Will Newspaper Headlines Focus on Popular Vote or on Delegates After Super Tuesday?

On the day after Super Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how newspaper headlines report the results, especially for the Democratic primaries and caucuses where delegates are awarded proportionally by district and state.  Will they focus on which candidates won the popular vote in different states? Will they focus on who got more votes overall across all states? Or will they focus on what really matters, namely the total delegate counts?

The candidates who win the most delegates in their parties across all the states voting today will be the real winners of Super Tuesday regardless of how many votes they actually get or how many states they actually win.  In fact, NBC’s Political Director, Chuck Todd, stated on MSNBC this afternoon that it is entirely possible that Clinton could get more votes than Obama while he wins more delegates than her. 

Unfortunately, when Obama beat Clinton in the Nevada Democratic Caucus 13 delegates to 12, many major newspapers had headlines proclaiming Clinton the winner because she had won the popular vote.  For instance, The New York Times had a headline on 1/20 reading “Vote of Women Propels Clinton in Nevada Caucus” even though the body of the article clearly indicated that Obama had won more delegates.  Likewise, The Washington Post posted a headline on their website on 1/19 reading “Clinton and Romney Win in Nevada” while also showing that Obama won more delegates.

Hopefully, America’s major newspapers will do a better job tomorrow and focus on what really matters.  This is a race for delegates, not votes!

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One Response to “Will Newspaper Headlines Focus on Popular Vote or on Delegates After Super Tuesday?”

  1. rberlind Says:

    To their credit, the major newspapers I looked at did a good job portraying the results of the Super Tuesday contests in their headlines the following morning. Here are some examples:

    The New York Times: “Support Divided, Top Democrats Trade Victories” and “McCain Gains Wide Support; Huckabee Wins in States in South”

    The Washington Post: “Clinton and Obama Trade Victories” with “McCain Dominates Big States” and “Huckabee Complicates GOP Contest”

    The Wall Street Journal: “Clinton and Obama Split Nation; McCain, Huckabee Take Key States”

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