James Forsyth

Why the press wrote the Obama surge story so hard

Why the press wrote the Obama surge story so hard
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The debate over why the polls in New Hampshire were so wrong is still raging on this side of the Atlantic. An agenda-setting op-ed by the top pollster Andy Kohut in the New York Times says that it is all about race, while others think that it is all to do with gender. To my mind, the most persuasive argument is that the polls underestimated Hillary's support because she picked up the votes of those who were planning to back Democratic candidates who dropped out after Iowa.

Like pretty much everyone else who was in New Hampshire, I’ve been thinking about why everyone (including yours truly) got it so very wrong. One explanation that I’ve come up with is that we all saw what was going on in Iowa—a significant Obama poll lead and huge crowds—but caveated the story to death because there was a feeling that the Clintons would pull it out somehow. But come caucus night, Obama won by a larger margin than any poll was suggesting and everyone who had bitten their tongue was kicking themselves. So when the same set of events seemed to be playing out in New Hampshire we did not hold back.   

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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