New York Times retires presidential election needle after embarrassing 2016 Clinton win prediction
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November 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In an apparent attempt to avoid repeating its 2016 embarrassment, the New York Times has abandoned its famous “needle” used to predict the probable winner of the 2020 presidential election.
“We will have needles for three battleground states [Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina], but unlike in 2016, we will not offer a single needle to tell you the overall likelihood of who will win the presidency,” the Times’ Nate Cohn and Josh Katz explained Monday.
Ostensibly, the reason for this change is to account for the prevalence of early and mail-in voting this year, thanks largely to COVID-19.
“Unfortunately for the needle, most counties and precincts don’t reliably report their vote by vote method,” they continue. “Our three ‘needle’ battleground states will be Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, for a simple reason: These states give us the kind of data we need to offer accurate estimates of the final vote. They report the results in unmatched detail, so our estimates might even be better than usual in these states. Better still, these states count their votes relatively quickly.”
“These states won’t by themselves tell us who will win the election, but they should tell us a lot about where it’s headed,” Cohn and Katz write.
However, mainstream media critics wonder if the real reason for the change has more to do with the black eye the paper suffered during the previous election when it gave Hillary Clinton an 85% chance of defeating President Donald Trump. That and similar projections from numerous other media outlets quickly became a recurring source of mockery from conservatives on social media for the next few years, as well as a bullet point for claims that the mainstream media is either out of touch with the broader electorate or was trying to depress pro-Trump turnout.