Comments:Australian Broadcasting Corporation plans to call California for Obama before polls close

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How is this news?903:12, 8 November 2012

How is this news?

I could have called California for Obama before voting even started. He got 61% of the vote in the state last time and California's voted Democrat for the last five elections. How is the ABC's decision at all newsworthy?

Bencherlite (talk)17:57, 7 November 2012

In Australia, this would have been illegal had they done it during the Australian elections. At the same time, calling states before they close and some results in has been problematic. (See Bush v Gore for instance.) None of the USA networks had their electoral vote election maps with states up before the polls actually closed. --LauraHale (talk) 20:38, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

LauraHale (talk)20:38, 7 November 2012

So it's not illegal for one country's media to give predicted poll results about another country's elections during the vote? Gosh, you do surprise me. </sarcasm> I still don't see what makes this a news story, frankly. It might have been more interesting if they'd said they were going to call Ohio or another "swing state" that would make a difference to the outcome, but California was 59.1% vs 38.6%, a massive gap. Romney didn't bother trying to win California.

Bencherlite (talk)23:42, 7 November 2012

There was no doubt in my mind, as reviewer, that it was of interest; glaringly obvious, tbh. Evidently others find it of interest. It's odd you can't see the relevance that others can see, and truthfully even odder that you can't see it after Laura's remarks above. But, people think differently; it's just how things are.

Pi zero (talk)00:24, 8 November 2012

Some countries prohibit publication of polling predictions from a certain time before an election onwards, others don't. Even when there is no prohibition, as in the UK, the TV channels will not "call" the result until the moment the polls shut. So far, so good. But I'm not aware of any country (country A) that tries to prohibit pundits in country B publishing polling predictions about country A, nor any country B that that prohibits pre-emptive psephological prognostications about country A. That much I hope is glaringly obvious.

So "Australian TV channel predicts part of US election" is not really news, even if it wouldn't be allowed to do so for an Australian election. Does it make a difference that it did so while the poll was in progress? No, because it chose California, and perhaps only Michelle Obama was more likely to vote for Obama than California was. Now if a US channel had called a swing state early, or called something and got it wrong, or if an Australian channel had called a swing state early, that's interesting. This isn't. It's not remotely comparable Bush v Gore, or "Dewey wins", since there was utterly no risk of a mistake here. BBC news programmes have been saying for weeks which were the key battleground states and which were the ones in the candidates' respective pockets. California was never a battleground. The ABC isn't going to win any awards for this brave prediction. Has any other news outlet covered the story?

Bencherlite (talk)00:44, 8 November 2012

I can think of things that could have made the article stronger. I can see the fascinating issue underlying this, and the article would be stronger if it brought that issue out more clearly; indeed, my ability to see it probably weakened my effectiveness when reviewing, by distracting me from asking for greater clarity on that point before publication.

But you might want to consider your own approach to this. Can you see a fundamental difference between my criticisms (self- and otherwise), and yours? I do review after review, turning things down and trying to find ways to provide helpful feedback while doing so; perhaps I forget what it's like not to think in terms of providing useful feedback. I encourage you, though, to think in those terms. I look for and try to describe what could be done better; what are you looking for, and what do you think you come across as looking for?

Pi zero (talk)01:16, 8 November 2012
 
 

Except they did not call Ohio four hours before the polls closed in Ohio. They called California quite explictly. They also subsequently called Texas for Romney and a few other states before they closed. (Which they did not state four hours out that they had called Texas for Romoney. I believe they waited until the first polling stations closed in on the east coast before doing that. At a time when USA networks had zero-zero, they had something like 100 eletorcal college votes already shown on their map.) The states that were tighter they called later. In fact, USA networks were calling states before the Australian Broadcasting Corporation was calling the close races as they wanted to wait to be sure they were a bit more accurate. Colorado I think they called about 15 minutes after the USA networks.

If for some reason there had been a majoe screw up in the polling, which is possible if you look at Gore v Bush, it would have made national news over here. Also, there are broader issues that the Australian courts have been looking at that might have implications for such coverage. There used to be media blackouts for fair trial guarentees. Thus, a court case in Victoria, they could publish news stories about in New South Wales but not in Victoria. (Underbelly is an Australian television show that had such restrictions.) My understanding is the courts are beginning to think more nationally about these things because the internet means the sharing of news is not limited to a local geagraphic area. Taken broadly: Australian coverage of this topic, given the right social media audience, could have potentially surpressed the Romney vote in California and have the carry on effect of changing the results on the local level for local races. That is why USA networks do not report on who a state has gone for before the polls have closed.

Could this have been explained better? Yes, but I attempted to get it published prior to the polls closing in California.

LauraHale (talk)03:12, 8 November 2012