The ballots are still being counted, but there were clearly big winners and losers on Election Night who won’t be sworn into office anytime soon.
Winners included a CNN anchor who could teach geography anywhere, a dead guy in the Dakotas and pot smokers tired of the man harshing on their mellow. Losers included a dubious cable channel that appeared to be doing the right thing and pollsters everywhere, who proved for the second straight election they’re about as reliable as crystal balls and a deck of tarot cards.
Let’s start with the victors.
Maricopa County, Ariz., Cuyahoga County, OH., Wake County, N.C., Seminole County, Fla. — you name it, CNN’s John King knows it.
The Massachusetts native looked like Vanna White flipping over vowels as he pointed out counties on CNN’s Magic Wall as the votes came in fast and furious. And he did it at a tireless pace that almost makes President Trump look sleepy.
After praising King on Election Night, AMC executive VP Jim Maiella couldn’t believe the 57-year-old newsman was at it again Wednesday morning.
“John King is back, fresh as a daisy,” Maiella tweeted. “Remarkable.”
North Dakota’s David Andahl didn’t let an October COVID-19 infection stop him from being elected to his state’s House of Representatives. Sure it killed him on Oct. 5, but Andahl was elected anyway. The state’s attorney general told the Grand Forks Herald it’s his understanding that the GOP will pick Andahl’s replacement.
Marijuana was on the ballot in five states and got high marks in three of them. CNN projects measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota will be passed. South Dakota also voted to make weed available for medical use.
Montana and Mississippi are still sorting out votes that would affect their states' ganja laws.
If there’s one thing pollsters proved in 2020 it’s that polling can’t be trusted in an election year. As confusing as the pandemic-election ballot count has been, it seems highly unlikely Biden will pull off the comfortable victory professional poll services forecasted.
A Real Clear Politics aggregate of a dozen top polls before Election Day showed that Biden was up by an average of 7.2% with four of those surveys giving the Democrat a double-digit lead. By mid-afternoon Wednesday, Biden held a 2% lead over Trump. The electoral vote count was tight and still being counted.
Pollsters also forecasted a comfortable Hillary Clinton victory in 2016. Though Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, Trump won the Electoral College with room to spare. He appears headed to becoming the first president to have lost the popular vote twice.
Fox News — which breathlessly supports the president on most nights — was also accused of not giving Trump enough credit in the polls. The right-wing cable channel showed the president trailing Biden by eight points the weekend before the election.
While Trump enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Fox’s morning show and prime time hosts, he has referred to the network’s polling apparatus as “terrible” and “phony.”
Fox News upset the President again on Election Night by being among the first outlets to call the state of Arizona in Biden’s favor. Trump campaign strategist Jason Miller blasted Fox for somehow trying to “invalidate” MAGA votes. Fox News reported White House officials were “livid” over that forecast, which appears to be correct.
Biden has not availed himself to Fox News leading up to the election and it’s hard to imagine that will change if he takes office. If Trump is reelected, he’s unlikely to let that act of independence go unpunished. Fox stuck to its guns and declined the Trump campaign’s request to rescind its call.
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