The reporting on Proposition 30 was detached from any objective reality. Right up until the polls closed, the “experts” like Dan Walters in a Nov. 3 column in The Tribune predicted “defeat in what (Brown) hoped would be the signal accomplishment of his second governorship” or David Siders on Oct. 29, claiming that “a week before Election Day, the effort appears to be falling short.”
“Appears”’— based on what? A Reason Poll on Oct. 15 showed Proposition 30 prevailing by 4 percent; an Oct. 24, PPIC poll also showed Proposition 30 up by 4 percent; and an Oct. 26 USC poll showed the same 4 percent margin.
Three days later, Field, the best pollster in California, showed it up 10 percent. If you only looked at polls, the final result would not have been a surprise. If you only read the reporting that is supposed to make us more informed, you would be shocked.
None of the implicit conventional wisdom in this narrative was ever stated or backed up with data.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
If I were an opponent of Proposition 30, I would feel outrage at the fraudulent reporting giving me a false sense of security; if I were a supporter, I would feel frustration at the chance that the reporting became a self-fulfilling prophecy.