Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Florida and Ohio

I spent today looking at results and exit polls with my students, and I have some thoughts and questions.

First, in Ohio, Obama seems to have done no better than Kerry (both received 2.7 million votes, give or take), while McCain did significantly worse than Bush (approximately 300,000 votes less this time around). With the gold-plated Obama GOTV effort, how could this be? Does this represent the current Democratic ceiling in Ohio? Does Bush’s 2004 result represent the current Republican ceiling, with McCain’s 2008 result as the floor? If so, Republicans in the Buckeye state ought to take heart. There’s hope that, if all things are equal, the state can return to the GOP column. To be sure, it would require a competent campaign and competent governance. And it require that "nature" reasserts itself against "change," that is, that Pres. Obama can’t deliver on his implicit promises.

Florida is interesting for a different reason. A good chunk of the result there can, it seems, be chalked up to two "facts" (if anything from an exit poll can be called a "fact"). African-Americans were a slightly higher proportion of Florida’s electorate this time (1% larger), and, of course, went overwhelmingly for Obama. (In 2004, GWB won 13% of that vote, which, if memory serves, was 17% of the electorate.) Florida Latinos--especially younger ones--also fell for Obama. Changes in those two groups are pretty much enough to flip the state. I think. Does anyone out there know better?

One last point. Right now, Obama is (barely) outperforming Bush 2004 (64 to 62 million). His numbers will go a bit higher (65 to 67 million may be about right). He will have improved on the 2004 Democratic result by 10-15%. This pales in comparison to Bush’s move from 50 million in 2000 to 62 million in 2004. I’m less impressed than I was prepared to be by the Obama campaign...especially since they spent almost ten times as much as Bush in 2004 or McCain in 2008. I’m only half-joking when I say that the "inefficiency" of the Obama campaign (the cost per vote) is not a harbinger of good things from the Obama Administration.

Discussions - 2 Comments

Ohio's voting rules, this time around, were extremely loose. I worked at a local precinct - not my neighborhood, but one nearby. We had the capability to give provisional ballots to anyone whose residence we questioned. However, despite the fact that we had to see photo ID, if a voter did NOT have photo id, a social security card and a "government document" was enough for a provisional ballot. Our presiding judge was accepting things like car registrations as suitable government documents. If a voter had a photo id indicating a residence other than the one at which he was registered in our poll book, if he could produce a "government document", utility bill, or the postcard the Board of Elections sent out in October, said voter was eligible to vote normally. I argued that those people with photo id from out of our county merely had to register in our county, claiming an address within our county and if it were a valid address, even if not theirs, the post office could deliver it, the voter pick it up, and hand it over with his driver's license, from anyplace at all, and with a little organized effort, he could do that in precinct after precinct or all over the state. I keep thinking I ought to drive down the road where most of those irregularly id'd people said they lived, as it was fairly unpopulated last time I drove it and my impression now is that someone must have built a high-rise apartment building there.

Still, my black students are ecstatic. They are saying extremely foolish things about Obama, which I might have time to write about later, but do not now.


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