Florida Conservative

A Conservative Take on Florida and U.S. Politics

Understanding the Mandate

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Upon assuming the Presidency, Barack Obama was ready to right America’s wrongs.  Not only would he end George W. Bush’s unpopular wars, he would also rescue the economy from collapse, help the poor, and heal the country’s racial divide.  America was ready for a savior and Barack Obama was ready to lead.

Or so we thought.  Unfortunately for America, the President misread his mandate.  Since mandates are provided by voters, it’s important to understand not only who people are voting for but also WHY they’re voting.  We skipped Step #2 four years ago, so let’s take a stab at it with the benefit of hindsight.  Keep in mind that 131,393,990 voters went to the polls in 2008 and President Obama was elected by 69,456,897 of them.  [Author’s Note:  This analysis will be simplistic.  I have no intention of creating an electoral regression model.]

(1) DemocratsThe numbers vary from year to year, but approximately equal numbers of voters identify as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.  Since President Obama is a Democrat, let’s assume he agrees with most Democrats on most issues.  If 33% of Americans were already in his camp from Day 1, that equates to about 43,400,000 votes.

(2) Skin Color – While this is perhaps the worst possible reason to vote for someone, it was a HUGE factor in 2008.  African-Americans tend to vote Democrat, but the chance to “make history” by actually voting for an African-American candidate greatly increased the turnout of both minorities and those wishing to validate their non-racistness (while this may not be a real word, I think it’s pretty appropriate).  Unsurprisingly, the second group was mostly comprised of voters younger than 35 who are more likely to be idealistic.  I estimate that 15,100,000 people voted for skin color based on a rough analysis of recent voting trends and the surge in voter turn-out. 

(3) Not Bush – The single biggest determinant of President Obama’s election was the fact that he was not George W. Bush (demonized for years by the media) nor was he in any way associated with George W. Bush.  Based on my rough estimates, John McCain lost over 6,700,000 votes that went to George W. Bush in 2004.  While this is the smallest number cited (not couting “Other” below), it’s also the number that tipped the scales.  John McCain would have won the popular vote 50.7% to 47.8% if he had maintained these votes.

(4) Other – There’s another 4,250,000 votes not easily accounted for by the groups above.  That’s only 6% of the total, however, so we’ll assume it’s statistical noise and move on.

Moral of the Story:  John McCain won 46% of the popular vote while Barack Obama won the presidency with 53%.  That means barely half of voters chose the current President (which is actually pretty good compared to recent history).  In fact, a random group of 16 people would show that 6 didn’t vote, 5 voted for Obama, and 5 voted for McCain on average.  That’s not a landslide, nor can one really claim a mandate when over 30% of votes come due to skin color or not liking someone else.  With this in mind, it’s really no surprise that unpopular programs like Obamacare resulted in the defeat of huge numbers of Democrats in 2010 and that national polls are currently neck-and-neck.  Romney and Obama are basically fighting over independents who will swing the scales by November.

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Written by floridaconservative

September 4, 2012 at 6:00 PM

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