Fox News Leads U.S. TV Networks In Projecting The 2020 Election Results
Fox News leads U.S. TV networks in projecting the 2020 presidential election results, even as it and other news networks urged caution in interpreting early results.
Shortly after 11:00 p.m. ET, Fox Corp’s Fox News had projected Biden in the lead with 212 electoral votes and Trump with 148 votes. CNN had also projected a Biden lead with 192 votes and Trump with 108 votes.
Fox News also projected that Trump would win Florida and after that, that Biden would win Arizona. The other networks had yet to make a projection on those battleground states.
In this year’s contest between Republican U.S. President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, a Democrat, TV networks are facing heightened pressure to report election results accurately and without unwarranted speculation.
Among the challenges facing the nation – and the networks – are a president stoking fears of ballot fraud, a deeply divided electorate and the specter of a prolonged vote count, which raises the potential for civil unrest and lawsuits.
The coverage was united by how many journalists used phrases like “too early” when describing key races in states like Florida and Pennsylvania – as well as a focus on those election battlegrounds.
“Strap in at home. Brew extra coffee,” said Chief National Correspondent John King at AT&T Inc-owned CNN after looking at the close Texas map.
Speaking about the swing state of Pennsylvania, Former New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, who is a contributor for Walt Disney Co- owned ABC News, said: “No one’s predicting a win there, but no one is bemoaning a loss.”
Caution was a theme of the night. On Fox News, correspondents warned viewers that results could look “weird” through the evening, reflecting the rise in mail-in votes that may not be counted on Tuesday.
On Comcast Corp’s MSNBC, Former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said: “We need to be careful drawing sweeping conclusions based on what we see out of Florida,” adding that hopes for an early Biden “knockout” might falsely make Democrats think things have gone awry.
This is the first presidential election in which the major TV networks are getting data from different providers. Fox News and the Associated Press are no longer using traditional in-person exit polls, instead relying on online and telephone surveys that aim to reach early and Election Day voters. The news organizations are combining that survey data with real-time results tabulated by the AP to help make projections.
The three broadcast news networks and CNN are part of the National Election Pool consortium, which is relying on the firm Edison Research for exit polls and results as they come in from each precinct. Reuters has a distribution deal with the NEP for 2020 election data.
In part because of these different datasets, Fox News has projected some states, like Alabama and West Virginia, as much as two hours before the other networks.
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