The Voter News Service and the 2000 Election Night Calls

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Abstract:

After examining the rhetoric of the network broadcast coverage on election night 2000, it is concluded that although individual “decision desk” call times were not identical across networks, there was a consistent pattern of correct and incorrect calls. The language of the election night broadcasts undercut network credibility on two counts. First, the networks largely failed to acknowledge their common reliance on the Voter News Service for their information, creating the impression that independent research by the five different networks was producing identical calls. Second, the networks failed to adequately describe how the calls were being made and the limitations of predictive models in a close election.

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