Monday, November 08, 2010

Weirdness, Independents and the Midterm Elections

  • Weird Findings From 2010's Exit Poll Data (By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones) And then there are the "independents." The scare quotes are deliberate, because it's hard to know what to make of them. It's a big group and it shifted strongly Republican, which makes them an important factor in the election. But there's more to this.
  • Youth Turnout About 20%, Comparable to Recent Midterm Years (Circle - Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, Tufts University)
  • Time for the Tin Man to Show Some Heart (John Zogby, Forbes/DATA PLACE) As this election showed again, this is not an ideological nation, and there is no such thing as a mandate election for left or right policies. The truly independent voters who decide elections care very little about whether policies or candidates are liberal or conservative.
  • Tea Party Election Results Diluted in Highly Populated States (By Tom Moroney and Terrence Dopp, Bloomberg Businessweek)
  • Avlon: Tea Party Lost the Senate (FRUMFORUM NEWS, John Avlon)
  • In Washington, an Awkward Triangle of Power (By GERALD F. SEIB, Wall Street Journal) Overnight, the most important relationship in town is no longer between the president and his party's congressional leaders, but the uneasy triangle of Mr. Obama, Republican John Boehner, the likely new House Speaker, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
  • Tuesday's results are open to (careful) interpretation (By Dan Balz, Washington Post) Independents didn't just defect from Democrats - they deserted them in droves. If there is one number from all the exit polls that leaps out, it is from Ohio, where independents went for Republican Rob Portman, who won the Senate race, by a staggering 39 percentage points. In the state's gubernatorial election, independents backed winner John Kasich by 16 points. Overall, independents voted Tuesday for Republicans by a margin of 18 points. Two years ago, Democrats won them by eight points.
  • The Nation We Have, Not the Nation We Wish For (Mark Lilla, New York Review of Books blog) But there is still one powerful symbol the Democrats could capture because today’s Republicans explicitly reject it: fairness. “Life isn’t fair” is a refrain you hear constantly from the right. Yet there is a strong sense in the nation today that things are rigged, especially at the top of the economic ladder, and this has only intensified since the bailouts of early 2009. The unwillingness of the Obama administration to engage in economic populism in this intensely populist age, when skepticism of “Wall Street” just keeps rising, is utterly baffling to me. This is the one area where they could get a toehold, if not with the Tea Party hardcore then with the vast numbers of independents who sympathize with it and have floated back to the Republican Party because of it

  • Stop coddling voters (Reno News & Review) There have been four changes in elections in the last few cycles that have undermined democracy in Nevada and created an unsustainable cycle of ignorant voters and legislators, and rich and connected candidates. The four changes were 1) term limits for some elected officials; 2) earlier primaries; 3) early voting, and 4) motor voter. There are other problems. For example, non-partisan, independent voters—the electorate that decides most elections in Nevada—are excluded from the primaries. Many states have open primaries that allow all registered voters to vote, which would allow every party to get better candidates, but that’s a topic for another editorial in about 18 months


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