Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coverage of Wilder Endorsement Fits into Horse Race Campaign Coverage

There's been a lot of talk recently about former Governor Doug Wilder and whether or not he would make an endorsement in the gubernatorial debate. Much of this has been due to the fact that he has been quoted in many news articles saying that he's unsure of who he will be supporting. Most people who have followed Virginia politics know that Wilder has a history of waiting until rather late in the election before he makes an endorsement, so it shouldn't be too surprising that he hasn't made an endorsement yet.

Nonetheless, there have been a number of people who have written stories about how President Obama called Wilder to urge him to support Creigh and how an endorsement might be on the way soon. This certainly seems to be supported by the fact that Creigh had a meeting with Wilder on Monday and the fact that Wilder has been telling people he will make an announcement later this week, I think the whole situation has provided people with a prime example of how too much media coverage focuses on the "horse race" aspect of campaigns instead of focusing on the actual issues at hand.

I say this because the coverage that has focused on the Wilder endorsement has suggest that the reason Wilder hasn't endorsed yet has something to do with progressives being upset with Creigh Deeds. The implication of this argument is that Creigh can't even get his own party excited about his candidacy so he's therefore going to lose. Of course this ignores the fact that Creigh has been gaining ground in the polls at least in part because progressive activists have become more energized about the election. The energy of progressives has lead some pollsters to predict a higher Democratic turnout now than we saw in polls a few months ago.

What should really be examined now is not the fact that Wilder hasn't come out and endorsed Creigh's campaign as of yet, but what would make Wilder endorse a candidate earlier than he usually does. Hopefully we'll see some more analysis of this rather than the simple horse race stats that we get all too often.

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