Monday, November 2, 2015


About a third of the seats were empty when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders stopped to give a lunchtime talk to seniors here [Manchester, NH] during a swing through the state.

This is from an article in the Boston Globe. It doesn’t look good for Bernie. A few months ago he drew an audience of 10,000 in Portland, ME.

However, at the same time the Burlington Free Press ran an article under this headline: Overflow crowd lines up to hear Bernie Sanders in N.H. This article was also picked up by USA TODAY.
What are you supposed to believe? While some “news” media purposely distort or even misrepresent news item, as far as I know, The Boston Globe and USA TODAY are pretty straightforward. So which one of these articles is true?

The fact is, both articles are true, but they describe events in a different context. The Globe article tells us that the senator was speaking to a bunch of seniors, but it never specifies more. Presumably it was some kind of senior center in Manchester, NH. In the room where Bernie spoke, a group of seniors were playing cards. They didn’t come to hear a presidential candidate. They came to play cards. The event was part of a two-day swing through New Hampshire. By itself it was not a big deal.

The overflow crowd was in another New Hampshire town, Warner. In Warner, Sanders spoke in the town hall. Evidently it had been talked up more than the event in Manchester had. There was not enough room in the building for everyone to get in. After Bernie spoke to the audience inside the building, he came out and spoke to the overflow crowd. 

So, is Bernie’s support falling, or is it surging? You can’t tell from these articles, especially the Globe article. Except to say that he senator spoke to a group of seniors, it does not say where. One-third of the seats were empty. How many were full? What was the capacity of the room where he spoke? How well was the speech publicized ahead of time? The article says that Bernie "stopped to give a lunchtime talk." The wording suggests that the event might have been impromptu.

The US TODAY article, on the other hand, tells us that the event was in a town hall in a small New Hampshire town (population 2800). Having grown up in a small town in New Hampshire, I know that the town hall could not hold more than a couple of hundred. We do not know how many people the place where Bernie spoke in Manchester could hold.

Before we can draw valid conclusions about these speeches in the Granite State, we need to know more facts than we are given in these two news articles.

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