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CNN Today

Marquette University Political Science Students Discuss Punditry

Aired October 4, 2000 - 2:34 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, this day after the first big presidential debate, the big question: who won? Most polls, including CNN's, give Al Gore a slight edge over George W. Bush. But all the polls seem to suggest there is no runaway winner here.

The debate is the topic in a political science class now going on at Marquette University. Let's check in again with CNN's Jeff Flock in Milwaukee.

Jeff, what's happening?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, they just polled the class here and Professor McAdams, who is the American politics professor here at Marquette, has been polling his classes all day. They've got one set of numbers up on the board. Winner: Gore, 16; Bush, 11; a tie, 13.

It's been fascinating to listen to this discussion. We have been streaming it live on our Web site, CNN.com, and people have been able to listen to all of this discussion. They have talked everything from passion to gaffes to zingers to the makeup of the candidates. It's been fascinating.

Let's listen in a little bit to Professor McAdams (ph) as he is sharing some more wisdom with the class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And perhaps, that's expectations, that is to say, perhaps, Gore won by a fairly, somewhat -- perhaps, by a narrow margin, perhaps. And perhaps, Bush gained something simply by exceeding expectations. But I'm reverting to the punditry, now, and let's talk for a few minutes about punditry, because it's an extremely important reality, how the media interpret this.

There is a debate. There is a media interpretation and sometimes the media interpretation seems to be more important than the debate itself. Who has watched at least a certain amount of interpretation, heard it on talk radio, saw it on television this morning, last night after the debate. Who heard the debate interpreted by the media?

OK, is your opinion that the media are interpreting this -- based on what you seen -- as a Gore victory, a Bush victory or a tie? Let's ask for some reports from some people who have heard something from the media. Mr. Brett (ph), in the back right here. What have you heard the media say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything I've heard, they've said Bush has won, again, because a lot of people had such low expectations of him in the first place. That's just what I've heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In other words, they're saying Bush won, based on the expectations game. He did better than expected.

Who else has heard some reports in the media? Ms. Pretya (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard that neither one of them won. That Gore supporters are still going to support Gore, and Bush is still going to support Bush. And they...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which media particularly have you been exposed to? Who have you heard that's said that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... I have watched some of the news and NPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, NPR, and network news?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, OK, who has else heard some punditry? an interpretation from the media?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of what I heard was more what she said, that most of the people, either were staying with what they had already had, like nobody came out a clear victor. A lot of the discussion I heard, most people kind of disappointed with how both candidates acted. And most people are just going to stay with their same party.

FLOCK: OK, interesting to listen in on this discussion, and also to hear this class of about 40 people, how 40 people could watch a debate. and about half of them could have one particular interpretation and half could the complete other interpretation. And this is American politics students.

We will continue to listen and you can continue to listen, too, on CNN.com, if you like.

I am Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live, from Marquette University in Milwaukee.

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