Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama! - Pattern Recognition in Newpapers

Editor & Publisher has a list of the newspapers that have endorsed Barack Obama or John McCain. In 2004 John Kerry had a small edge over George Bush. But in 2008, Obama has the endorsements of 240 papers compared to 114 for John McCain. The difference in circulation is even larger - 21 million for Obama and 7 million for McCain.

In 2004, E&P's Greg Mitchell correctly forecast the winner in 14 of 15 key states simply by looking at the endorsements in those states. So what is he forecasting for tomorrow?
Obama Will Win Easily Tomorrow -- At Least Based on Newspaper Backing in Key Swing States!

By Greg Mitchell

Published: November 03, 2008 12:20

NEW YORK Everyone's making predictions on Tuesday's election with, as usual, the key "swing" or "battleground" or "tossup" states getting the most attention. Experts, or just plain gasbags, can juggle all sorts of information, from reports on the ground to one of seemingly 500 polls. But here at E&P, we do it a little differently on election eve: We predict the winner in key states purely on the basis on newspaper endorsements in that state.

Before you laugh too hard, consider this: In 2004, I did the same thing in this space -- and picked 14 of the 15 tight races correctly. Only missed on Florida (still waiting for that recount).

So, with perhaps undue confidence, allow me to take the plunge once again. We have been tallying endorsements here, with much national attention, for the past weeks, with an Obama landslide in that measure nationally. But what about in the specific states?

Using this strict measure, I predict Obama will take 11 out of 13 battlegrounds, losing in West Virginia and in Virginia (though I expect he will end up winning there).

Here is a rundown, in no particular order. Again, my picks are based purely on newspaper endorsements -- both the number and the size/influence of the papers in each candidate's column.

Forget McCain "narrowing the gap." He lost both big Philly dailies and split in Pittsburgh--gaining the lesser paper there. Obama has taken the smaller dailies by 2-1 with the papers in York, Easton and Erie, among others, switching from Bush. Winner: OBAMA

In 2004, Bush won because he nailed Columbus -- and Cleveland sat it out. This year, Columbus remains in the GOP column but the Plain Dealer went for Obama. The Cincy paper again went Republican. But once again, Obama takes the smaller papers 2-1, with about half dozen switching over from Bush. The Akron, Toledo, Dayton, Canton and Youngstown papers give this state to OBAMA.

Papers in our soon-to-be updated list fully back McCAIN.

We have to give Obama an upset here since he has in the bag all of the leading papers. A loss here would be embarrassing OBAMA.

We correctly gave this to Bush in 2004 largely because he won the Denver papers. This time around, the Post backed Obama and the Rocky managed to endorse no one. Obama does well elsewhere here, too, with some Bush flip-floppers. OBAMA.

Will I blow this one again? Well, I will stick my neck out and give it to Obama, since, like Kerry in 2004, he dominates the editorial picks. But he only picked up one Bush paper that we know of (Naples) while losing one Kerry backer (Bradenton). Still, I have to be faithful to my formula and pick OBAMA.

With the Indy Star begging off the GOP candidate and remaining neutral, the state leans OBAMA.

Easy OBAMA win.

I have to give this to OBAMA, too, as he held the likely papers and picked up a Bush switcher in Joplin.

The candidates split the two Vegas papers but Obama got Reno, so give this to him, too.

Pretty much a toss up, but Obama leads by 5 dailies to 3 in our most recent count, so he can have that one, too.


Well, I am probably going to take it on the chin here. The endorsements, big and small, definitely favor McCAIN.

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