Jay Cost | The Media Doesn’t Understand Races in the States

This write-up from the Hill on a recent Pennsylvania poll is pretty similar to many others these days:

President Obama is retaining his commanding lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, topping the Republican presidential nominee by 12 points in a poll released Wednesday by Franklin & Marshall College. Obama would win the favor of 48 percent of Keystone State voters, versus just 36 percent for Romney, according to the poll.

And polls like these are producing frames like these, from Charles Babington of the AP:

…Republican presidential nominees have lost (Pennsylvania) five straight times despite substantial efforts. Some independent analysts say the same result is likely this year, even if few expect Obama to repeat his double-digit victory.

This is the wrong frame of reference to look at the 2012 election. Obama is not enjoying a “commanding lead” in Pennsylvania – not in any meaningful sense of the term. Nor is he necessarily favored to win it.

These articles illustrate how the media is making major mistakes in its analysis of the campaign in the 50 states. Here are four huge problems with its approach.



(18853 Posts)