Yes, Newspaper Endorsements Aided Obama Win

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By: Greg Mitchell

Experts, or just plain gasbags, juggled all sorts of information, from reports on the ground to one of seemingly 500 polls, to predict the outcome in the “battleground” states on election day. But here at E&P, we do it a little differently on election eve: We predict the winner in key states purely on the basis of newspaper endorsements in that state.

Before you laugh too hard, consider this: In 2004, I did the same thing in this space — and picked 14 of the 15 tight races correctly. Only missed on Florida (still waiting for that recount).

So, with perhaps undue confidence, I took the plunge again two days ago. We have been tallying endorsements here, with much national attention, for the past weeks, with an Obama landslide in that measure nationally. But what about in the specific “toss-up” states?

Using this strict measure, I predicted Obama would take 11 out of 13 battlegrounds, losing in West Virginia and in Virginia (though I stated that I actually expected he would end up winning there).

Well, I did it again, though with three states still undecided as I write this. I got 10 of 11 right and as I explained at the time, I picked Virginia for McCain purely on the endorsements by newspapers in that state–without judging the enormous impact The Washington Post exerts in the north. If the Post had counted I would have gotten Virginia right, too.

I’m just sayin’.

Here was the rundown, in no particular order, as I presented it then. Again, my picks were based purely on newspaper endorsements — both the number and the size/influence of the papers in each candidate’s column.
Missouri and North Carolina are still too close to call at this moment.

And let’s not forget that the unprecedented (for a Democrat) editorial backing in our daily tally nationally, about 2-1, also must be viewed as a partial influence on his national triumph.

For more coverage on the media and the campaign, check out our new blog, where you can also leave a Comment or watch some video:
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Forget McCain “narrowing the gap.” He lost both big Philly dailies and split in Pittsburgh–gaining the lesser paper there. Obama has taken the smaller dailies by 2-1 with the papers in York, Easton and Erie, among others, switching from Bush. Winner: OBAMA

In 2004, Bush won because he nailed Columbus — and Cleveland sat it out. This year, Columbus remains in the GOP column but the Plain Dealer went for Obama. The Cincy paper again went Republican. But once again, Obama takes the smaller papers 2-1, with about half dozen switching over from Bush. The Akron, Toledo, Dayton, Canton and Youngstown papers give this state to OBAMA.

Papers in our soon-to-be updated list fully back McCAIN.

We have to give Obama an upset here since he has in the bag all of the leading papers. A loss here would be embarrassing for…me. OBAMA.

We correctly gave this to Bush in 2004 largely because he won the Denver papers. This time around, the Post backed Obama and the Rocky managed to endorse no one. Obama does well elsewhere here, too, with some Bush flip-floppers. OBAMA.

Will I blow this one again? Well, I will stick my neck out and give it to Obama, since, like Kerry in 2004, he dominates the editorial picks. But he only picked up one Bush paper that we know of (Naples) while losing one Kerry backer (Bradenton). Still, I have to be faithful to my formula and pick OBAMA.

With the Indy Star begging off the GOP candidate and remaining neutral, the state leans OBAMA.

Easy OBAMA win.

I have to give this to OBAMA, too, as he held the likely papers and picked up a Bush switcher in Joplin.

The candidates split the two Vegas papers but Obama got Reno, so give this to him, too.

Pretty much a toss up, but Obama leads by 5 dailies to 3 in our most recent count, so he can have that one, too.


Well, I am probably going to take it on the chin here. The endorsements, big and small, definitely favor McCAIN. However, I have my cop-out ready. The paper that has the highest distribution in what Sarah Palin suggested was the not-real-America part of the state (in the north) is The Washington Post, which backed Obama. So we’ll see if it trumps the dailies in Richmond and elsewhere.
For more coverage on the media and the campaign, check out our new blog, where you can also leave a Comment or watch some video:
The E&P Pub

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