14

The Associated Press announces the winner of states in US presidential elections – has it ever announced a winner early and been wrong?

14

According to Wikipedia, they announced Al Gore as winner of the state of Florida in the 2000 presidential elections:

The controversy began on election night, November 7, 2000, when the national television networks, using information provided to them by the Voter News Service, an organization formed by the Associated Press to help determine the outcome of the election through early result tallies and exit polling, first called Florida for Gore in the hour after polls closed in the peninsula but about ten minutes before they closed in the heavily Republican counties of the panhandle (in the Central time zone).

but it ended up being won by George W. Bush.

4
  • 14
    Of course it is very debatable whether AP was wrong here, or the officials... – Arno Nov 5 '20 at 12:02
  • Interestingly I stumbled upon washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/aponline/20001108/… which may challenge that. It says it was based off the data Voter News Service collected, but doesn't explicitly say AP called it. Didn't think it was odd until ap.org/en-us/topics/politics/elections/how-we-call-races says "AP did not call the closely contested race in 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore – we stood behind our assessment that the margin in Florida made it too close to call." Maybe they only speak of call #2, but makes me a little curious for more proof. – JeopardyTempest Nov 9 '20 at 8:00
  • PBS also hints maybe AP (and PBS that relies on them) just might not have made a 2000 FL call? I guess it's possible that maybe AP didn't rush as much (given the internet was nascent and most of the networks made their own calls)? I'd certainly be interested to see something truly concrete, at least a direct quote from the book Wikipedia references, or ideally something direct. – JeopardyTempest Nov 9 '20 at 8:06
  • Though the controversial Arizona call this year certainly shows it's well within the reasonable that AP could've made such a call in 2000. But maybe your answer now seems a bit more uncertain Glorfindel, though through no fault of your own? (It might also help to know whether Voter News Service was some separate entity\thing or AP itself.) – JeopardyTempest Nov 9 '20 at 8:09
4

The Chicago Daily Tribune famously messed it up in 1948 to meet a printing deadline resulting in this famous photo

Dewey Defeats Truman

source

3
  • 10
    The Chicago Daily Tribute isn't the Associated Press, is it? – divibisan Nov 5 '20 at 18:54
  • 1
    No, but I think it answers the spirit of the question with the AP being a proxy for the media – JohnFx Nov 5 '20 at 19:01
  • 3
    Thanks JohnFx, and welcome. The question was specific enough about the AP that I can't count it as a good answer. But please keep contributing. – Burt_Harris Nov 5 '20 at 20:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .