Tuesday, November 09, 2010

MYTHBUSTING: Election data

"You mean all that time I’ve spent watching Keith Olbermann hasn’t taught me any real facts????"

The horror
So the election is over and people are discussing what it means and making predictions about what may happen next. The general theme of the left is that Republicans are obstructive and refuse to compromise (defined as "do whatever they're told by the left"). The right is arguing about who's to blame for the races which were lost and blaming everyone but the voters.

There were two stories, however, which stood out to me.

The first is from the Washington Examiner by David Freddoso. I have written previously about how the Democratic Party talking point about big money from corporations helping Republicans was actually less than honest, since Democrats got far more money in donations and spent far more money on the election. Freddoso goes even further, breaking down spending from big business donors by party:
And on and on he goes, from HMOs to Hospitals to Lobbyists, all gave more to Democrats than Republicans. There were a few who gave more to Republicans than Democrats, such as farmers and doctors. The entire "corporations bought the election for Republicans" talking point is simply false.

The second story is about demographics from a New Republic article by William Galston (courtesy Just One Minute Typepad where I saw it). He runs down a few stats which help tell the tale of this last election:
  • In the midterm election of 2006, Democrats received 52.0 percent of the popular vote cast for House candidates, while Republicans received 45.6 percent. This year, projections indicate that the Republicans will end up with 51.8 percent, versus 45.1 percent for the Democrats—in short, a Republican gain of 6.2 percent and a Democratic loss of 6.9 percent since 2006.
  • According to the 2006 exit poll, those who voted were 38 percent Democratic, 36 percent Republican, and 28 percent Independent. This year the split was very similar—36/36/28—which accounts for only a small portion of the popular vote shift.
  • 93 percent of Democrats voted for Democratic candidates in 2006; 92 percent in 2010. And by the way, 91 percent of Republicans for voted candidates of their own party in 2006, and 95 percent in 2010.
  • Voters of ages 18-29 constituted 12 percent of the electorate in 2006; 11 percent in 2010. Voters over 65 were 19 percent of the total in 2006; 23 percent in 2010—noticeable but hardly decisive.
  • If 65 and overs had constituted the same share of the electorate in 2010 as in 2006, the Republicans’ share would have declined by only .7 percent—about one-tenth of their actual gains.
The crux of Galston's article is this:
In 2006, Democrats received 57 percent of the Independent vote, versus only 39 percent for Republicans. In 2010 this margin was reversed: 55 percent Republican, 39 percent Democratic. If Independents had split their vote between the parties this year the way they did in 2006, the Republicans share would have been 4.7 percent lower—a huge difference.
All those other demographics: party swing, age, etc were pretty minor in their changes, but the big difference was independents abandoning the Democratic Party in droves. It was Democratic Party radical leftist activism that upset and dismayed voters, and drove independents to the other side, not age, not racism, not lack of turnout or big time turnout by the other party. Same as in 2006 and 2008 with Republicans.

Basically what we're being fed by the media and various pundits is garbage. The 2010 election wasn't bought by corporations, they largely spent their money on the losing side. The 2010 election wasn't a loss of the youth vote (just like it wasn't won in 2008 by the youth vote). It was a matter of people hot strongly affiliated with one party or the other being annoyed by the party in power, again.

Republicans want people to think they were loved and have a mandate, but the only mandate they were given is "stop the Democrats from being so insane." The Democrats want people to think the election was destroyed by corporate spending which the evil conservative Supreme Court allowed. But it wasn't, corporations spent more on Democrats and they lost.

Basically when you dig a little deeper you find the truth isn't as sexy as people want it to be.

A third story I can't help but comment on; several right leaning blogs have touted a stat in which more gays voted Republican this election than ever before. They consider this a great advance to the cause to which I say this: Republican does not equal conservative, and who cares what a tiny minority like gays in America do? How many bulimic left-handed World of Warcraft players voted GOP this time?

Seriously, why do people pay so much attention to gays? They make up about 2% of the population and get about 60% of the attention, what on earth would compel anyone to even care that much?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

It is just like you and I have talked about before. The media has it totally wrong. It is about voting for the other but when the other is just s slightly different version of the party in power nothing really seems to change.