Faust: Shocked at the news
November 16, 2012
As I read the news today, I wish I was shocked at two items that I read. The first was that citizens in several states, including Colorado, were circulating petitions to succeed from the United States and form their own independent countries. The second was a news story circulating in several conservative media outlets regarding several precincts in which Mitt Romney received zero votes, and was an indication of election fraud.
The succession petitions didn’t concern me. I understand that some people are upset with the results of the election, and felt like releasing some steam. I don’t think anyone is actually taking them seriously. The second story is a lot more concerning.
It describes several dozen precincts in Philadelphia and Cleveland in which Romney got exactly 0 votes. The conservative blogosphere has offered up voter fraud as the only possible explanation, but even Fox News, did not bite at this story for good reason. While seeing results like 542 to zero might seem suspicious, even a cursory analysis leads to the conclusion that the numbers make sense. For example, in 2008, John McCain also received zero votes in many of these counties. The precincts lie in poorer urban areas where nearly 100 percent of the population is black or Latino. Given the national exit polls, the low support for Romney should be expected.
I think the conservative angst is the result of conservative media outlets like Fox News predicting a Romney win in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The mainstream media was predicting anywhere from an 84 percent to 95 percent chance of an Obama victory in the days leading up to the election. Conservatives were taken so off guard that they resorted to blaming the loss on the moral failings of un-American minority voters to voter fraud.