ABC7 News statement on Midday Live poll and Senator Bernie Sanders

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Tuesday, January 21, 2020
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We want to acknowledge a story we brought you Monday on Midday Live regarding Sen. Bernie Sanders and other presidential candidates.

We want to acknowledge a story we brought you Monday on Midday Live.

We were discussing the New York Times endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

During our Hot Topics discussion, we asked viewers to weigh in, in our non-scientific poll, and let us know who they support. Because there are still so many Democratic candidates, Senator Sanders and others were grouped into the "others" category. Supporters of Senator Sanders were loud and clear, saying he should have been among those candidates listed on-screen in our viewer poll. We agree, it was an error in judgment. Senator Sanders is a top-tier candidate.

In the effort to be fully transparent, we want to tell you how we picked the six options on screen. The program we use to non-scientifically poll viewers is called Megaphone. It allows for a maximum of six options to show on screen. Since the conversation was based off the New York Times endorsement, we felt Senator Klobuchar should be included. We also included President Trump since he is the Republican candidate.

That left us with four more options. Obviously there are a lot of candidates, so we chose the top three candidates from the "Focus on Rural America" poll that came out the morning of our discussion. We included "other" as an option for viewers who wanted to vote for a candidate that wasn't listed.

This is not an excuse, but an explanation of this error in judgment.

Going forward, we are taking more consideration to polls we use and the broader lesson here, for us, is to not do these kind of insta-polls about the presidential race. As long as we can't fit all the candidates on the screen, we should put none of them there.

The decision was not made with the intent to promote or hurt any candidate. But in hindsight, we acknowledge it left out Senator Sanders, who again is a top tier candidate and has led other polls in Iowa and across the country.

We apologize to the Senator, to those who have contacted us and we apologize to our viewers.