The church where I work is a voting site. As you might expect, there were a lot of people who passed through the hallway that leads from the main doors to our fellowship hall. Along this hallway is my office. Needless to say, I overheard a lot of conversations. The cool thing was how upbeat everyone seemed. Some people spoke of their passions for their particular candidate(s). A surprisingly small number of negative comments were heard.
Throughout the afternoon I read stories of all the warm-fuzzy feelings that everyone was exhibiting while waiting in line to vote. All across the country, people of varying ideologies put the best possible spin on the people the were sharing space with. A Democrat and a Republican sharing an umbrella in the rain, a group of business men allowing a van of nursing home residents to cut ahead of them in line, and impromptu volunteers assuming responsibility of helping people find a place to park in crowded residential streets. This is America in its best possible form. It restored my hope in people’s ability to treat each other fairly and with respect. When everyone participates and respects each other; everyone wins.
But then, around 7:45, my outlook took a dark turn. A gentleman representing the McCain-Palin campaign called my home phone number. He asked for me by name and wondered if I voted for “our guy”. I said, “no I didn’t, but I wish you well tonight.” His reply – “that’s OK, I’m sure Mohammed appreciates it.” Then he hung up. I know that the sentiment that Obama is an Islamic terrorist exists…I just never thought it would come into my household. I’m unplugging my phone for the rest of the night, and praying that the narrow-mindedness of one unethical McCain supporter doesn’t tarnish what has been a rather positive day.
I took great delight in seeing how the four major networks covered the election as the polls started to close. It seemed that CBS was really careful to not jump the gun or appear biased. NBC and ABC pulled the trigger almost instantly after polls closed in various parts of the country. FOX was surprisingly quick to declare states for Obama, but once everyone declared him the winner at 10:00 CST they stopped updating their electoral vote projections / totals on the website for a while. Other than those peculiarities, it was a good night in front of the TV.
All in all, the coverage I saw was reasonable. The only thing that drives me nuts about the whole process is when networks (and they ALL do it) declare someone has won a particular state with 0% of the precincts reporting. Are their exit polls that accurate? Why are they in such a hurry to be the first ones to make those announcements? Don’t they remember the embarrassing situations in 2000 and 2004 when networks prematurely declared certain candidates the victor? Just get it right, people!
Anyway, here are the numbers that I recorded every 15 minutes…mostly accumulated by switching channels on the TV.
ABC CBS NBC FOX
7:15 102-34 81-39 103-34 82-39
7:30 102-49 102-54 103-58 103-54
7:45 N/A 102-54 N/A 103-69
8:00 174-76 174-100 175-70 200-81
8:15 175-76 174-115 175-76 163-81
8:30 195-90 194-124 200-85 200-90
8:45 200-124 199-124 200-90 200-90
9:00 207-135 206-135 207-129 N/A
9:15 207-135 206-135 207-129 N/A
9:30 207-138 206-141 207-135 N/A
9:45 207-141 206-141 207-142 N/A
10:00 284-145 283-145 284-146 220-138
10:15 333-155 324-155 333-146 297-145
10:30 333-155 324-155 333-156 297-145
10:45 338-155 338-156 338-156 338-155