If Ron Paul won the popular vote in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday, then why did most media outlets declare Mitt Romney the winner?
The Texas congressman received just 11 votes more than the Massachusetts governor in the U.S. territory on Saturday, beating him by three percentage points. But because of the Virgin Islands' complicated caucus system, Romney ended up winning more delegates.
Here are the raw numbers according to the U.S. Virgin Islands' government website.
Ron Paul: 29.17%, 112 votes (one delegate)
Mitt Romney: 26.30%, 101 votes (seven delegates)
Rick Santorum 5.99%, 23 votes (no delegates)
Newt Gingrich: 4.69%, 18 votes (no delegates)
Uncommitted: 33.85%, 130 votes (two delegates, one of which went to Romney after ballot was counted).
Did News Organizations Bury Paul's Win?
Slate's Dave Weigel explains that the numbers worked out the way they did because the Virgin Islands don't award delegates based on popular vote. Voters directly vote for nine delegates to represent them at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Three of those base at-large delegates had pledged to Romney, as well as three more Republican National committee members. One uncommitted delegate pledged to Romney after the votes were announced, making his total count seven. Only one delegate had committed to Paul, and that delegate earned 11.11 percent of the vote.
Therefore, The Associated Press article on the contest was headlined Romney wins Virgin Islands GOP Caucus, and many other publications had similar stories. The AP story did not mention that Paul won the popular vote.
Technically, news organizations weren't wrong in reporting Mitt Romney the victor. But as Business Insider's Michael Doherty put it, we think they buried the story.
The Paul campaign, who has been working hard for a caucus win and earned its first popular voted over Romney, was understandably furious about the way the caucus was reported.
Now here's a little math lesson for the mainstream media folks, said Paul spokesperson Jack Hunter in a video message. Admittedly, I'm not very good at math, but the last time I checked, 29 percent was higher than 26 percent.