In 2004, the exit polls had John Kerry winning independents by 1 and Bush won nationally by 2. In 2008, they had Barack Obama winning independents by 8 and he won by 7. This year Barack Obama won by 3, but Mitt Romney won independents by 5. The speculation is that the exit polls are capturing people previously identified as Republicans in the independent groups.
By designating them independents, instead of Republicans, you're putting them in a different place than they were 4 years ago, making comparisons difficult.
If we take 2% of the independents and assume they vote like Republicans, Romney 93%-6%, we end up with a 38%D/34% electorate and Barack Obama wins independents by 3%, 49%-46%. In a 38%D/35%R breakdown Obama wins independents by 5%.
Why is it better to use this breakdown instead of the exit poll breakdown? When many of us try to figure out who is going to win an election we look at the spread in party breakdown. When Obama wins by only 3% in a D+6 environment it means Republicans have an inherent advantage. Greater turnout doesn't mean a Democratic win.
In 2008, turn-out was D+7. Obama won by 7%. To compare the two elections we need to have both of them designating voters the same way.
Elections have consequences -- from the race for President to the race for one seat on a city council. The political economist Max Weber wrote that the state possesses a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. But in the United States, the state is divided into myriad federal, state, and local entities. And the elections to fill those entities are the products of the fascinating interactions between campaigns, party affiliations, voter turnout, and the media spotlight. Red Racing Horses analyzes those elections -- from a Republican-leaning perspective -- to keep a close eye on the process of electing officials, and to offer our perspective on the election-related issues of the day. Thank you for visiting, and we hope you'll enjoy the blog.
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