October 26, 2004

Of course, the problem is that newspaper publishers are better informed than most of the voters

I can feel the obsession coming on. The constant looking in on Slate to see if any new polls have come in, the incessant need to revisit Talking Points Memo -- please, please, please let there be a massive voter turnout leading to a surprise Kerry blowout, so I don't have to stay this way for another month following the post-election lawsuits.

One thing that gives me hope is the fact that I keep seeing a steady flow of former Bush supporters coming out in favor of Kerry. For instance, Kerry has gotten more editorial endorsements from newspapers than Bush has. The GOP is trying to spin this as, oh, you know, the liberal media, blah blah blah, but in fact, newspaper endorsements tend to skew Republican.

Since 1940 when the industry trade magazine Editor & Publisher began tracking newspapers during presidential elections, only two Democratic candidates -- Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 -- have ever won more endorsements than their Republican opponent. That's because newspaper publishers, who usually sign off on endorsements, tend to vote Republican (like lots of senior, corporate executives), which means GOP candidates pick up more endorsements. A lot more. In 1984, president Ronald Reagan landed roughly twice as many endorsements as Democrat Walter Mondale in the president's easy re-election win. And in 1996, despite his weak showing at the polls, 179 daily newspapers endorsed Republican Bob Dole, which easily outpaced the Democrats' tally by nearly a 2-to-1 margin.

In 2000, the overwhelming trend towards Republicans continued. According to estimates, candidate Bush enjoyed a huge newspaper advantage, picking up nearly 100 more daily endorsements than Gore.

So, you know, that might not mean Kerry's a lock, but it's probably a better indicator than chicken entrails, although you do still need to wash your hands after handling a newspaper.

Posted by Francis at 10:32 AM