ELECTION BEAT 2020


In the weeks leading up to the 2020 U.S. election, Thomas E. Patterson is writing a weekly series of research-based pieces examining election-related topics and how journalists cover them. Patterson is Bradlee Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard Kennedy School. He also conceived Journalist’s Resource and oversaw its initial development.

Republican
In the last of his Election Beat 2020 columns, Thomas E. Patterson argues that the Republican Party is in trouble.
battleground states
The outcome of the 2020 presidential election is in the hands of those voters lucky enough to live in a battleground state -- but some battleground states are more crucial than others.
misinformation fake news
How could America’s news outlets, our guardians of the truth, be a big source of misinformation? Thomas E. Patterson explains.
election nightmare
Focusing on the electoral vote on election night will highlight yet-to-be-counted ballots and slow the urge to call the election too soon.
opinion polls
As Election Day has drawn closer, opinion polls have taken up ever more of the news hole. Which of the dozens of polls that cross journalists’ desks are reliable, and which should be ignored?
white working-class voters
"Trump is likely to get a lower percentage of their vote in 2020, but it could be offset by a yet unmentioned factor -- the relatively low voting rate of whites without a college education."
voter registration deadline
The news media would perform a public service by making Americans aware of voter registration deadlines and what they need to do to participate in elections, writes media scholar Thomas E. Patterson.
presidential debates
"The first presidential debate is but a week away. The challenge for news outlets will be to try to capture the debate as a whole and not through the lens of its most sensational moment," writes Thomas E. Patterson.
census
Tom Patterson asks whether the press has an obligation to increase its focus on the U.S. census as the new deadline for the count approaches. 
swing voters
Today’s presidential nominees need not only convince voters that they’re the better choice but also that their party is an acceptable choice, writes Thomas E. Patterson.
white evangelicals
Scholar Thomas E. Patterson considers the roles of white evangelicals and the religiously unaffiliated in the 2020 election.
conventions
Every presidential nominating convention since 1996 has produced a bump in the polls -- referred to as a "convention bounce" -- of 2% or less, Tom Patterson writes.
2020 Election
"In 2020, Hispanics and Asian Americans -- the nation’s two largest recent immigrant groups -- deserve close attention," writes Harvard professor Thomas E. Patterson
National party conventions
While journalists may find nothing new in what the nominees say during national party conventions, much of it will be new to many voters, writes Harvard professor Thomas E. Patterson.
voting rights disenfranchise
Harvard professor Thomas E. Patterson explains why journalists must help the public understand why U.S. voting rights are less than absolute.
mail-in voting
"If states were to greatly expand their mail-balloting option, risks will remain, though the risks do not include some of the possibilities that have attracted substantial news coverage," writes Thomas E. Patterson.
polls
As in their coverage of the 1948 presidential election, journalists still tend to build their narratives and candidate images around poll results.
election beat meta-narratives
"Election Beat 2020" is a new series of columns authored by Thomas E. Patterson at Harvard Kennedy School. In his inaugural piece, he discusses the problem of "meta-narratives."