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Prof. Abramowitz: Regardless of who Wins Presidency Many Americans Will Doubt Fairness

Aired November 10, 2000 - 6:50 a.m. ET

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

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, as we've been reporting since yesterday, several lawsuits have been filed by voters in Palm Beach County contending that the ballots format was not legal.

Well, we want to get back to our Emory University professor, who is here today to try to explain some of this for us.

Now, Dr. Allan Abramowitz is with us.

That last man who spoke in that town hall meeting there said he's a Republican. Even this Republican thinks the whole thing stinks. What does the system owe these voters in Palm Beach County?

ALLAN ABRAMOWITZ, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, that's the big question right now. I think personally that a lot of Americans are going to have difficulty accepting the fairness of this election result, unless those voters in Palm Beach County are given an opportunity to vote again to express what their true preferences were in this election. It's pretty clear that a lot of them did not get to do that the first time around.

STOUFFER: And when all of this is done -- said and done, when all of this is added up, do you think Americans will finish this process feeling like a right man was elected?

ABRAMOWITZ: I think regardless of how it comes out right now that a lot of Americans are going to have doubts about the fairness of the outcome. Whichever one is declared the winner, the other candidate's supporters are probably going to feel that the election was unfair, the outcome was not fairly determined. It seems almost inevitable now that there's going to be a lot of that sort of feeling around, and it's going to depend upon the defeated candidate, as well as the winning candidate to take some actions to try to resolve those feelings and try to relieve some of those concerns among the voters.

STOUFFER: And what about those candidates now? Is there a political upshot, if one of them were to say in the coming days, look, it's not worth it, congratulations to you, you won, it's over, you know, I'll try again in 2004?

ABRAMOWITZ: Certainly there's a possibility of that happening, and doing that would definitely make that person look very good in front of the American people, perhaps enhance their prospects in the future. But on the other hand, they would be giving up their chance of winning the presidency this time around, knowing that in four years, they would have to go through this whole process all over again, seeking the nomination, running in the election, you know, going through this thing that they've worked so hard for in the last four years to do. So it would be a great sacrifice to do that, and I don't know if either one is prepared to do that.

STOUFFER: I'm sure your students have had a lot of interesting questions, you have a lot of explaining to deal with this year.

ABRAMOWITZ: Many, many questions.

STOUFFER: Dr. Allan Abramowitz, thank you so much for coming in today.

ABRAMOWITZ: Sure.

STOUFFER: I appreciate it.

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