Basic Post 2012 Election Questions: Numbers

Pic of the day: The March to Valley Forge, by William B.T. Trego


I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

Robert A. Heinlein, This I Believe (1952)


I have questions.

I get that the Republicans are pissed off that they didn’t get the voter turnout that they wanted or were expecting.  Much of the talk from Republicans showing disappointment in losing to President Obama is about them getting 2 and a half million votes less in this election cycle than McCain got last time, 2008 was supposed to be a low ebb for the Republicans.  Admitted that it sucks for them, a dwindling base of voters can’t feel good.  But, despite that, the amount of votes the Republicans lost by actually shrank. Which means they aren’t the only ones who should be unhappy with the amount of voters who showed up at the polls.

Wait… What?

The incumbent Democratic President got something like 9 million fewer votes this time than in 2008.

Where did those votes go?

I am certain that there is definitely something to blaming tighter voter registration rules; and lessening of early voting I am certain had its effect. But it looks funny to me.  And not haha funny, but bizarre funny. Because those states are not the states where the votes seem to have simply gone away.

Florida got about as many votes this time as last time.  Ohio lost about 5% of their vote, but the vote wasn’t 100% counted either, so that number may yet rise to where it was 4 years ago.

I have been looking at the numbers closely and there were states where there were no changes in voter rules whatsoever, that still had a decidedly lower voter turnout this time around than in 2008.  For example, the numbers that I can see show me that California had almost 4,000,000 fewer voters and Washington state had nearly 800,000 fewer voters this time around than last time, and almost 1,500,000 fewer people in New York voted in 2012 than in 2008.

Now it isn’t like that everywhere, but it is kind of curious that states that were not battleground states but are states that are nevertheless powerful electorally lost votes, and millions of them.

I cannot tell 100% why this happened, but what I do know is that it looks to me that it isn’t anything to do with any kind of meddling with the election process.  It may well be voter ambivalence.

Why do you say that, Mike?

The states where this happened (and I should say where I looked as I have not done a state by state comparison of all 50 states {yet}) are all states that were pretty much known quantities without major polarizing races.

Where there was a non polarized electorate, there was a much lower turnout, and it affected both parties negatively in those states.  Because …  I’ll put it to you like this;  Had the Republicans gotten the votes they got in 2008 in these aforementioned states this time around, it would have put both Washington and California in play and made calling both of those states much more difficult.  New York, not so much, but in all 3 cases it would have given hope to Mitt Romney where he had none before.

And I am sure that there are Republican operatives out there who are running this data through their heads and preparing for the next battle in 2014 and 2016 with those numbers  and concepts in mind.

And what are they telling themselves about that data?

One can only guess.

But if I were them, I’d be thinking  we can win, but not by exciting the electorate, but by placating them, and lulling them to sleep.  By replacing passionate anger with reasoned responses.  By taking the wind out of the Democrats sails by taking away from them anything to fire up their base with.

They won’t do it of course.

Why not?

The anger in their discourse, the volatility in their hearts will not be extinguished by anything.  They are human, they feel pushed by events, and when they are pushed, like all people, they will resist and push back. I’ve seen stories online about how deep some of them have fallen for their own rhetoric.  They actually believed that the polls were wrong.  They believed that Romney would win and win big.  They believe they are the last bastion of liberty in the world, and that anyone who believes differently in an enemy of freedom.  How could they possibly back off of that precipice without admitting they were wrong, the one thing they seem unwilling or unable to do?

Watch and see if I’m right or wrong.


A more detailed breakdown at a later date.


That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

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