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Last October, just prior to the presidential election, I made some predictions regarding the demographics of the voting public. More recently, I attended a presentation given by a statistician who waded through the election data in our area. Ultimately, I learned my predictions were correct, but in the process I also discovered several other factors I hadn't considered.
According to the statistician, the president may have narrowly won Florida, but Republicans made some in-roads when you study the numbers. For example, more Republicans voted than Democrats in Pinellas County. This was in sharp contrast to 2008 where Democrats turned out in force. Not surprising, older people favored Romney, particularly white men. In contrast, younger people favored Obama, particularly women. Aside from the political parties, it was independent voters who carried the day for Obama; 61.4% to 32.28%. Translation: Republicans may have been successful in rallying the party faithful, but did a lousy job selling their message to people outside of their party. One factor the local GOP organizers had to contend with was a liberal media, including the local "Tampa Bay Times."
Not surprising, southeastern Florida ultimately turned the tide for Obama, predominantly the Latino vote. This means Romney was unable to appeal to such voters, despite the popularity of Senator Rubio from that area. Perhaps if Rubio had been on the ticket as vice president, it might have been another story.
As for me, the most illuminating facts presented by the statistician regarded how votes were cast. There were three variables studied: absentee ballots, early voting, and voting at precincts on election day. Surprisingly, more ballots were cast by absentee as opposed to the other two. Whereas more Democratic voters submitted absentee ballots, more Republicans voted at their precincts on election day, and relatively few voted early. The Republicans may have won at the precincts, but lost simply because the Democrats made a concerted effort to have people vote by absentee ballot.
Plain and simply, the Obama organization ran a better campaign than the Romney team. One of their secrets was the Obama "app" which was used to monitor and track voter interests, thereby giving them the means to determine the hot buttons of the public with a high degree of precision. The Republicans simply had no such "app" and campaigned using older methods.
According to the statistics, I discovered the Florida race was a lot closer than I had heard through the media. True, the president won, but certainly not by a landslide. In fact, the difference was razor thin. Are the Republicans devastated by the defeat? Hardly. If anything, they learned a painful lesson about the tactics required for the next campaign in 2014.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.