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USA TODAY reporter speaks to Flagler students

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Ray Locker

Ray Locker, the Washington enterprise editor for USA Today, will speak at Flagler College on Nov. 15 as part of the 2012 Forums on Government and Public Policy lecture series.

Nov. 15, 2012

After a presidential election that saw political polling play a huge part in the process, Ray Locker, the Washington enterprise editor for USA TODAY, told a group of Flagler students Thursday that the way polls are conducted may never be the same.

“The Romney campaign was stunned because they continued to do what they thought was right even that it was actually very wrong,” said Locker, who will speak at a public forum at 7 p.m. Nov. 15. “In the end they were relying on bad information.”

Locker, who is visiting Flagler College as part of the 2012 Forums on Government and Public Policy lecture series, blames antiquated polling techniques and skewed demographics for inaccurate polls.

“Many of these pollsters only called homes with a landline and called no cell phones,” he explained. “In this day and age, that is no way to get an accurate idea of what you’re looking for.”

Locker believes the future will hold more techniques such as the Get Out the Vote campaigns used by the Obama administration to get a better feel for what’s happening in the country.

“If you look at where President Obama and Mitt Romney and where they spent their time leading up to the election, Obama was in states he needed to be in, Romney was in places like Pennsylvania where realistically, he had no chance to win,” said Locker. “It really comes down to effective polling and effective research.”

As the Washington enterprise editor for USA TODAY, Locker supervises the investigative work in the organization’s Washington bureau. He has been the paper’s White House and politics editor and national security editor in the seven years since joining USA TODAY in 2005. His work as an editor and reporter was nominated for Pulitzer Prizes in 2008 and 2010.

Before joining USA TODAY, Locker ran the Associated Press bureau in Sacramento and coordinated the news service’s coverage of California government and politics, including the 2003 recall campaign that led to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He worked for the Los Angeles Times and spent 13 years as a reporter, columnist and editor at The Tampa Tribune.

All forums take place at Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., at 7 p.m. Forums are free and open to the public thanks to the generosity of speakers who donate their time in support of the series. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign language interpreters are provided. Call (904) 819-6400 for more information.


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