For Immediate Release
September 2, 2016
SCDP STATEMENT ON SCETV’S REFUSAL TO TELEVISE GENERAL ELECTION DEBATES
Columbia, SC – The South Carolina Democratic Party released the following statement today on the announcement by SCETV that they do not plan to televise any 2016 general election debates because they do not view the races to be “highly competitive”:
“It is regrettable that SCETV has apparently decided to focus on political punditry rather than informing the public about the choices facing voters this November.
“What’s more, their political punditry is woefully off the mark. A recent poll conducted by the Feldman Group found that 37% of South Carolina voters are more likely to vote for a Republican for Congress, while 34% are more likely to vote for a Democrat. For the state legislature, 36% of South Carolina voters are more likely to vote for a Republican, compared to 33% for a Democrat. Both of these results are within the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4%. And while Republicans did their best to rig the districts through undemocratic gerrymandering, the poll found that in the 1st Congressional District, voters’ preferences are evenly split, and in the 5th Congressional District, voters favor a Democrat by a 5-point margin. These results are the definition of ‘highly competitive.’
“Moreover, SCETV is assessing the competitiveness of these races more than two months before Election Day, when few voters have tuned in to down-ballot races. Denying voters the opportunity to directly compare candidates because SCETV thinks voters favor the better-known incumbents is putting the cart before the horse. This sort of amateur political punditry is unbecoming of an institution like SCETV with such a stellar track record of enriching our democracy. We hope they draw upon their public interest roots and reconsider this decision.”