1. Miscalculation

    Why the Media Got ‘Personhood’ So Wrong

    Christi Chandler, left, and Stacy Hawsey, both of Madison and supporters of the Personhood Amendment promote their initiative as they waver signs at drivers in the midst of last minute campaigning Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 in Madison, Miss.    The Mississippi measure that would define life as beginning at conception was given a decent chance of approval. Passage would be the first victory in the country for the so-called personhood movement, which aims to make abortion all but illegal. Similar attempts have failed in Colorado and are under way elsewhere.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

    Rogelio V. Solis / AP Photo

    Reporter after reporter wrote that Mississippi’s controversial “personhood” amendment was “expected to pass” in Tuesday night’s elections, but it went on to fail by over 20 percentage points. Why was everyone so far off? The Daily Beast’s Michelle Goldberg says it wasn’t just the media. “Both gubernatorial candidates supported it, so local Democrats expected it to pass too.”  Slate’s Dave Weigel says the Democratic gubernatorial candidate only endorsed it to neutralize a partisan issue in an election dominated by Republicans. Will the “personhood” framing still accrue to abortion opponents’ benefit? “We'll just see, but in the short term, the discussion of "personhood" ended up foundering on the silliness of defining a fertilized egg as a ‘person.’”

    Read it at Slate