Making Sense of Election Coverage

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By Andrew Hayes

EAST LANSING, Mich. –As the polls begin to close and the 24-hour news stations begin to make their projections, it can be difficult to decipher exactly what all the numbers mean. The fact that all of the major news stations have different electoral votes at the exact same time can lead to further confusion. What are they trying to tell us?

At this point in the polling process, the majority of the leading news networks are reporting predictions. These predictions are based upon exit polls conducted by each station individually. This is the reason that if you flip from MSNBC to Fox News to CNN, there will be three different totals for the number of electoral votes.

These projections can give you hope regardless of which party you are supporting. If your party is losing you can say, “Oh these pundits are just trying to fill air time until the actual votes are counted.” If your party happens to be winning when you check the electoral votes you can begin planning your inauguration party early.

By the time you are reading this post, states will more than likely have the majority of their votes counted and reported. When news stations start reporting these numbers you can really start getting a picture of which candidate states are going to support.

Don’t get caught up in maps. Just because there’s a lot of one color doesn’t necessarily mean that that party is winning. Focus on the Electoral College numbers because this is what actually decides which candidate is going to win. The Electoral College is the number of points a state holds based on the number of seats in the House of Representatives a state holds plus two for each Senator. Each state gives all of its votes to whichever candidate wins the popular vote in that state.

If you’re hoping that the news stations will be able to tell you anything regarding a clear winner tonight, you might be disappointed. Pundits have been saying for weeks that this race is going to be one of the closest in history. Megyn Kelly even claimed earlier today that this could be the closest election America has seen in 80 years.

As this election comes to a close, the news stations are going to try to be the first to report a winner. This need to be first can cause stations to jump to conclusions so make sure you look at several different sources before you start you partying or book your ticket to Canada.

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