Thursday, November 04, 2004

More on the election numbers

I'm a numbers geek, so this kind of stuff is right up my alley. Just ask the guys in my Fantasy Football League how incredibly creative (or overboard, as the case may be) I can get when it comes to number-crunching.

For starters, let's call a spade a spade: Bush will get the electorals from Iowa (with 100% of the precincts reporting, he has a 13,000 vote lead on Kerry), giving him 286. Which means that Ohio really was the entire ball of wax for him. As I posted earlier, I'm disappointed that he couldn't get another 4 votes somewhere else (New Hampshire? Hawaii? Or even more through one of the other midwestern states)--but the W is still good enough for me.

Item #2: About that Ohio vote. Who'd have ever thought that the closest state to be brought into a possible challenge this year would have had almost 122,000 votes separating the major party candidates? Thank goodness--it helped make this election season a more appropriate length. And if that 122K sounds funny to you, it should. Because that is NOT the margin between Kerry and Bush in Ohio--122,000 is the margin between Kerry and Bush in PENNSYLVANIA! Remember PA? It was called by all the major networks within 2 hours after the polls closed there, and indeed the early numbers made it look like Kerry was en route to a huge victory. Funny how the contest for this major state ended up closer than Ohio (by about 15,000 votes) without ever re-emerging onto the radar of the major news outlets. And I just have to wonder how PA would have turned out if it wasn't called so early (I'm sure there were still voters in line when it was called) and if the Democrat governor hadn't been so partisan with regards to the treatment of the absentee ballots. But I guess we'll never know.

Item #3: total voters. The traditional wisdom went that if the popular vote ended up below 115 million people, that would favor Bush; if it pushed up towards--or even past--120 million, that would be beneficial to Kerry. Final total: about 115 million (about a 10% increase over the 2000 Presidential election). a) Those are some darn wise traditionalists!; and b) Bush collected over 9 million more votes this year than he did in 2000, as compared to Kerry getting less than 5 million more votes than Gore did that year. Either the new voters (supposedly 1 in 7 voters was a first-timer) DIDN'T break for Kerry as forecast OR Bush pulled an EXTRAORDINARY amount of voters away from the Democratic candidate (somewhere on the order of 8 million net votes). I don't think that Kerry could hemorrhage Gore supporters to that degree--so I just can't buy into the theory that new voters overwhelmingly supported the Dem ticket.

(here's the math I used: IF 1 in 7 voters was "new", then approx. 16.5 million votes were cast from this group. IF that group broke 60-40 for Kerry, then Kerry got 10M votes from this group and Bush got 6.5M. Subtract those totals from the popular vote totals of this year, and Bush is left with 52.5M votes from non-new voters; Kerry has 45.5M. In 2000, Bush got 50M votes, the Democrat ticket got 51M. Comparing the 2000 numbers with the non-new 2004 voter numbers, Bush gained 2.5M votes and Kerry (actually, the Dem ticket) lost 5.5M--or a net gain of 8 million in the non-new voter category for Bush.)

Item #4: the youthful vote played to Kerry's favor. I think this is where the "scare" politics and the politics of "promise" pay off for candidates. The young among us are more likely to believe the stories divined to create fear among the masses--especially if those stories are told on medium that are easily absorbed by the age group (like, say, movies). Also, the vacuous promises that were part of Kerry's ill-defined "plans" spoke to the ideals of the youthful without being challenged by the wisdom that for some only comes with age. All told, it wasn't a horrible plan by the Dems to exploit this age group--fortunately, however, it didn't work.


Blogger Michael said...

Sadly for Kerry, these same young voters have an amazingly acute "poser" radar. And if there's one thing they can't stand, it's a monumentally inauthentic person. . .

like John F. Kerry.

Trust me--being in front of this age group every day, they smell a fake pretty quick.

By the way, nice crunching. I had no idea about the whole Pennsylvania connection. I wonder if there's any way (and wouldn't this be hysterical) that when those absentee ballots come in, PA ends up in Bush's column. What's the military presence like in PA.

Safe trip home.

12:03 AM  

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