Early Turnout Tilts Toward Democrats in Swing States

This New York Times article, by Jeremy Peters and Matt Flegenheimer, analyzes the current rates of Democrats and Republicans who have cast early votes. Looking at these turn out numbers, they are able to make predictions about the final results in some of the most important states in the election. Overall, I thought this article was very interesting because it was not just covering the topic of swing states, but instead it was highlighting a relatively new concept in America politics: early voting. This revitalized a topic that has been covered a lot, and gave it a newsy edge.

However, while the concept was relevant and refreshingly new, I found the piece to lack the same certain appeal. What did you think about the way the authors used structure to their advantage or disadvantage? In my perspective, the lede could have contained more compelling details to immediately interest the reader. The nut graph was highly informative, which it should be,  but did the length prove to be effective? I thought that kicker, where the authors spoke to both democrats and republicans, was very good. What did you think of their decision to include both people who have already voted and people who have yet to vote? What does it add to the article? Could they have used something like this at the beginning of the article to make the lede more attention-grabbing?

In any political piece, there is usually some sort of divide between party lines. This article was no different. The authors did a decent job covering both party’s relationship to early voting and swing states. Yet, did you see any left-leaning bias in either the presentation of facts or quotes used by the authors? There was discussion of changing early voting laws that may allow more people to vote that seemed to be blaming a certain party for these restrictions. Do you think this bias impacts the way the reader thinks about the topic?


6 Responses to “Early Turnout Tilts Toward Democrats in Swing States”

  1. I also thought this was an interesting topic. It was clear in the beginning that the timing of this article is in relation to the F.B.I. reopening Clinton’s case. Although the article mentioned both parties, I felt as if it was centered around Democrats and Clinton’s campaign. The facts and quotes seemed to be picked to support this theme.

    I wonder how this piece would sound if it focused more on Trump’s campaign. Could the statistics be presented in a way that makes it sound like republicans have a lead? Is there too much speculation. Also, there is still about a week left of early voting left so these statistics on the turnout can change quickly.

    This article made me realize how elections make it an exception to reduce Americans into stereotypes. For example, “warning signs for Mr. Trump: Women have cast 56 percent of the votes in North Carolina so far, and rural voters are slightly behind their 2012 participation rates.” As I read the article, I easily internalized these generalizations but how reliable are these and how do they impact of the publics perception?

  2. I agree with @homkate that, while there are many facts and issues in the current campaign, Peters and Flegenheimer seemed to have selectively chosen theirs to focus on Clinton’s campaign. This is even evident from the first sentence, where they established Clinton’s lead over Trump in early voter turnout. You can even see that “Democrat” was mentioned 21 times in the article, with “Republican” only 13, “Clinton” 28 times, and “Trump” 22.

    I thought the decision to include both early voters and regular voters illustrated a bigger picture of voters in America. It shows the personal mindset of voters and could dissuade bias, however, the article was clearly left-leaning. As a New York Times article, I am not surprised by the liberal bias, but I do not think it helps cover the election clearly, especially because they continue to cover Clinton’s lead.

    One commenter on the article, Sarah D., summed it up well “How about waiting until the election is over and all the votes are counted before you speculate on who is winning? This is irresponsible, NYT.”

  3. In an attempt to write a informative and interesting article, I think the authors chose to have a narrower focus. I agree that the attention given specifically to the Clinton campaign was an almost distracting tactic. I appreciated the opinions and quotes from voters mentioned at the end of the article, but would be eager to read more about both campaigns and sides of the election. As the main topic of the article, it would be interesting to read more about the contrasting or comparable approaches to early voting from both political parties.

    I think there was an attempt by the authors to write an well-rounded and thorough article. It is clear when they interviewed and included quotes from people who have voted, have not yet voted, and people that supported both major candidates. The authors, however, could have added a little more introductory information in regards to the tactics of the candidates to approach early voters. The inclusion of swing state importance was clear and necessary, but could’ve benefitted from its own article and investigation.

  4. As the comments before me have written, this definitely seems to focus more on the Democratic side of the vote, and nearly only supplies facts and interviews if they correspond wth the information that supports the vote of Hillary Clinton. There is very little here that shows hope for the Trump campaign. It’s often hard to write unbiased political news, but this one is very skewed to one side, even if it was attempting to tread down the middle.

    However, I really enjoyed the use of graphics that helped to back up the story, and perhaps those graphics help explain why there is such an interest in how well the Clinton campaign is doing.

    I also thought there were perhaps a bit too many quotes nearing the end of the article, leading to a slightly confusing ending that didn’t really conclude anything. Maybe a more defined summary would have helped this article and saving it from its oddly balanced take but biased content.

  5. The story definitely focused more heavily on Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party, but this is to be expected given the headline and the lede. The primary news angle for the story is how the FBI reopening the Clinton email case has been influencing early voting. It talks about how despite this recent development, early voting seems to be favoring the Democrats, so it makes sense that Clinton would be featured more in the story. Trump’s campaign and the Republican party are clearly mentioned in the article, but given the story’s focus I don’t think it is necessarily intended to showcase both campaigns equally. You can certainly argue that the NYT is a left-leaning publication and that this article demonstrates that bias. I would counter argue though that given the news peg of the story there’s nothing blatantly biased about the way this was covered. Given the high caliber of journalism at the NYT, for every story about the Clinton campaign, there’s usually another one about the Trump campaign.

    Also, it’s awesome that this article was chosen since Jeremy Peters is a Michigan alum and a former reporter/editor for The Michigan Daily!

  6. As already stated by others, this piece has a distinct Democratic bias. It focuses almost entirely on issues and people that are impacting or supporting the Clinton campaign, with very small amounts of the article addressing the Trump campaign. It’s almost as if this article is entirely dismissing the Trump campaign as being unimportant when it’s practically the only other campaign in the election. However, given that this article was published by the New York Times it’s understandable why this bias is there.

    I also found one of the photos in the piece really interesting. It was an image of Trump praying with volunteers at a call center, however the volunteers are all facing Trump with heads bowed towards hi with their palms raised towards him. Trump is just standing in front of these people bearing almost a smug grin. This image makes it appear that these people are almost hailing him as a god himself which is very unsettling. I feel that this imagery depicts the current political climate where most voters have firm conviction in their candidate no matter what happens, an issue Peters and Flegenheimer touched upon.

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