November 03, 2004
MEDIA BIAS IN CALLING THE STATES? Generic Confusion notes: "All close Kerry states are listed as Kerry pickups. All close Bush states are listed as undecided."
Yes, why is Wisconsin called for Kerry already? Only 99.3% of the vote is in with 1,466,963 (49.3%) for Bush and 1,480,256 (49.8%) for Kerry. I did notice on TV this morning that Fox hadn't called Wisconsin yet. The NYT also hasn't called Wisconsin. There is a .5 percentage point difference in Wisconsin with .7% of the vote still to count. In Ohio, which is getting so much attention, the percent counted is listed as 100 and Bush has 51.0% over Kerry's 48.5%. That's a 2.5% point lead. How can anyone call Wisconsin before Ohio and expect to escape charges of bias?
UPDATE: An emailer offers this justification for calling Wisconsin and not Ohio:
I would suggest 16,000 votes in Wisconsin is a big margin. Wisconsin differs from Ohio in two major respects -- it has a long history of running clean and relatively undisputed elections, with a pretty strong non-partisan tint to them (meaning, the people in the municipal government trenches actually running the thing). We've had little of the election-day disputes that have marred states like Florida (Ohio isn't notorious in this respect, but it does have a lot of big- and medium-sized cities ((Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Akron-Canton)) where election-day activity is controlled by strong party/organizational/union/mafia elements. We don't have much of that here (some in Milwaukee, probably more so in Kenosha).
Secondly, Ohio has provisional ballots, with lots of time (relatively speaking) after the election allocated to count them. Now, I don't think the provisional ballots will make the difference in Ohio, but there are still a lot of uncounted ballots out there, which is what the Kerry folks are hanging on to. No so here in Wisconsin -- your ballot (provisional or otherwise) is in by the end of the day Tuesday, or it's not counted. Wisconsin is very lenient regarding voter registration, relative to other states, but very tight about provisional ballots.
Thirdly, Kerry's margin here is roughly three times Gore's margin in '00, when he won by 5,700 votes. And that produced no recount; see this (particularly the quote near the end from a GOP official saying 5,700 votes is a "big hill to climb.").