Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ok. Arkansas. I'm going to lay out an argument here (and I may be absolutely wrong, but I don't think I am) for why I believe that there's a really good chance that Arkansas will actually end up going for Obama, probably even to the surprise of Obama. At any rate, even if that doesn't happen, I still think it will end up being much closer than most people think.

First, you need to look at the total numbers of votes during the Primaries. Let's assume that those who cared enough to vote in the Primaries are 'likely voters' as it were, since they already have proved that they come out to vote. When you take the total of the votes for the top 3 Democratic candidates you get 303,932. When you take the total of the votes for the top 3 Republican candidates you get 203,991. You can see that Democratic voters outvoted Republicans by roughly 100,000 votes.

Next, take into account that roughly 88,000 new voters have been registered in Arkansas this year. I highly doubt that it's even, but assume that it is.

Assume that everyone who was partisan enough to vote for a Democratic candidate will vote Democrat. Assume the same for Republicans. If Sarah Palin were not the VP candidate for the Repubs I might entertain the notion that some Hillary Dems would go GOP, but that is looking very unlikely right now. Assume, for the sake of argument, that those who voted GOP will stay that way. Assume that 50% of the new voters go Dem, 50% GOP. That gives us a total of 247,991 Republican votes, and 347,932 Democrat votes. I think it's much more likely though that a large majority of those new voters will go for Obama, since Democrats have posted record numbers of registrations in Arkansas, and the number of registered Republicans is actually shrinking.

Of course, the real question is how many of the 1.57 million registered voters in Arkansas, most of whom are unaffiliated, will go. Well, the polls tell one story (the last one seems to have been in September, with McCain showing a 9 point lead over Obama), but the voting record for 2006 tells another story. The Governor is a Democrat. Most state office holders are Democrats. In short, Arkansas is turning Blue.

At any rate, we'll see how it goes soon. And I'm sure it will be interesting to watch.


Anonymous allen said...

Well sadly I know 2 Hilary dems who are voting for McCain. Racism plays a part in their decision (I know this for a fact). and sadly it plays a part in this election. Obviously your math is pretty solid and I hope you are right (and am helping do what i can to make that come true) but I am saying that racial tensions are sadly the wildcard in this election.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Wildcard. Perfect word really. More so for this election than any other in recent memory, I would say.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Arkansas has always been very Democratic locally, while still going Republican nationally. Other than Carter in 76, Clinton in 92 and 96, and Wallace in 68 (huh?!), the state has been reliably red, and if Clinton weren't from here he might not have done as well as he did. The real aberration was the GOP executive branch in the late 90s and early 2000s.

Outside the cities, Arkansans are generally deeply conservative, but they're what I call Hereditary Democrats: "I'm a Democrat because my daddy was a Democrat because my grandaddy was a Democrat because my great grandaddy was a Democrat...because of what those damn carpetbaggin' yankee Republicans did to us after the War!"

The state could well vote Democratic this year, but it'll almost certainly be due to broader electoral trends than because of a ideological shift.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous allen said...

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – In response to the 10th annual Arkansas Poll, a strong majority of Arkansans ranked the economy as the most important problem facing Arkansas. Although this finding lines up with national polling results – results that appear to give Sen. Barack Obama the edge in the presidential race – voters in Arkansas prefer Sen. John McCain to Obama, 49 percent to 36 percent.
“While the economic slowdown is serving as an engine of sorts for the Obama campaign nationally, Arkansas voters – even Democrats – do not conform to this pattern,” said Janine Parry, the poll’s director and a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas...When voter preferences for president are narrowed to registered voters only, support for McCain rises to 51 percent while remaining at 36 percent for Obama. By congressional district, support for Obama varies between 35 and 38 percent. The 4th Congressional District in southern Arkansas shows the strongest support for McCain at 53 percent, while 46 percent of voters support McCain in the 1st Congressional District in northeast Arkansas...Among those who identify themselves as Republicans, 90 percent support McCain. Obama is supported by 67 percent of Democrats, with 16 percent of Democrats not reporting whom they plan to support. In comparison, exit polls in the 2004 presidential election showed that 82 percent of Democrats supported John Kerry. Independents, who are nearly a third of the Arkansas electorate, are breaking for McCain, 53 to 30 percent.
“The comparatively low enthusiasm among Arkansas Democrats for Obama’s candidacy is probably a consequence of several factors,” said Pearl Ford, Parry’s colleague in political science and a collaborator on this year’s poll. “The fact that Clinton earned her strongest support here has to play a significant role. Many rural white voters in particular seem to be having a hard time connecting with Obama. That’s certainly working to McCain’s advantage.”

from The Arkansas Poll

8:43 AM  
Anonymous allen said...

on and from that same poll, why your math actually doesn't work:

"Hillary Clinton had a strong base of support in Arkansas, with 54 percent reporting they would have voted for her for president. Of those voters, 57 percent are backing Obama, with 26 percent going for McCain. That leaves 17 percent who are still undecided or declined to specify"

8:46 AM  
Blogger Peter said...


11:05 PM  

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