Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Demographics, Statistics, and Signs of Hope

Obviously, I disagree with the choice that 51% of Americans made last night, but in that choice, there are many aspects that I think are good things... perhaps great things.

The first point, is that although the democrats are already trying to spin this as a huge numeric victory, it is not. Though the electoral college totals are approximately 2 to 1 Obama, that is because of the math of the swing states in the electoral college. There are 8 states where Obamas margin of victory is 3% or under. A 1.5% swing one way or the other, and the results would be quite different.

I reported earlier this week that I believed the 10% support advantage polls showed for Obama was drastically inflated, and that any state within six percent would break for McCain.

It turns out I was half right. The real number was 3% not 10%. I thought that those six point states would swing all six points when it came down to actual voting. Instead they swung 3 or 4 points.

The polls however were very clearly wrong. The exit polls over indicated Obamas support by as much as 10% in some states. This is I think a long term problem that we need to address.

Now as to demographics, they interest me (of course they are also based on the flawed polling data, but the numbers are so large as to be at least indicitive).

McCain won about 60% of whites overall. This is a larger margin than expected. He won both white men, and white women, by a significant margin. It was expected that he would lose white women (and when race is taken out of the equation, McCain lost all women 45-55).

I don't want to speculate as to why here; I'll leave that to others. I'm sure they will do so, with great vitriol.

Obama won 95% of blacks, and this election featured the largest turnout of blacks in history. I think that's a great thing. I hope that a non-black candidate would have the same result.

Obama won 60% of hispanics, a suprising achievement; and more hispanics voted in this election than any other election in american history. Again I think this is great.

Obama won 70% of people under 30 and 70% of first time voters. More people under 30 voted in this election than ever before in American history. First time voters made up a larger percentage of the electorate than any other election in American history.

Collectively the four groups I mentioned, usually make up less than 10% of actual voters. This election they made up about 30% of voters, and that is absolutely INCREDIBLE.

Although all the votes have not yet been counted, if the polls are even close to right, more Americans voted in our election than have ever voted before.

That is even more incredible. We have recently been a country where 40% participation has been considered "good"; and yesterday, we had perhaps 60% of the eligible voting populace do so. I won't be happy until we get to over 80%, but I'm heartened.

In fact, I am heartened by all of this. I am given hope.

143 years ago, a black man in this country could not vote. 43 years ago, a black man in Mississippi may have even been killed for trying to. Next January, a black man is going to be president.

The cynic in me says that a fair portion of the reason his is president is because he IS black... but the idealist in me hopes this truly says that race is no longer relevant... or that at least we are walking down that road.

I hope these amazing changes continue, and grow. I hope that those people become fully engaged, and educate themselves, and perhaps commit themselves to liberty as they do.

I fear they will not, but I hope.