Tuesday, December 02, 2008


There's a certain type of sports fan who not only wants to know who won and by how much, but also has to see a half page of statistics ("stats") to get a good idea ofwhy the game went the way it did. Naturally, each sport has different measures to fit this description.
Politics is somewhat similar. The only real measure of winning is, of course, getting more votes. But election analysts try to measure voting trends among different types of people in order to guess what went right or wrong in the campaign. Before the election, these stats come from polls. After Election Day, it's "exit poll data" - things people who have already voted are willing to tell you about why they voted the way they did.
We're getting those stats now from Obama vs. McCain. White males over 30 turns out to be the group strongest for McCain, at 57 to 41 percent. As one might guess, this group's overall importance has diminished over the years, and now represents just 28% of all voters.
And one might also guess (correctly) that Senator McCain didn't do as well among other voting groups. Voters UNDER 30, for instance, went for Obama by 66 to 32 percent, not a good sign for the GOP future, since no poll back to 1972 shows such a discrepancy between two major party candidates. Younger voters this time also tended to be more racially diverse and female than in previous elections. Of course, over time, young voters get older, which frequently means they become more conservative, but that has yet to happen. Obama, to no one's surprise carried the black vote by an enormous 19-to-1 margin, though it should be pointed out that other Democratic candidates in recent elections have done almost as well. Young Hispanics, perhaps due to GOP opposition to immigration reform, went almost 4-to-1 for Obama (two-to-one for all Hispanics), while Asian American voters went 3-to-2 in the same direction.
Democrats count on a heavy female majority, but that had dwindled some since Clinton (16%), down to 3% for Kerry. Obama got it back to 13%. And women now comprise 53% of all voters, another long-term challenge for Republicans.
I personally don't doubt that the Republican Party will yet have many good days. But I have to wonder if it once again will be on the backs of old white guys. That old hose may no longer beable to get the job done. The question of "Where do we go for more votes?" is the question being asked among the well-healed analysts out there. They know they've got to pay close attention to the stats.


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