No. of Recommendations: 4
Quiet on this board. Too quiet. Let's see if we can stir it up.

I saw this post:
>> Democratic Demographics Faced Significantly Longer Voting Lines

AFL-CIO did a study election night about the time spent waiting in line to vote. The results showed significantly longer wait times for those demographics likely to favor Democrats. % of people who waited over 30 minutes:
16% Obama voters
9% Romney voters

9% Whites
22% African American
24% Hispanics
Sure looks like voter suppression attempts to me.<<

I thought, hmmm... seems a strange thesis. But I looked into it a little, with the help of the inimitable Sean Trende (I love the precision in the table on page 2!):

So it seems like you were right, Tamhas. Voter turnout among those who might be considered proportionally R-R voters was down almost 7 MM, resulting in lower overall electorate turnout than 2008. As Mr. Trende notes, this is not because raw numbers are declining. If R-R had matched Senator McCain's turnout in 2008, they would have had a good shot at FL & VA; if they had matched President Bush's turnout in 2004, they arguably would have won overall in a really tight race; if they had matched President Bush's turnout with proportional increases for population growth in their electorate since 2004, they would have won walking away.

Why did so much of the electorate not show up on Election Day? The poli sci types will be busy on this question for a while, but it seems the leading thesis is actually that President Obama's campaign cleverly combined intensive data mining, targeted messaging, and negative advertising to cause this. Specifically, they seemed to find a lot of voters, predominantly white working class voters who - in another age - were called "Reagan Democrats", who were supporters of President Obama's in 2008, but could not support him in 2012, and targeted them with messages that convinced them that Governor Romney was not a suitable candidate to vote for. Thus, they stayed home. Governor Romney's campaign also assisted this outcome with entirely inadequate get-out-the-vote efforts.

This thesis, and the facts in Mr. Trende's article, also nicely agree with the data in the AFL-CIO study you reference.

I will quibble with your use of the term "voter suppression", which is a bit of a loaded phrase. I'd just call it really clever and hard nosed politicking, getting your voters enthusiastic and to the polls, and ensuring your opponent's voters were not quite as enthusiastic.

At any rate, an interesting lesson in electoral detail. Certainly an excellent job by the President's campaign. I'm sure the Republican mechanics are hard at work learning what they can. Elections in the future will be ever more data driven.

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.