I misread the election

November 03, 2004

Well, I got this one wrong.

Tuesday my students at Urban Research University spent most of class talking about the election. They asked me for my prediction and I gave it:
1, if Badnarik outpolls Nader then Kerry wins
2, PA for Kerry, OH close for Kerry, FL too close to call.
3, Kerry wins, 280-odd electoral votes

I over-estimated Republican dislike for Bush and Libertarian pull for Badnarik. This, I think, is because I did a poor job of compensating for the way that libertarians dominate my blogroll and the internet punditry.

For the other points, the big mistake that I think I made was that I forgot about conservative evangelicals in 2000 as I was using the 2000 polls to interpret the 2004 polls. In 2000, remember, about 4 million conservative evangelicals who had been expected to vote Bush stayed home instead, probably because of the late revelations about Bush's DWI arrest in the 1970s. In 2004, by contrast, not only had they gotten over it but they had gotten downright mobilized. The 2004 Republican Party really has replaced communists with gays, really has organized it as a party "against" and really has used that to define morality in narrowly sexual terms and then get people to vote based on them. The gay-bashing state initiatives all passed by large

The anti-gay bias of the Republicans seems to have given them a lot of voter turnout - they found something to make people mad enough to vote against. NPR reported yesterday afternoon that some 20% of their exit polls had people stating that "morality" was the most important issue in the election - more than the war, or the economy, or anything. The Republican Party has managed to redefine the word morality to refer to : not truth-telling, not concern for others, not accountability, but a simple worry about who is having sex with whom. I do not grok that definition of morality, but there you have it.

So, I got Republican turnout wrong. I hope Kerry pulls it out in Ohio, but I doubt that the Democrats will be able to find the votes. I am also ignoring all the Republicans claiming victory - that is what they did in Florida in order to sabatoge the recount 4 years ago.

Still, first impressions are that the Ohio vote this year was far cleaner than the Florida vote in 2000, even though there are a LOT of stories about Republicans engaging in voter suppression efforts there.

Posted by Red Ted at November 3, 2004 08:19 AM | TrackBack