What's up with the Star Tribune's recount math? (Updated)
(Updated: see below)
Anyone wonder about the Avista Partner's Star Tribune bizarre recount math? It has been clear that they were backing Norm Coleman from way, way before they actually got around to endorsing him. They always slant their coverage conservatively. Aaron Landry has the goods on that. They first post the AP's lede, then alter it to a more conservative title. Avista Partners are basically oil men and they hire conservatives to run their papers.
Their poor coverage due to too few political reporters left after budget cuts (another classic Avista move) kept any good news for Al Franken during the DFL endorsement race out of the paper. They had one reporter covering the Senate race, the Governor and the Legislature until this June. This isn't coverage, it's neglect. Not to mention their inaccurate coverage when they tossed a story to someone who knew little about the race.
They front-paged any bad news about Al or good news for Norm. Furthermore, they minimized Norm's controversies as much as they could while front-paging his defense against the various charges. For example, they never wrote about Norm's ties to the Myanmar dictatorship.
Now they have this exclusive math which they don't explain. It certainly can't be from journalists doing hard work. There are just too few political reporters left at the paper. Are they just pulling it out of
their *** the air? Here's the entire explanation as they often change things or take them down.
The Star Tribune is focusing on the size of the gap between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, since that’s the way most people have been following the contest.
At the start of the recount, Coleman led Franken by 215 votes.
The number on the startribune.com home page shows what the current gap is as precincts are recounted. If the gap between Coleman and Franken changes in Coleman’s favor in the completed precincts, then the 215-vote gap will grow. If it changes in Franken’s favor, then the gap will shrink or it will be in Franken’s favor.
But also keep a close eye on the number of challenged ballots, because they could cause the gap to shift again when they are reviewed in mid-December by the State Canvassing Board.
Another way that some sources may report the recount results is by setting the vote totals to zero, and reporting only the new vote totals for each candidate as they come in over the ensuing weeks. But those totals could show one candidate leading the other by thousands of votes based on partial returns – and yet if neither candidate has picked up a net increase in those precincts compared with the pre-recount totals from those precincts, then the overall gap remains at 215.
In other words, don’t compare the difference in the statewide vote totals for Coleman and Franken to the 215-vote gap, because that would be an invalid comparison until every ballot is recounted.
If that’s not confusing enough, keep in mind that the way news organizations collect and report data from recount sites during the course of each day will vary – and thereby result in inconsistent tallies. The Secretary of State will receive end-of-the-day reports from recount sites and will post the results on its website – www.sos.state.mn.us -- at 8 p.m. each day. We will each day reconcile those results with the results already published on StarTribune.com.
Joe Bodell makes the point that the Coleman campaign is challenging so many ballots to keep Franken gains lower. So consider what Joe says and consider that the Strib wants to keep Coleman's lead as high as possible to create the perception that Norm is leading. Remember, Republicans tactics have little to do with reality but a lot to do with perception.
But a view from inside the recount operation shows just how the Coleman operation is working: not just challenging questionable ballots, but challenging ballots that are clearly Franken votes for the sake of challenging Franken votes, tamping down any possible gains Franken might make in the official tally.
(MN Campaign Report)