The FOX News Arizona call

One of the notable media sidebars to election night is the FOX News call of Arizona for Biden with well over 600,000 votes outstanding, as I recall. At the time FOX had yet to call Florida, although just about all the votes to be counted were up in the Panhandle.

The Trump folks were not happy. FOX News called on Arnon Mishkin, the consultant who runs its so-called Decision Desk, to explain (video below). Why is this man smiling?

Mishkin explained: “What I think we’ve heard from the White House is that … they need just to get 61 percent of the outstanding vote, and there are 870,000 outstanding votes, and they’ll be getting that. That’s not true.”

He added (my emphasis): “The reality is that they’re likely to only get about 44 percent of the outstanding votes that are there. We’re right now sitting on a race that is about Biden at 53 percent, Trump at 46 percent. I’m sorry, the president is not going to be able to take over and win enough votes to eliminate that 7-point lead that the former vice president has.”

Interviewed by Steve Bannon live on YouTube that night, pollster Rich Baris vehemently disagreed with Mishkin. He thought that Trump would at least make up substantial ground in the uncounted votes and that he had the chance of overtaking Biden.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs announced last night that 173,000 ballots remain to be counted in Arizona. At this point Trump has narrowed Biden’s lead to fewer than 30,000 votes. That’s less than 1 percent. The New York Post breaks down the rest of the outstanding vote here.

Whether or not Trump overtakes Biden in the final count, according to Mishkin’s analysis, that wasn’t supposed to happen. As of this morning, it appears that the Trump folks and Baris were right and Mishkin wrong — in their analysis, not necessarily in the ultimate outcome.

Nevertheless, unless I have missed something, FOX News isn’t looking back for public consumption. They simply “stand by” their call. If I have this right, query who is going to hazard the view that FOX’s analysis was egregiously mistaken when just about every respectable conservative pundit is on their payroll as a contributor.

FOX’s own Tucker Carlson made his displeasure with the call clear at the time. Good for him. I think his monologue on Thursday night needs to be viewed in this context and to be read between the lines. Tucker urged “the news media” in general to “resist hasty calls.” Although his remarks were directed generally, I’m guessing he had the mischievous Mishkin specifically on his mind.

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