“It was a great demonstration of democracy, whether you agree or disagree with the outcome,” Huffington Post’s political reporter Howard Fineman told Ed Schultz on MSNBC late tonight, while discussing the results of the historic Wisconsin recall elections. Fineman’s comment is either accurate or it is not. Just as the results reported by the computers across the Badger State are either accurate or not. Who knows? Nobody in WI does, and that’s exactly the problem. The early Exit Poll results had reportedly predicted the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett a virtual tie, leading media to plan for a long night tonight. A second round of Exit Polls results, however, were said to have given Walker a broader lead over Barrett. Even so, we were told, the race based on the Exit Poll data alone was still “too close to call.” That data was either accurate or it was not.
Of course, the raw, unadjusted Exit Polling data itself is no longer entrusted to us mere mortals. It can only be seen by members of the mainstream media, and we are simply left to trust them to report it all accurately to us or not. And when, after all, have we not been able to rely on the mainstream media to report everything accurately to us?
… The numbers used to certify their elections are based entirely on whatever the computers report the results to be. Those results, therefore, are either accurate or they are not. So, the Exit Polls, the mainstream media’s account of them, and the results themselves in Wisconsin are either accurate or not. The results tonight, according to the Associated Press with 99%of precincts reporting, show Walker winning his recall election by a full 7 points over Barrett. Similarly, Walker’s Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch is said to have won her recall challenge by 6 points, and three of the four Republican state Senators up for recall reportedly won by either similar or greater margins.
The other state Senate race, between Republican Sen. Van Wanggaard and his Democratic challenger John Lehman, is still being reported as “too close to call” with just 75% of precincts in and an almost 3,000 vote margin reported at this hour (approximately 11:06pm PT). If Lehman wins, it will be the first time in history that a recall flips the majority party in a state legislature. As is, it’s the first time in history that a Governor has survived a recall election.