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Democratic Voices

July 26, 2004

AP Story Giving Bush Electoral Lead Is Faulty

Recently, the Associated Press ran a story that was widely published in newspapers and on the Internet titled, “Bush Leads Kerry In Electoral Votes” that could have been written by the Bush campaign. The assignment of states to candidates, the headline and the conclusions were all simply wrong. The Associated Press should print a retraction and work to see that it is widely published.

In the story, they stated that 14 states and DC were either solidly behind Kerry or leaning to Kerry. These states give Kerry 193 electoral votes. The leaning states were Maine, Minnesota and Washington with a total of 25 electoral votes.

They assigned 25 states to Bush with a total of 217 electoral votes. These states included 7 that leaned Bush. These were Missouri, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Colorado, Louisiana and Arizona for a total of 73 electoral votes.

This AP story listed 11 states as toss-ups. These states were Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Oregon with 128 electoral votes.

The story basically posed the question, “can Kerry catch up with the Bush lead?” Actually, there is no Bush lead. Here is why these writers make this statement.

Tennessee has been assigned as a solid Bush state in the AP story. The most recent polls in Tennessee have the state tied. Zogby has the race at 48 percent for both candidates. The most recent Mason-Dixon poll had Bush ahead by only a single percentage point. Tennessee should be added to the toss-up states. No state is as closely contested as Tennessee. The trend is Democratic! These electoral votes must be removed from the Bush total.

The latest Pennsylvania polls have Kerry up by 5 to10 percentage points. The Kerry lead does not indicate a toss-up state. It is likely a solid Kerry state and definitely at least leans Kerry. Using the AP methodology, Pennsylvania’s electoral votes should definitely be added to the Kerry total. The article suggested that might soon happen but should have reassigned the state in the story since this change alone drastically changes the analysis, the headline and conclusion!

Oregon and Ohio are actually leaning Kerry and are not toss-ups unless you are a Republican campaign strategist. Almost every recent poll gives Kerry leads in these states.

Using their numbers, the solid Bush states (even including the faulty assignment of Tennessee) have only 144 electoral votes. The solid Kerry states (even without adding Pennsylvania) give Kerry 168 electoral votes.

The Associated Press owes the American people an apology for this sloppy story that gives a distorted view of the current Presidential race. Kerry has a definite advantage at this point in the campaign in terms of the Electoral College!

Written By Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence (hosts of ).
Mail: 7A Planville Drive, Fayetteville, TN 37334.
Phone: 931-438-1500 or 443-421-0287.
Feel free to run as a Democratic Voices column, guest Editorial or Letter To The Editor.

Stephen Crockett and Al Lawrence

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