Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Election Reflections

Just some random thoughts on last night (and this morning):

1. This is a solid win for Bush. Not only did he win by over 3 million votes (Gore only won by 500,000 in 2000), but he did it in the context of very high turnout.

2. Looking over the exit polls, the only significant demographic shifts were among young voters (swing to Kerry), seniors (swing to Bush), and Hispanics (swing to Bush). The latter is probably of the most significance since the GOP has been trying to break into this demographic for decades. They are a growing portion of the population and this give the Republicans the chance to cement their status as the majority party.

3. Related to all of this is the surprising emergence of morals as an important issues. This never showed up in any of the pre-election polls, where the economy, terrorism, and Iraq dominated. I'm sure some of this had to do with the gay marriage amendments on the ballot, along with GOP mobilization of its base. These issues might also explain the shift of older voters to Bush.

4. Looking over the state-by-state swing from 2004, there isn't a clear regional pattern. The average Bush swing in a state was +2.8 percentage points. In the South, the average swing was, +3.23 points, but in the Northeast it was +3.15, essentially the same. In the West, it was +2.5 and in the Midwest it was +2.2. Also, there was only a small difference in the swing between states that went for Gore and those that went for Bush in 2000. In Gore states, the swing was +2.9 and in Bush states it was +2.7.

5. The Republicans did a bang-up job on turnout. In Pennsylvania, I took the votes for Kerry and Bush in each county and then divided them by the number of registered Democrats and registered Republicans, respectively, in that county. On average, Bush's vote was 82% of the registered Republicans, but the Kerry vote was only 68% of the registered Democrats. I haven't compared this to 2000 to see if this year was different, but my sense is that the Republicans just did a better job of getting their people out to the polls.

I'm hoping to have county-level results ASAP, and when I do, I'll share my findings.

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