NGC2736]

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 06:30 PM
I wholeheartedly agree. There should be NO calling of the election by anyone until the all the polls are closed. With a 3 hour difference in time, from east coast to west, tends to keep people from the polls in Western and Mountain time zones.
It's okay to give the counts from the eastern and central zones as they come in, but no one should call the election. Let's let the people decide. The Mains Stream Media has already decided that Obama will be president. Tell them to keep their mouths shut, no calling the election, and let the PEOPLE decide.
I have never been influenced becaue of the media calling the election. I live in the central time zone, and either vote early, or voted on my way to work. They don't start calling the election until about 8 pm in my area, although they will sometimes broadcast exit polling. I don't really beleive exit polling, because I would lie to a reporter just to screw with his head.

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 09:42 PM
reply to post by kettlebellysmith

One of the deeper questions in my mind, is if these numbers are consciously used by either the media or the "experts" used by them to influence the vote?

I lack any direct information in this area, but I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's so. Let's say that expert "Tom", a media consultant for NBC was a secret supporter of Obama. By early on projecting Obama as the winner, but by a small yet significant margin, could this be instrumental in keeping home Obama voters home, while galvanizing McCain supporters?

Just as in the polls that show Obama now with a lead, which certainly makes the McCain supporters redouble their efforts, it seems that election day early results could be used to sway some voters to stay home, while persuading others to try to "make a difference". (Fans of the winning team in sports often leave the game early, confident their team will win, while the fans of the losing team remain to urge their own team to try harder. The difference here being that the political fans have the actual ability to make a difference in the "game".)

Wouldn't democracy be better served if there were no posted score until the game were over?

How many people would support legislation to stop the use of election day polls and results until all the polls were closed nationwide?

posted on Oct, 30 2008 @ 10:52 PM
Probably no big shocker, but I go back and forth on this. Basically what you're asking for is a government mandated media blackout. That makes the back of my neck itch a little bit, just in principle.

I certainly appreciate the reasoning. I can remember Carter conceeding to Reagan in 1980 before the damn pizza I'd ordered at 5:00 to take me into the wee hours had been delivered. This caused a disasterous situation for the Democrats in California specifically where thousands stayed away from the polls and cost the Democrats big-time in the local elections.

Am I wrong in thinking that the networks all have agreed to not "call" an election prior to the polls being closed? They'll give returns and do some exit polling, but I thought for sure they weren't going to be projecting any winners until the polls out west had closed. I could swear that's how it has been working.

I can see problems with no results reporting/polling during the day. It would be like going to a horse race and not being able to see them run. A horse just suddenly shows up in the winner's circle and some guy says, "Yeah, Seabiscuit. He won. That's the ticket. Trust us." I have a general feeling that reporting results and status throughout the day might help keep things a little more honest. If someone's desire to vote is so shallow that knowing one candidate is running behind causes them to stay home, that's a shame. There are always candidates for multiple offices and other issues up for consideration, and some of those will be close regardless of the Presidential race.

Of course that doesn't stop a concession. Carter's in '80 was classic. But Gore conceeding then reneging on conceeding in 2000 was funnier.

[edit on 10/30/2008 by yeahright]

posted on Oct, 31 2008 @ 11:55 AM
reply to post by yeahright

I can see your point about the blackout side of this, and it is a valid worry. But election night has now become a circus. All night coverage, special programming, special commercials, it's turned into a superbowl type event; complete with the pizza and beer.

And you're wrong and right on the idea that projections are not made while polls are open.

CNN editorial policy strictly prohibits reporting winners or characterizing the outcome of a statewide contest in any state before all the polls are scheduled to close in every precinct in that state.

*Bolding mine

So California can be directly influenced two or three hours before their polls close by the projections from the east coast. worse, this isn't a law of any sort that I know of, but as stated above by CNN, it is "policy", and we all know how policy can change. And even in state, when there is a large turnout, polling hours are extended, but the media doesn't even have a "policy" against going ahead with the projections.

(*And if you go to the above source, this information is from a statement dated 10/13/'08)

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