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Oops: Boston Globe’s premature election results

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 19, 2010 01:27 PM

Several readers logged on to the Boston Globe website and encountered this premature graphic of town-by-town election results at around 1:00pm Eastern:

(Hat tip: Taylor and Thomas.)

They were obviously just testing out the graphic for tonight, but it’s easy to imagine many liberal staffers in Beantown praying things go Coakley’s way.

Here’s the Globe’s Joan Vennochi, for example, sneering at Brown’s military service in the Army National Guard as “pretty packaging.”

Tom Bevan has a related piece on the Boston Globe putting its thumbs on the Mass. Senate race scale (hat tip – reader Ken):

Let me see if I have this right: there have been six polls of the Massachusetts Senate race released in the last 24 hours, five of which show Scott Brown with leads of 5 points, 7 points, 9 points, 10 points and 10 points, respectively. Only one poll shows the race tied. None of the polls show Martha Coakley with a lead.

How then, you might ask, can the Boston Globe justify characterizing the race as a “dead heat?”

…I’m sorry, but citing the most favorable poll by far for Coakley and suggesting that it is “consistent” with the other polls is such a blatant distortion of the current state of the race that the Globe should be ashamed of itself. That would assume, of course, that the Globe is interested in providing its readers with the truth as opposed to putting its thumb on the scale in favor of a preferred political candidate.

Then again, people who get their political news solely from the Boston Globe are probably surprised to hear the race is a “dead heat” given that just eight days ago the Globe’s own poll affirmed to readers that Martha Coakley was leading Scott Brown by 17 points while other pollsters had the race far closer including one firm, PPP, that showed Brown up a point.

***

The Boston Phoenix also saw the graphic:

The map was fully interactive, so you could roll over and get town-by-town results — above we show Coakley taking Cohasset 56-43.

They took the map down shortly after I pointed it out on Twitter. But not before we Phoenix troublemakers got the screen shots!

Now, if the final numbers end up matching these, the Republicans may really have reason to question the integrity of the process…

It’s funny, except that it’s not.

***

On a somewhat related note, there will be no exit poll results today. John Fund explains:

The Massachusetts Senate race was a complete snoozer until January 5, when pollster Scott Rasmussen released a survey showing Republican Scott Brown trailing Democrat Martha Coakley by only nine points. That surprised many, but still wasn’t a true wake-up call that the race would be a barnburner. As late as January 10, the Boston Globe carried a headline trumpeting a poll showing Ms. Coakley with a 15-point lead. Mr. Brown’s surge was so sudden that many of the usual accoutrements of closely-contested elections are missing in the Bay State.

One is exit polls. There will be none tonight from Massachusetts, disappointing journalists and political scientists alike. As Mike Allen of Politico.com reports, the consortium of news outlets that normally organizes such surveys didn’t bother when the race was expected to be a blowout and now “wasn’t confident a reliable system could be built so fast.”

Another casualty of the expectation that the race would be a cakewalk for the Democrat will be an absence of absentee ballot fraud, the preferred method of putting an illegal thumb on the scale in a close race. Applications for absentee ballots had to be submitted by last Friday, providing little opportunity for those with ill intent to organize such an effort once they realized the race had tightened up.

Well, that’s not stopping some from trying.

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