November 6, 2012
The data was fake, but the public reaction wasn’t.The Cincinnati Enquirer committed a major election faux pas, posting dummy stats to its web site—ahead of election returns—showing that Republican Mitt Romney held a stunning 92,000-vote lead in the key presidential battleground of Ohio.
Facebook comments piled up on the Gannett-owned newspaper’s web site. The Drudge Report tweeted out the bad numbers around 10:30 am Tuesday.
“A Cincinnati.com front-page link to a chart with dummy data, created as a design template for election results, was inadvertently posted early Tuesday morning,” the newspaper wrote on their site. “It purported to show early voting totals in Ohio counties. However, no votes have been counted yet – by law counting doesn't start until the polls close.”
More than 1.79 million Ohioans voted early, slightly less than a third of the expected turnout, according to state records. Several Republican supporters commenting on the Enquirer’s web page rejoiced, only to be disappointed later.
“Romney's up in Franklin County? That's huge!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” wrote Spencer Phelps, who an hour after his comment wrote, “Turns out this was a fake ‘test’ page. Stupid newspaper.”