Friday, October 24, 2008

A silver lining for McCain?

Sunshine Hillygus recently came to visit my school and gave some wonderful lectures on the 2008 election. She suggested a few things that, while hardly suggesting an impending McCain victory, do give Obama supporters reason to be cautious in their optimism. Among her points:
  • The enthusiasm gap is a double-edged sword. Yes, Obama supporters are far more enthusiastic than McCain supporters. That might give them a turnout advantage, but it also means that Obama supporters are more likely to respond to surveys than McCain supporters. So Obama supporters could be over-represented in most of the polls.
  • The independents include a lot of former Republicans. There's been a sharp decline in the number of self-identified Republicans in recent years. That doesn't mean they've become Democrats. More likely, they're conservatives who are disillusioned with the Bush administration and are now calling themselves independents. With Bush off the ticket, these conservatives are likely to come home to the Republican Party.
  • Obama's biggest supporters are still those who don't turn out to vote as much. Younger voters, poorer voters, and African Americans just don't turn out to vote as much as older, wealthier whites.
All these things may be true, although there are still a number of reasons why polls may be understating Obama's true support levels (i.e.: the pollsters are missing cell phone users and lots of first time voters, etc.). I tend to think that these things will balance out and the election results will closely mirror the polls. But her points are well taken.

1 comment:

Kerry said...

I am hoping that Obama's supporters really WILL turn out in big numbers this time...every person's vote really does count. Right?