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Newspaper Endorsements, This Time, Did Not Sway Swing State Votes | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Newspaper Endorsements, This Time, Did Not Sway Swing State Votes

So much for my super-accurate predictions on swing states in presidential races based purely on key newspaper endorsements.

By hook or by luck, I had tallied perhaps the best record of anyone in 2004 and 2008 in calling the winners in swing states based on which candidates got the most important newpaper support in each state—a startling 95 percent mark. Foolishly refusing to rest on my laurels, I tried it again a few days ago for this year’s contest.

It didn’t turn out so well for me—although it worked out swell for Obama. This time I got less than half the picks correct—although you will see below in my original write-up that I qualified several of the selections, noting that they went against what I actually thought would happen (the states would go for Obama, no matter what the newspapers wanted).  Also, despite giving several key states to Romney, i did declare that Obama had enough states to win election.

I will note, however, that in a general sense, the endorsements—when you consider all states—did pan out, as Obama gained most of the newspaper support from across the country. But after this year’s swing state picks—well, that’s the last time I’ll go down this road!

Note: The first e-book on Obama-Romney race has been published—and it’s mine! Tricks, Lies and Videotape covers contest right up to Election Night. Just $2.99. Enjoy.

* * *

OHIO I’ve written previously that, actually, this state may not decide the election, since Obama (if not Romney) has numerous other paths to victory that do not lead through Ohio. Still, it’s obviously a key, and the four largest newspapers,The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and Toledo Blade (Obama) vs. The Columbus Dispatch and The Cincinnati Enquirer (Romney) are split. So we’ll let number five, the Akron Beacon-Journal, call it for OBAMA.

NEVADA The Las Vegas Review and the Reno paper both went for Romney so—even though I think Obama will win the state—I must stick to my stated method, and so it’s ROMNEY.

NEW HAMPSHIRE The state is divided down the middle, according to polls, but the three largest papers have all gone for Romney. So, again, even though Obama might very carry the state, I have to stick with the newspapers, and give it to ROMNEY.

PENNSYLVANIA There are new reports that Romney now thinks he has a shot here (some say it’s closer than in Ohio), but we would advise him to skip it—the two largest papers, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette went for Obama. The rabidly right-wing Pittsburgh Tribune-Review picked Mitt, but most of the next tier chose the president, so we are going with OBAMA here.

IOWA The Romney pick by The Des Moines Register got a great deal of attention but it could have been balanced by the next three biggest papers going for Obama but, alas, they all stuck with ROMNEY.

NORTH CAROLINA The state’s largest papers (it may surprise many to learn) have all gone for Obama, from the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte, plus Winston-Salem and Asheville. He’s an underdog now but, based on this and the ghost of Joseph Pulitzer, I am sworn to pick OBAMA.

COLORADO The (by far) biggest paper, The Denver Post, went for Obama but what about the many smaller papers? Most also went with him, so it’s an easy pick here (if still a toss-up in real life) for OBAMA.

FLORIDA The state, and its papers, are always split and once again this is on display. Yes, The Miami Herald and Tampa Bay (formerly St. Petersburg) Times have gone for Obama, but several other large papers have gone against him, from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, The Tampa Tribune and more. So it’s ROMNEY.

MICHIGAN This is another state that Romney forces consider very much in play even if most pollsters may disagree. Romney has gained the lion’s share of endorsements but the giant paper in the state, the Detroit Free Press, went for Obama (as did Michael Moore’s hometown Flint Journal). So, based on circ numbers, it’s OBAMA.

WISCONSIN Another case where most papers went for Romney but the largest one that made early choice, The Capital Times in Madison picked Obama. (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel chose not to make a pick this year.) But the more conservative paper in that city, the Wisconsin State Journal, just backed Romney—after picking Obama four years ago. So, again, I have to go against my instincts and put this in the ROMNEY column.

VIRGINIA The largest paper, by a wide margin, the Richmond Times-Dispatch,went for Romney, as did the lion’s share of smaller papers. But the two other major papers, in the Norfolk area and in Roanoke, never did make a pick.  So it’s sketchy, but I am bound to pick ROMNEY.
 

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