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October 17, 2004

I Called it

By Byron LaMasters

I've said for awhile now that the Dallas Morning News would endorse Bush, but they've become so utterly predictable with their endorsements, that I even called when they would do it. So, I'll take credit for it here.

As for their endorsement, it's basically what you'd expect from a newspaper that backed Goldwater and segregation four decades ago (and a paper that a bit more recently said Bush won the first debate). You'd think they just copy+pasted the talking points from the Bush / Cheney webpage. It starts with "Americans want and need a president with a backbone steeled by courage and a heart tendered by compassion", and well you can pretty much just use your imagination to figure out where it goes from there.

Overall, I don't think that newspaper endorsements matter that much for the presidential race. I do think that they matter a lot of downballot candidates where most voters have not heard of either candidate, and independent voters will vote often vote for the candidate backed by their local newspaper. Most newspaper endorsements for president are pretty easy to track based on their previous editorials, but I do think that it is of some significance when normally conservative newspapers endorse the Democrat and vice versa. That's why it was interesting to read this:

Kerry gained the editorial backing of at least 28 papers, with Bush winning the support of 14 that we know of, giving Kerry the lead by 43-27 in E&P's exclusive tally. He has many more large papers on his side, maintaining his "circulation edge" at nearly 3-1: approximately 8.5 million to 3 million.


Among Kerry's new supporters were five papers that had backed Bush in 2000: the Bradenton Herald in Florida, the Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, the Columbia Tribune in Missouri, Colorado and the Daily-Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Muskegon (MI) Chronicle.

Two other papers that backed Bush in 2000 announced they would not pick either candidate this year: the Tampa Tribune and the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal.

These are minor things, but I do believe that endorsements of Kerry from newspapers with moderate to conservative credentials might help some undecided voters close the deal with Kerry.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at October 17, 2004 04:47 PM | TrackBack


I'd like to remind everyone that Republicans have had large majorities in endorsements for President in every single election since 1948 except for 1964 when LBJ recieved more than Goldwater and trounced him. This is a surprising trend.

Posted by: Andrew D at October 18, 2004 02:09 AM

I spoke off the record with a member of the Dallas Morning News editorial board, and practically all of their recommendations are decided by the entire board. The exception is the recommendation for President, which is made at a level of the paper higher than them (presumably it is a publisher decision).

I would cut the board a little slack--after all, they did recommend Chet Edwards over Arlene Wohlgemuth.

Posted by: Neil B. at October 18, 2004 11:45 AM

I doubt that newspaper endorsement change many, if any, votes. But it tells you about the view of the editorial staff. What's so bad is the way the DMN bends over backwards to promote Bush--the contorted logic of their argument that Bush won the first debate, for example. They take him in as a kind of "hometown boy," someone that I think they like more because he's from Texas than that he's a guide leader.

Posted by: Tx Bubba at October 18, 2004 12:59 PM
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