Q: Where is approximately 380,000 votes "the narrowest of leads" in an election?
A: In the New York Times, but only when the leftist candidate is trailing.
From James C. McKinley Jr. and Ginger Thompson's dispatch on the Mexican presidential race (emphasis added):
MEXICO CITY, July 4 — The Mexican electoral crisis deepened Tuesday, as the leftist candidate demanded a vote-by-vote recount and election officials acknowledged that up to three million votes had not been tallied in the preliminary results.
The ballots counted so far showed the conservative, Felipe Calderón, with the narrowest of leads, fewer than 400,000 votes, over his leftist opponent, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
(Using the NYT's arithmetic, then, Richard Nixon, who officially lost the 1960 U.S. presidential election by roughly 113,000 votes, actually defeated John F. Kennedy.)
The Times wasn't the first major newspaper to minimize Calderon's margin over AMLO. As Tim Graham pointed out yesterday, the Tuesday Washington Post described the preliminary result as a "near tie."
The NYT story also noted:
Mr. López Obrador's challenge made it clear that this country was about to live through its own version of the drawn-out legal battle that Americans experienced in the 2000 presidential race. Mexico's dispute, however, instead of being focused on one state, could be nationwide.
That possibility is, in principle, an argument in favor of the U.S.'s keeping its Electoral College for presidential elections. Editorially, however, the NYT favors junking the College, calling it an "antidemocratic relic."