Monday, August 4, 2008

Nonexistent trend alert

The Denver Post is doing a series on the "swing counties" of Colorado. These are the places that will allegedly determine how the state votes in November. (I don't know why that would be the case. It's not like counties have some sort of electoral college system. But whatever.) One of the profiled counties is Garfield County, located on the western slope and home to crunchy Carbondale and conservative Parachute.

The basic thrust of the article is that the county is traditionally somewhat conservative, but there is an increasing number of independent voters in the area who seem to be leaning left lately. As the reporter, Nancy Lofholm, observes:
Forty-two percent of Garfield County voters are unaffiliated, and that category has been steadily growing. Even double-digit, real estate-squeezing and traffic-snarling growth hasn't been a boon to the major political parties. A decade ago, the county had 8,470 Republicans. It now has 9,634. Democrats had 6,565 and currently have 7,153.
It's rare that an article contains visual evidence undercutting its text, but here it is (at left.) It suggests that there was some growth in the number of unaffiliateds in the 1990s, but that number has been stable over the last decade. Actually, the numbers have been pretty stable for all party affiliations over the past decade, although more people register as voters during presidential elections. But I really don't see anything to support the claim that the percent of independents has been "steadily growing."

What is interesting, although unreported, is that the county grew by 18.5 percent between 2000 and 2006 without any appreciable increase in the number of registered voters. Who are these new residents? Children? Non-citizens? That might make for an interesting county profile, and it could actually be backed up by data.

1 comment:

ari said...

Stickler. Just enjoy the pretty pictures and keep quiet, okay?