Don’t Get Excited About This Afternoon’s “News” Stories

There has been considerable buzz today about various purported news stories: voting machines that don’t work; stocks that are soaring in expectation of a Romney victory; apparent turnout in a particular Ohio suburb; most recently, exit polls; and so on. Everyone wants news about the election, and when there isn’t any real news, such scraps will have to suffice. My advice is not to get caught up in anything until the polls have closed on the East Coast and we are seeing some real numbers. Even then, it is only news when we have clear information about how early and absentee voting factors into the vote totals that are being announced.

This was impressed upon me in 2004, when I had the opportunity to participate in NBC’s coverage of the presidential election. I was at Rockefeller Center in New York, representing the internet, in effect, along with Joe Trippi and Ana Marie Cox. It was great fun, except that at some point in the afternoon, Ana started getting leaked exit poll numbers and posting them on her web site. The “news” that the exit polls showed that John Kerry was on his way to victory spread like wildfire. For at least a couple of hours, Joe and Ana were exultant while I was depressed. (They were very nice about it, though.) But then the polls closed and real returns started coming in. It almost immediately became evident that the exit polls were completely bogus.

So whatever rumors and bits of data may be circulating today, my advice is to ignore them. Turn on the TV when the first results start coming in, and join us at Power Line Live to comment on them.


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