The Editorial Board Vote

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 22 2012 @ 4:46pm

Aaron Blake compares 2012 editorial board endorsements with those of 2008. While the jury is still out on some key papers, Blake notes that there have been "very few surprises":

In fact, only two newspapers on this list have flipped from supporting Obama in 2008 to Romney this year — the Orlando Sentinel and Reno Gazette-Journal. None have gone the other direction, from John McCain in 2008 to Obama in 2012.

For the latest endorsement tracking, head here. Former editor of Editor & Publisher Greg Mitchell makes the case for the predictive value of endorsements:

Two days before Election Day [in 2008], I really went out on a limb and predicted which candidates would win in the thirteen key "toss-up" states based purely on newspaper endorsements in those states—not polls or common sense or anything else. And what happened? I got them right, except for one. It had to be a better batting average than virtually anyone else.

Jazz Shaw picks at the correlation-vs-causation aspect of Mitchell's argument: 

That may be true, but is it because they are influencing the decisions of their dwindling pool of readers or because they just happened to pick the person who was more popular with their potential reader base? 

Doug Mataconis wonders whether the endorsements matter at all: 

There was a time, of course, when newspapers were far more explicitly partisan than they are today, not just in their editorials but also in their news coverage. Even after that era passed, newspaper endorsements used to hold great sway especially in large cities. However, I honestly have to wonder what value these endorsements have in an era when anyone with an Internet connection can find out whatever they want to know about any candidate for any office…. Are there really people out there who are so devoid of critical judgement that they base their voting decisions on who some group of anonymous people decided to endorse?

Speaking of editorial endorsements, the New Yorker's is worth your time:

The reëlection of Barack Obama is a matter of great urgency. Not only are we in broad agreement with his policy directions; we also see in him what is absent in Mitt Romney—a first-rate political temperament and a deep sense of fairness and integrity. A two-term Obama Administration will leave an enduringly positive imprint on political life. It will bolster the ideal of good governance and a social vision that tempers individualism with a concern for community. Every Presidential election involves a contest over the idea of America. Obama’s America—one that progresses, however falteringly, toward social justice, tolerance, and equality—represents the future that this country deserves.

Another notable Obama endorser: The Salt Lake Tribune:

[T]his is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us. … [T]he editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.