Hannity promoted text-message poll calling McCain debate winner, but viewers were allowed to vote just minutes into debate

››› ››› JOHN DELICATH & HANNAH DREIER

Following the first presidential debate, Sean Hannity promoted the results of a Fox News text-message poll that found that Sen. John McCain won the debate, but did not mention that viewers were allowed to begin voting for "who [they] thought won" just 10 minutes into the debate.

Following the first presidential debate, on the September 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity promoted the results of a Fox News text-message poll that found that Sen. John McCain won the debate, but did not mention that viewers were allowed to begin voting just minutes into the debate. Hannity announced, "[W]e have gotten around 50,000 text votes so far. Eighty-two percent are correct: They say John McCain won." But during Fox News' broadcast of the presidential debate, an on-screen graphic invited viewers to vote on "who [they] thought won" the debate as early as 9:12 p.m. ET, 10 minutes after the candidates began responding to the moderator's questions.

FNC Text Poll

Further, Hannity had previously dismissed text-message polling -- which is non-scientific and produces no reliable results -- as "just a lot of fun" when the results were favorable to former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (TX). After a Fox text-message poll put Paul in first place following the October 21, 2007, Republican presidential primary debate, Hannity said to Paul during an interview, "Oh, this poll is -- you've got all your supporters calling." Paul responded: "What, you mean your own poll isn't any good?" Hannity then said: "No, it's just a lot of fun."

From the September 26 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: And welcome to Hannity & Colmes. We are coming to you live tonight. We are in the spin room at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, home of the Rebels and tonight's first presidential debate. And remember, by the way, we want to know what you think and who you think won the debate. You can text your vote to 36288-A -- that's 36288, "A" for John McCain, and "B" for Barack Obama, and "C" if you're undecided. We're going to reveal the results in about 10 minutes from right now, right here on Hannity & Colmes. But up first tonight with reaction is former New York City mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

[...]

HANNITY: That was the scene at Ole Miss University -- that was earlier tonight. And now, by the way, here with the results of our "You Vote" text voting -- now, we asked you to tell us who you thought won tonight's debate, and as of right now, we have gotten around 50,000 text votes so far. Eighty-two percent are correct: They say John McCain won. Sixteen percent say that Barack Obama is the winner. And only one -- what do you think of the results?

AUDIENCE: [cheering]

HANNITY: -- and only 1 percent remain undecided. Now, remember, if you've not had the time to vote, you have until midnight Eastern Time to text your vote right here to FNCTV. And remember, there's still time to vote, and if you haven't done so yet, you have until midnight Eastern to text your vote over to FNCTV. Joining us now with more reaction is the great governor of the great state of Mississippi and the host of tonight's debate and Senator McCain supporter, Haley Barbour. How are you?

From Fox News' Hannity & Colmes post-debate coverage of the Republican presidential debate on October 21, 2007:

COLMES: We're now joined by Ron Paul. Why do you keep leading us in text voting? What do you think is going on there?

PAUL: Well, I wished I knew. Anyway, the message must be great. The American people are agreeing with this. I think they're just tired of the war, they're tired of big-spending Republicans, and they like their personal liberties, so -

COLMES: Now, in front of the Republican crowd, though, you got a few boos tonight, especially when you said America wants the war over and wants the troops home. That didn't get an applause from the Republicans you need in order to get the nomination.

PAUL: Yeah, I know, but this is a very narrow -- we didn't get a thousand tickets, you know. If I had had two thousand tickets, I could have filled that auditorium. So, you know, you have to look at the audience. The big audience is your listeners out there, and evidently, Fox has a good listening audience. I mean, they're responding very favorably.

COLMES: We do very well in the ratings.

PAUL: Yeah. They're doing very good. I like this audience.

COLMES: But how does an anti-war Republican win the nomination?

[...]

HANNITY: So if you don't win this nomination, you vote libertarian?

PAUL: Well, it depends on who's running, on what policy, there may -- who knows? There's talk of a third party -

HANNITY: Could you support Rudy? Fred? Mitt?

PAUL: Well, you know, I think they're softening their tone. They're not nearly as militant as they were a few months ago.

HANNITY: But you think you've Ron Paul-ized them? Or Hannitized them?

PAUL: Well, they have to listen to these polls, don't they?

HANNITY: Oh, this poll is -- you've got all your supporters calling -

PAUL: What, you mean your own poll isn't any good?

HANNITY: No, it's just a lot of fun.

PAUL: Oh, this is a great audience. This Fox network is just great.

HANNITY: Yeah, when you win it's a great audience. All right, good to see you. Thank you, Congressman, appreciate it.

PAUL: All right.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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