Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

It's Not Just That Bush Doubled Support Among Blacks  | e-mail post

You may have seen the national opinion poll results from the Joint Center For Political and Economic Studies that is saying that Bush has increased his support among black voters from 9% to 18% since 2000, while John Kerry is trailing Gore's number by 5 points (69% versus 74%), but if you go look at the poll results (which are broken down very well), you will see some very interesting facts, especially if you start looking at some other numbers.

But where it gets interesting is looking at some of the key breakdowns:
Assuming voter turnout among blacks is in line with general voter turnout, these are huge numbers, as this group would be voting at much higher levels than the 18-25 and 26-35 groups, which have "only" doubled their support for Bush. Interestingly, and worth exploring, is that the 36-50 age group has shown the least increase in support, (14% to 16%) but that was also the most Bush-friendly group in 2000.

When you combine this with the Joint Center's own studies showing that blacks actually voted for Bush in higher numbers than their polling predicted in 2000, it's very good news on the Republican front. [PDF]

Just to get people thinking: the black vote in Florida was 610,616 in 2000. Bush is estimated to have picked up 7% of that vote. A doubling of Bush support in that group would have switched 42,743 people from Gore to Bush, giving him a victory of something closer to 86,000 votes in that state rather than 500-odd.

Now, black support for Bush in the South is the weakest (about 14% versus 21%-24% in other regions), although it can at times be debated whether to really assess Florida as strictly Southern. However, even there, polled support raised from 9% to 14%. Doing the very rough math still would have Bush gaining 21,371 votes at the Democratic candidate's expense, for a comparative gain of 42,742. Ouch, say the Democrats.

It just goes to show that the Democrats' strategy of taking certain constituencies for granted doesn't always work out.

UPDATE: After shooting Jay Cost an e-mail asking if he had looked into the numbers at all, he shot me back a note saying he was working on a "significant post" on the subject, and as always, he doesn't disappoint. I need to ask him where his turnout numbers are coming from, as he has Gore getting a larger net vote advantage in Florida than I had total votes cast by blacks in Florida.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Tuesday, October 19, 2004
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