REFLECTIONS

Posted on June 26, 2012

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Predicting Presidential Winner

A world exists beyond daily coverage of the presidential campaign, which tends to focus the most on what seems to be going wrong or whatever mistake defines the day.

This other world is a very dry, very real place defined only by numbers that reveals some secrets.

But what will be most important in November is who goes out to vote.

We already know the answer to the biggest part of that question because the U.S. Census Bureau has been tracking political participation for years. The campaigns know it too. These numbers are not predictive in the sense they can tell you who is going to win.

But the numbers are predictive in telling you who votes most frequently, which groups are coming on strong, which are fading, how economics helps define political behavior.

Clearly, what was bubbling away in the 2008 election was the young people’s vote for Obama. Young people were increasing their participation significantly for the second presidential election in a row. In 2008, people ages 18 to 24 increased their voting rate by 12 percent, the census study said, over the last two presidential elections. The trend will continue in 2012. Most of these people voted for Obama.

If you are a senior citizen, for example, and your single issue is Social Security, and you have been firmly in the Democratic camp because of that, you are not likely to vote for a Republican. Those receiving Medicare benefits are likely to vote Democratic.

If you are wealthy (particularly now after a couple of years of demonizing from the administration), you are unlikely to be drawn into the Democratic camp.

If you are a conservative Christian and oppose gay marriage, you are most likely going to vote Republican.

If you are Hispanic or Black, you will more than likely vote Democratic, and you will be motivated to vote in this particular presidential election.

Take a look at Missouri this presidential election, many people may be surprised. Missouri is not really a red state. John McCain carried the state by just 3,000 votes. The Democrats could get enough Hispanic and Black votes to push Obama into the winner’s column.

Whoever wins the November presidential election will have a difficult time dealing with Congress because there is no compromise on many issues.

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