Should the Networks Call the Election Before the Polls Close?

The New York Times reports that CBS and Slate may call the election before the polls close around the country. I hope they do.

I think it will be an early night and the outcome will be known as soon as Ohio, PA, Florida, Indiana and Virginia are projected. CBS says:

"We can’t be in this position of hiding our heads in the sand when the story is obvious.”

Similarly, the editor of the Web site Slate, David Plotz, said in an e-mail message that “if Obama is winning heavily,” he could see calling the race “sometime between 8 and 9.”

“Our readers are not stupid, and we shouldn’t engage in a weird Kabuki drama that pretends McCain could win California and thus the presidency,” Mr. Plotz wrote. “We will call it when a sensible person — not a TV news anchor who has to engage in a silly pretense about West Coast voters — would call it.”

Why drag it out? Let's begin the celebration early.

< More Electoral Vote Predictions | Late Night: We Are At the Crossroads >
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  • Display: Sort:
    I don't like this attitude at ALL (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by ThatOneVoter on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:44:56 PM EST
    ---speaking for myself only.

    Me neither (5.00 / 3) (#74)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 05:42:42 AM EST
    People are free to start their celebrations whenever they see fit. The networks should play it straight.

    I want our voters to show up across the country (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:46:09 PM EST
    but there's no sense in the networks playing dumb.

    Re California: (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:47:59 PM EST
    Propositions 5 (parental notification) and 8 (constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman):  need "no" voters to make it to the polls, even "only a fool" would think CA is in play in the Presidential contest.

    Also, some of the other races need Dem (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:06:40 PM EST
    voters and hopes that they'll vote down ticket. I've got my fingers crossed for CD3. The registration party gap has closed to within 2%, so fingers will stay crossed  :)

    California HSR initiative (none / 0) (#78)
    by WS on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 07:45:29 AM EST
    There's also the California HSR ballot option.  If the networks call it early, I hope that depresses the California Republican vote and that will help pass California HSR.  Ditto for the other important liberal ballot initiatives.  

    Very bad idea (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by caseyOR on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:48:30 PM EST
    because calling it early does affect turnout on the west coast. I know this comes as a shock to many people, but Obama/McCain is not the only important race in this election. Important downticket races will be affected by a lower turnout. There are enough Obama supporters who think Barack is the only person on the ballot. Let's not encourage that, okay?

    Maybe it would prevent the dems from (4.50 / 2) (#24)
    by MoveThatBus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:26:40 PM EST
    achieving their goal of increasing their majority in the House and Senate.

    So, does it still sound like a good idea?

    I'd like to see a separation of elections and not allow state elections to happen simultaneous to federal elections. Perhaps a repeat of 1980 would encourage that.  Presidential races dominate too much.


    Dixville Notch, New Hampshire (5.00 / 0) (#13)
    by robrecht on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:12:04 PM EST
    Obama 15, McCain 6

    First time a Democrat won since Hubert Humphrey, the original Happy Warrior, in 1968.

    More on Dixville Notch (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:23:10 PM EST
    from the primary here, I remember being really intrigued by it.

    The Dems there voted 7 for Obama and 0 for Hillary.


    the all important indicator... (none / 0) (#17)
    by white n az on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:17:57 PM EST
    Dixville Notch...nah

    Seriously though:

    • 2014 days since 'Mission Accomplished'

    • a ruined economy

    • a terrible campaign execution by McCain

    • an awful choice for running mate

    I'm not sure that McCain could have ultimately changed the outcome by running the perfect campaign with the perfect running mate and landslide is the word of the day (Tuesday, Nov 4) and Dixville Notch doesn't begin to appreciate the dimensions of the forthcoming landslide

    OK. Let's call it now. (none / 0) (#65)
    by Manuel on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:05:01 AM EST
    OT- Dixville Notch votes for Obama (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:14:39 PM EST
    This rock-ribbed Republican community in the back woods of northern NH has just voted for Obama, and not by a small margin.  I'm amazed, and I think that may be a portent.

    For those who are new to this, tiny Dixville Notch has for many decades had as its claim to fame the fact that they vote right after midnight, so its 20-some votes are the very first ones tabulated (in about 30 seconds) and reported on the news.

    OT Dixville Notch, NH just went for Obama (5.00 / 0) (#22)
    by coigue on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:23:55 PM EST
    the first time it went Dem in 50 years!

    I am impartient for this to be over too (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Baal on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:24:30 PM EST
    but I worry a lot about the effect it would have on races down ballot that are very important for all of us.

    If/when the presidential outcome becomes (5.00 / 3) (#30)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:32:39 PM EST
    blatantly obvious, people will be able to see for themselves.

    However, the anchors should still STFU so as not to suppress turnout in down-ticket races in the West (as stated above by CaseyOR).

    Furthermore, when the networks, prematurely, called FL for Bush in 2000, it set in motion the whole chain of events whereby the Supreme Court stopped an in-progress recount and gave the election to Bush.

    BTW: what's with this statement from Mr. Plotz (heh?) at CBS. He says:

    "We will call it when a sensible person -- not a TV news anchor...would call it."

    Would that "sensible person" be somebody like GW Bush's cousin John Ellis: the Fox executive who directed his network to be the first to call FL for Dubyah in 2000?

    AS IF they would have a clue (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:42:29 PM EST
    who a 'sensible person' might be.  

    I feel sorry for all the down ballot people in the west.  The media doesn't give a hoot about them and will be happy to screw them over so that some jerk on television can make the news by predicting the winners early.  


    SIMPLE ANSWER (5.00 / 2) (#32)
    by befuddledvoter on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:33:20 PM EST

    Are you willing to phone bank the west coast (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:52:50 PM EST
    races if they call it early? And get everyone you know to do it also? People may still go out and vote for Obama if it's called early just so they can claim they were a part of history, but there's a lot more riding on this. Down ticket and props in CA need voters. DEMOCRATIC voters. Last thing we need is a bunch of celebration voters that ignore the big picture. Steve Young and Magic have been robo calling to defeat prop 8 (thought it was an interesting combo!). And what is that "victims rights" prop that you don't want to see in action?

    But hey, if it's all about Obama . . . Me, I'd like my house rep to be a Dem when I move to CA and all my lovely friends legally married!  ;)

    Predictions caried over from previous thread (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:59:40 PM EST
    Jeralyn cited a report, which predicts Obama to win, with FL and OH being key players:

    This final assessment represents a shift of two states (Florida and Ohio) and part of one state (Nebraska) for a total of 48 electoral votes from the Republican ticket to the Democratic ticket since the last October assessment.

    This predicted outcome makes sense: the GOP wreaked unholy havoc with FL in 2000, and OH in '04.

    I imagine the majority of those voters haven't forgotten how they were quite thorough hosed by the GOP in these past two elections. As the time draws nigh, they are evidently deciding that they will not 'assume the position' in 2008.

    And the Dems didn't hose FL in the primaries? (5.00 / 0) (#51)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:05:05 AM EST
    Oh yeah, the Dems hosed FL in the primaries... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:19:21 AM EST
    Now the people of FL will have to decide whether they are more angry about the Dem '08 primary hosing; or the Presidential hosing of 2000, which has gone on for 8 long years.

    Fla resident here (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by Amiss on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:29:15 AM EST
    and Southerners don't forget when chit is pulled on them. CBS is setting up at the FSU Football field for something special tomorrow nite. Weird.

    Floridians also have their own Proposition 2 that many of us are watching, so we should of course respect the feelings and its import to others with similar propositions across the country.

    Florida Proposition 2 is a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage in the state. The proposition text reads, ""In as much as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized." Dubbed The Marriage Protection Amendment, Proposition 2 is up for vote on the November 4, 2008 state ballot.

    Doesn't Florida Already Have A Statute That Prevents Gay Marriage?:

    Yes, Florida statutes already define marriage as between one man and one woman. However, if Proposition 2 is passed neither the state legislature or judiciary could alter the definition of marriage within the state.

    How Does Prop. 2 Affect Heterosexuals?:

    If passed, Proposition 2 could strip heterosexual domestic partners of health care and pension benefit plans.



    Why stop now! (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by mexboy on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:01:27 AM EST
    They Selected Obama early and tried to shove hillary off of the campaign, now they want to call it before I vote in California?

    Democracy is dead in the good ol' USA and the Democrats killed it.

    This is my very angry opinion!

    DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by abdiel on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:12:33 AM EST
    Sure, let the MSM do whatever it wants.  They've basically been calling the election for Obama anyways (Dixville Notch?).  

    This is especially shameful given how volatile and inaccurate the polls have been in this election. Are they really still wondering why their business is going down the tubes, with decisions like this?

    Dixville Notch Results (none / 0) (#76)
    by cal1942 on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 06:27:50 AM EST
    have been reported ASAP since the 1950s.

    It's harmless.


    Frankly, no (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by denise k on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:14:39 AM EST
    As a practical matter, though, this is why people on the West Coast vote by mail.  We do it so we can be assured that we vote before an election is called.  By 2012, Washington will join Oregon as an all vote-by-mail state. Too bad for the rest of yous if the election ever comes down to Washington, because ballots are counted as long as they are post-marked by election day.  That means lots of ballots come in AFTER November 4.  If our electoral votes matter, you will have to wait for us to count them.  That is the flip side of calling the election before our polls close.  There is always a price to be paid.  

    In any event, as I recall, the people most dissuaded from voting by an early call are the ones voting for the loser.  Applied to this election, that means the McCain voters.  The Dems might well benefit from an early call, but I really think it is just plain rude to do so.  

    Christ... (5.00 / 3) (#71)
    by reynwrap582 on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 02:04:21 AM EST
    We have 2 1/2 months from the end of voting tomorrow night to the next President taking office.  Can't we just have the media gag themselves and let people vote before announcing who has won?  I don't think any results should be officially announced until the polls close in HI, it'll certainly cut down on the hours of confusion that cause false calls.

    I live in the Pacific time zone.  I have to be at work tomorrow morning 6am and will be doing Emergency 911 dispatch training until noon, when I have to run home and take my pet to the vet to get a potentially fatal tumor removed.  Then I have to rush back to work, train until 4pm, go pick up my pet, set up a comfortable place for him to recover, and then go to the polls with my wife who will be getting home from 8 straight hours in class at about 6pm.  That's 9pm on the East coast, 8pm in the Central time zone.  As much of a politics addict as I am, I'm going to be exhausted, and it's going to be hard for me to get myself to the polls tomorrow if I get home and am told that Obama has it all in the bag.  As important as downticket races are, I know that if its going to take me that much will to vote, plenty of others are going to have no problem skipping it altogether.

    We have 2 1/2 months after the election before the winner takes his seat, what's the rush?  Let people vote.

    Sending good thoughts for your pet (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 02:21:08 AM EST
    tomorrow. And the rest of you and your wife's day! Oy. I wish some folks could understand it's a stretch to get to the polls on some days. Life doesn't stop because there's an election . . .

    Is this a serious question? (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by Kitt on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 03:20:52 AM EST
    Talk about suppressing the vote.  That's what happened in 1980.  Reagan was declared the winner before our polls closed by some 4 hours.  We're on MST, so you figure out how long before Hawaii's and Alaska's closed.

    I had voted earlier in the day.  My husband was going to vote after getting off work at the hospital at 3:30pm.  The entire fiasco was just unreal.  

    Idiotic idea.

    "....meeting the minimum threshold of electoral votes could be clear as soon as 8 p.m. -- before polls in even New York and Rhode Island close, let alone those in Texas and California."

    I'm not even sure I follow this one.... the last sentence.  It doesn't seem to make sense in light of the preceding sentence.

    "When a candidate gets 270 electoral votes, they're the next president," said Sheldon Gawiser, director of elections for NBC News. "If some states are still voting, it's an unfortunate circumstance, that's what it is. The founding fathers never expected us to count the votes fast."

    Announcing results (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by Arrestroveplease on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 10:26:04 AM EST
    I voted in California the first time Ronald Reagan ran for president (against Jimmy Carter), and was on my way home from work to vote when I learned the election was already over.  Friends doing get out the vote work reported that people stopped voting.  It had a major impact on state propositions, not to mention the morale of democrats.

    No, the networks should not announce until everyone has had a chance to vote, and I write this as someone who now lives on the East Coast and will be going insane waiting to hear whether Obama is the winner.

    I remember that and I wondered (none / 0) (#97)
    by JSN on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:43:07 PM EST
    at the time if Carter had done that out of spite.

    My heart says yes (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by CST on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 10:30:34 AM EST
    Because I just can't take it anymore.

    But my head says no because I honestly don't think it's the right thing to do.  I am listening to my head on this one.  Hopefully my heart will make it through the night without exploding.

    They can report results without announcing a winner.

    How can you say this? (4.87 / 8) (#18)
    by Spamlet on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:19:31 PM EST
    Why drag it out? Let's begin the celebration early.

    How old were you in 1980, when they called it at 4 p.m. PST?

    Do you really want to suppress the vote all late afternoon and all evening in West Coast states where important measures are on the ballot? Not to mention House and Senate races.


    It's not JUST about Obama, you know.

    Yeah... (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by ks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:29:16 PM EST
    Heaven forbid the actual voting gets in the way of the party.

    Don't discourage us from voting (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by hollyfromca on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:54:06 PM EST
    Yes, Here in San Francisco we have 11 state props and 22 local props.  Don't discourage us from going to the polls!

    Sher, 2 questions (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by Spamlet on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:33:59 PM EST
    1. Who are you?

    2. What the eff is your problem?

    That was my first election (none / 0) (#35)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:42:04 PM EST
    and yes, I was in CA.

    Simple Answer to a Simple Question (4.75 / 4) (#16)
    by Key on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:15:26 PM EST

    And frankly, there should be rules issued to this effect by the FCC, FTC, FEC, and any other agency that might have the power to do so.

    Cause let's face it - calling a national election before the last voter votes is a lot like saying the winner of Iowa and/or New Hampshire is the winner of a party's primary, before the other 48 states get their say.....

    No, no, no (4.66 / 3) (#8)
    by Realleft on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:02:52 PM EST
    The MSM likes to pretend it reports vs. influences, which is ridiculous since press reports are a significant influence on behavior. "Calling" an election while the polls are open is totally inappropriate.  Predict if you want to be clear that you're predicting, report it if a candidate is projected to take 270 EC votes out of the states that have already closed the polls, but do not "call" something that is only a prediction of what people will do in places where voting is still occurring, even if you are confident in your prediction.  Would an umpire "call" a third strike at the bottom of the ninth before the pitch is thrown?  Of course not, not even if it was the end of a no-hitter.  The game's over when it's over, and sometimes that's well past when a "sensible person" would say it's wrapped up.  

    There is also an excellent strategic reason to delay it - to keep people voting on the west coast. A win vs. a mandate.  Historic turnout + huge win = mandate for new era.

    The ONLY way they can call the race (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by MoveThatBus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:21:30 PM EST
    that early is to depend upon those very unreliable exit polls.

    This entire election season has been a series of "calling it" as fact before it is, then not fixing it when they were wrong.


    Exit polls (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by sallywally on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 10:53:05 AM EST
    seem only to have been inaccurate in states where Bush was falling behind Gore or Kerry - i.e., Florida, Ohio (where I live).

    As soon as that happened, suddenly everything flipped in favor of Bush in both elections.

    I'm not sure that they've been inaccurate in any other states. Do you have information on that?


    Regarding exit poll accuracy... (none / 0) (#93)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:16:41 PM EST
    It's very telling: when there's a disconnect between the exit polls and the final vote count, the analysts assume the error lies with the exit polls rather than the official count.

    Here's a TruthOut news item addressing an ongoing lawsuit regarding evidence of deliberate vote flipping in OH in 2004 (ergo the exit polls were correct and the official count was manipulated):

    Last Friday, a federal court judge in Cleveland, Ohio, ordered Michael Connell, an information-technology consultant to the McCain '08 campaign, to give a deposition in a court proceeding. Mr. Connell, whose firm, GovTech Solutions, built Ohio's 2004 election results computer network, was in a position to have knowledge about the alleged manipulation of electronic voting results in that presidential contest (a technique known as "flipping") in order to switch the winner in Ohio from Sen. John Kerry to President Bush. The deposition is scheduled to take place today, November 3, one day before the 2008 general election.

    Respect of the election is not playing dumb (4.66 / 3) (#29)
    by jerry on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:32:04 PM EST
    There are downticket races, there are propositions, and there are extremely long waiting lines to vote.

    If you are for them calling it early, why bother voting?  Why not just call it at 7am EST tomorrow?

    The media has its own agenda.  Sadly, it's rarely an agenda for the people.

    Exactly! I am not going to encourage (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:37:42 PM EST
    The MSM and their agenda, whatever it is.  

    Wouldn't it be nice if the MSM realized that their job is to report the news, and not MAKE the news?  


    Had that exact conversation with a journo today (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by jerry on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:45:31 PM EST
    Wouldn't it be nice if the MSM realized that their job is to report the news, and not MAKE the news?

    I conversed briefly with a reporter today, regarding an article she had written, and she wanted me to make sure how hard she works to promote various issues.

    I suggested that instead of working so hard to promote her favorite issues, perhaps she should do the best she can to report objectively on the events, and if she did that, perhaps her favorite issues would come along in due course.

    It really annoyed her.


    What the h*ll, it's only democracy (4.60 / 5) (#10)
    by Cream City on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:07:16 PM EST
    But sure, don't let that stop the party.

    Adulthood is required to vote.  And a definition of adulthood is the ability to defer gratification.

    But sure, don't let that stop the party, either.  

    Public financing and campaign reform died on June 19, 2008, anyway.  It was nice to see a democratic election process survive for a few more months than that.

    (What's next?  Abolish the secret ballot by 2012?)

    I say call it after the polls close (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:14:27 PM EST
    east of the Mississippi.  Why wait for Colorado, for example?  None other than Linda Chavez sd. on NPR tonight if McCain doesn't win Indiana, he ain't winning the election.

    seriously? (none / 0) (#19)
    by white n az on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:20:43 PM EST
    If McCain loses Indiana, Obama's gonna get over 400 EV's

    The 3 states...Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania. If Obama wins 2 of them it's all over. McCain actually needs to win all 3 to win the election in virtually any scenario that McCain would win.


    Chavez seemed quite serious. But I've (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:28:53 PM EST
    never, ever, agreed w/her.

    Like the unions? (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:29:49 PM EST
    No more secret ballots?  

    I am SO glad to see that everyone feels as I do.  The LAST thing I want is the MSM to call the election, based on their predictions.  It's horrible for everyone in any time zone other than EDT.  Not fair to them at all.  


    There's always a party pooper in the crowd (1.00 / 1) (#80)
    by Abbey on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 08:07:24 AM EST
    I've been celebrating ever since Obama spanked the Clinton machine.

    You mean when the DNC/superdelegates (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by sallywally on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 10:57:53 AM EST
    pushed Obama over the edge when he did not have a winning number of delegates and the popular vote was at least equally split with Clinton and possibly more popular votes for Clinton?

    Caucus Baby, Caucus!! :) (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:09:18 PM EST
    Ugh! (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Amiss on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:52:58 AM EST
    I am hoping that in my lifetime, I get to see the caucus system GONE!

    If their 'readers are not stupid' (3.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Walter in Denver on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:57:40 PM EST
     there's no need for them to call the race. We can figure it out for ourselves.

    Networks (1.00 / 1) (#6)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 10:59:07 PM EST
    can say whatever they want. They don't decide elections. Voters do.

    Same thing with people wondering when a candidate will concede. Conceding also means nothing. The ultimate winner isn't decided until all the votes are counted.

    Will every voter in the West (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:31:11 PM EST
    Be as smart as you are?  Or will they decide to skip voting on the way home since Katie Couric has already told them who has won?  

    Katie Couric (none / 0) (#39)
    by CoralGables on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:51:42 PM EST
    can't tell you who won until all the votes are counted. She only tells you who she thinks will win. It's no different than what people do here. What Katie Couric will do tomorrow has a far larger audience but is no more meaningful than Jeralyn's electoral vote call in this post.

    Networks don't decide the outcome of elections anymore than sports announcers decide the outcome of a football game...but then I'm old enough to remember Heidi.


    Exactly (2.00 / 0) (#43)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:56:25 PM EST
    The argument that Katie or anyone else shouldn't be allowed to do this offends my press freedom sensibilities.

    If we really want to control stuff like this, then we should make it illegal for states, cities, etc. to release any data until the last polls close.

    Guilting the press into not reporting what's obvious to everyone is just ridiculous.


    I take it you've never lived in a late state? (5.00 / 3) (#47)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:01:08 AM EST
    The numbers should be held back along with "predictions". "Why bother" is an easy attitude to adopt when "the most important election evah!" has been called while you're fighting your way to the polls on your way home from a long day at work. Especially if you still have to cook dinner and take care of the family.

    Don't complain to me (2.00 / 0) (#50)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:04:54 AM EST
    ask your Congressman to nationalize the election infrastructure.

    Who are you to tell Katie Couric that she isn't allowed to do certain kinds of analysis until all polls close? If she has access to the data, she can do what she wants with it.

    Really, I'm not too worried. The networks didn't call the House for the dems until 11 EST, and that was a pretty clear win overall.


    You're not worried because you (5.00 / 3) (#55)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:09:52 AM EST
    don't live there.

    I'm not telling Katie anything. But I'm also not suppressing the votes on the west coast. I would love a nationalized election (primaries!), still have a time zone issue though.


    No, I think it's a legitimate concern (none / 0) (#63)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:23:08 AM EST
    I just think you're proposing the wrong remedy.

    After the fiasco of 1980 (5.00 / 3) (#70)
    by Spamlet on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:53:48 AM EST
    the press (if that's what you want to call those spoiled television divas) adopted the policy of not making projections for a state until that state's polls had closed.

    This was and is a policy of voluntary self-restraint, adopted not on principle but because of severe public disapproval of the networks' behavior on November 4, 1980. No responsible person who was of voting age on that date will easily forget what the networks did.

    Please stop pretending that anyone is trying to "tell Katie Couric that she isn't allowed to do certain kinds of analysis until all polls close." Our press does enjoy a certain level of liberty, if not freedom, so no one commenting here has the power to stifle Couric or any other televised fool.

    If you're confusing in any way the legitimate concerns being expressed here with calls for censorship, then you may also be confused about the legitimate goals and practice of journalism. But that would be understandable, given that our so-called press seems quite often confused itself about the proper exercise of its craft.


    Hrm (none / 0) (#7)
    by Steve M on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:00:45 PM EST
    If the only way McCain can win is to win California, then fine, report that.  But if you're going to make a call based on "come on, everyone knows Obama will win California" then you might as well call the election today.  Then again, why not call it today.

    Good idea (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by BrassTacks on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:32:52 PM EST
    Let's have the MSM predict the winner tonight and on the morning shows.  Save us all the time and hassle of voting.  I'm sure they would be happy to make that decision for us, just as they have made so many other decisions for us in the past 2 years.  

    Only 2 years? (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Steve M on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:54:36 PM EST
    The media decided Bush would be a more decent and honest President than Gore.  The media decided the war in Iraq was justified.  Don't get me started about the media...

    Can I interest you in a beer?! (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by nycstray on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:57:57 PM EST
    To this day I still can't believe we elected that man.

    Oh well, at least we're replacing beer with hope . . .


    Rest assured... (none / 0) (#56)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:12:28 AM EST
    the nation did not elect GW Bush in 2000; ergo, it's a logical fallacy to suggest that he was legitimately re-elected in 2004.

    'The people' are smarter than these previous contrived election outcomes would indicate. Let's hope the official '08 outcome accurately reflects our collective smarts.


    We did not elect him in 2004 either. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by sallywally on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 11:07:05 AM EST
    Ohio voting machines were hacked and the vote was suppressed in many, many areas - after the slimebag Repub Sec of State had done everything possible to prevent new voters from registering.

    The exit polls here in Ohio had Kerry well ahead, after which things suddenly flipped to Bush - exactly like in Florida in 2000.

    Both 2000 and 2004 were stolen.


    It should have never been close enough (none / 0) (#60)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:16:42 AM EST
    and we're doing it again. I don't think it will be close, but I think many things that have happened aren't that different.

    A capability not to be used (none / 0) (#11)
    by koshembos on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:08:34 PM EST
    There are many congressional and local campaigns that will be affected by an early call. Having the capability to call the election and the idea to tell the public are weak arguments to us tho abridge the election. Are we going to have election on in the East?

    I know this is the irresponsible decision (none / 0) (#33)
    by coigue on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:36:21 PM EST
    but since I have no power in the matter I say:

    Call it !

    Great idea (none / 0) (#38)
    by DA in LA on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:51:23 PM EST
    Lets hope they do that and gay marriage is made illegal in California.
    Very liberal of you.

    How liberal is it (none / 0) (#45)
    by andgarden on Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 11:58:57 PM EST
    to put restrictions on exactly what the press is allowed to opine on?

    Even playing fields sound pretty liberal to me (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:02:38 AM EST
    how about you?

    Be honest, you want to censor the networks (none / 0) (#52)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:06:19 AM EST
    to further what you consider to be a greater good.

    I'll be honest (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:13:24 AM EST
    I would LOVE to gag some of them with KO at the top of the list  ;), but it's not so much about censoring the press as it is about suppressing the vote. There's a certain line I don't think they should cross until the polls in the west close. Elections do have rules . . . Maybe we should just make them a free for all?

    I don't know (5.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Manuel on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:17:10 AM EST
    I find calling elections early based on exit polls more obscene than any of the seven words.

    No restrictions on the press! (none / 0) (#53)
    by mexboy on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:07:40 AM EST
    Respect for the citizens of the US and the democratic way we supposedly elect presidents.

    The press can wait a couple of hours to declare a winner. They need to remember their duty is to report not influence elections.

    The president is not the only thing we're voting on. We need every progressive vote to defeat prop 8 in California. We cannot allow the majority to write discrimination into the CA constitution.

    Who will be targeted next if this proposition passes?


    The networks can choose to say or not say (none / 0) (#54)
    by andgarden on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:09:21 AM EST
    whatever they like. But if we don't want them to make projections, we shouldn't release results as they come in.

    They release the results to the networks (5.00 / 1) (#75)
    by ruffian on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 05:50:34 AM EST
    with  the understanding they will be used responsibly.  Maybe that is even written into rules, I'm not sure.  The networks curtail their own freedom of speech when they accept the data with those implicit or explicit rules.  

    If this year the networks decide 'what they hell, let's just call it' I hope they do not get results data next time.


    I'm pulling for y'all on prop 8 (none / 0) (#61)
    by nycstray on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:19:00 AM EST
    and I know a lot of my friends there are working hard to keep their rights. Here's hoping I get invited to a wedding or more when I move back!

    Fair elections are "liberal" (none / 0) (#96)
    by MSS on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:34:29 PM EST
    YES: There are restrictions on the press.

    Media can't go into the voting booth with voters.

    News media can't report the results of the Oscars votes until after the program ends.

    News media can't tell lies about people (or they get sued).

    In France, you can't poll from 48-hours before the election starts.

    Fair elections -- where everyone on the west coast has the same chance to vote in an open election as on the east coast -- are what's important. That's a 'liberal' position!


    No. (none / 0) (#77)
    by wasabi on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 07:29:41 AM EST
    I'd prefer a total news blackout until polls close in Hi.  Having lived in Ca for a great part of my adult life, these erly calls do influence getting out the vote.  What's the dang rush?

    Advice from the DNC... (none / 0) (#79)
    by marian evans on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 07:54:40 AM EST
    might be the way for the MSM to go in future.

    After all, the DNC has the amazing ability to read people's minds, and know how people WOULD have voted if they had voted!

    We could do away with all that troublesome campaigning and election business.

    Democracy...who needs it.

    The ultimate in post-partisan politics, I guess you could say.

    This is terrible and dangerous (none / 0) (#81)
    by theetruscan on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 08:22:23 AM EST
    I can't believe you approve of this.

    In California, we have propositions 4 and 8, designed to take away rights from youth and gays (respectively).  The Mormons will be running their GOTV for the hate brigade until the last possible second, having democrats off partying instead of voting or getting out the vote will contribute to giving away your fellow citizens' rights.  

    PLEASE, don't listen to Jeralyn.  Get out the vote, man phone banks, etcetera.  There are many important items on the ballots around the country today.

    Announcing who won early. (none / 0) (#82)
    by tsempai on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 08:44:03 AM EST
    No, they should not announce who won early. I know from my own experience this is not a good idea.Here is why, When I was eighteen and on my way to vote for the very first time, they announced on the radio who had won. That announcement really upset me. For the next few voting cycles I did not vote. I felt why bother it didn't count. We have had so many young people take an interest and engage in this election, we don't want to discourage them from continuing to be engaged. Everyone should feel their vote counts no matter who they are voting for.

    no way (none / 0) (#83)
    by connecticut yankee on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 09:14:31 AM EST
    Absolutely not!

    California is where we run up the score. If you let those people think it's totally over, they'll go home rather than wait in lines.

    It's just throwing away free points.

    You're not serious (none / 0) (#84)
    by joanneleon on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 09:33:51 AM EST
    I think you're purposely yanking chains, Jeralyn.

    Are you serious? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Beldar on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 10:10:52 AM EST
    "Why drag it out?"

    How about because, at a bare minimum, there are races on the West Coast that might be affected by a premature call?

    How about because a mere eight years ago, the networks called it early and GOT IT WRONG?

    I don't think it should be called early, but (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by sallywally on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 11:17:45 AM EST
    I also do not think the networks got it wrong on FL in 2000. Right after they had called for Gore, Bush's first cousin who was working with Fox at the time got Jeb on the case and whatcha know, pretty soon they were all calling it for Bush!

    See, I think the exit polls were exactly right, as I believe they have always been in every instance except for battleground states where the Dem candidate was running well ahead in the exit polls - Gore in FL in 2000, Kerry in OH in 2004.

    In those states, something happened at that point and things flipped to Bush. I believe that was when the Repubs implemented their backup dirty tricks campaigns in those states.

    I haven't really pursued this, but I'm thinking exit polls were correct everywhere but in those two instances.

    Anyone have valid info on this?


    Right: in 2000 a couple of networks (none / 0) (#92)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 12:48:44 PM EST
    (CBS and NBC I think) initially called the FL election, correctly, for Gore. Based, of course, on what they were hearing from exit polls. After Ellis had FOX call FL for Bush, all the other networks followed suit; including those that had already called it for Gore.

    I agree with your supposition that:

    [Re.] Gore in FL in 2000, Kerry in OH in 2004... I'm thinking exit polls were correct [meaning not tampered with] everywhere but in those two instances.

    I've looked at all this stuff in the course of free-lance research. But, I can't call it to the fore at the moment. I'll try to look into it again, sometime this week.

    In all probability, Mark Crispin Miller has thoroughly addressed it; see the 2007 paperback edition of Fooled Again.


    Early Election Call = F.U. to California & Wes (none / 0) (#94)
    by MSS on Tue Nov 04, 2008 at 01:30:17 PM EST
    California initiatives hang in the balance of this election. Not to mention votes in Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon's tight Senatorial race.

    In California, the early call will stop votes for this question: Will it be OK to demand under-age girls ask their fathers before getting an abortion (No on Prop 4)!

    An early call will end votes on this question: Can "marriage" be restricted so gays can't get married (No on Prop 8)!

    Once the networks call the election -- two hours before California polls are closed at 8 pm PST -- California voters (and voters in Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, etc.) will no longer come out to vote!

    We should follow Oregon's example for fair, nationwide balloting:

    • All ballots are mail-in or drop-off
    • Polls open 24 hours a day until a designated time, the same time NATIONWIDE (ie, 12 in NY, 9 in CA), when polling ends
    • No polling is allowed within 48 hours before the election, including no exit polls (as is the law now in France)
    • All counts announced simultaneously