Americans really are racist. At least I expect the media to explain their loss in New Hampshire that way.

The media told us that change was coming. It was in the air. The baby had been immaculately conceived in Iowa and New Hampshire would give it birth.

The polls showed it. The media reported it as known fact. Only the voters didn’t buy it. What happened?

Did the media screw up? I can’t believe the media will ever admit that it so intentionally, knowingly screwed up. Something else must have happened to cause Hillary Clinton to beat back Obama’s insurgency.

We may be seeing the start of the new media “don’t blame us” meme:

There have been previous races that misstated support for black candidates in biracial races. But most of those were long ago, and there have been plenty of polls in biracial races that were accurate. (For more on past problems with polls in biracial races, see this blog I wrote for Freakonomics last May.) And there was no overstatement of Obama in Iowa polls.

On the other hand, the pre-election polls in the New Hampshire Republican race were accurate. The problem was isolated to the Democratic side – where, it should be noted, we have not just one groundbreaking candidate in Barack Obama, but also another, in Hillary Clinton.

Maybe the party of slavery and Jim Crow really has not gotten over its legacy.

To the media, that probably is going to be an easier explanation than admitting they screwed up.

About the author

Erick Erickson

View all posts

1 Comment

  • Interesting post. After Sen. Clinton’s unforeseen NH victory, many people are questioning the pollsters. There is so much to consider when exploring what goes into political polling. Predicting elections is one of the most difficult challenges in survey work. Generally speaking, election surveys actually do work fairly well (it’s worth remembering that the polling on the Republican side in New Hampshire was pretty accurate). For all their flaws, surveys are still one of the best available tools for figuring out what the public wants. Check out our Public Agenda blog at http://publicagenda.org/headlines/headlines_blog.cfm for more on this!