03Nov04 — 10 Small Hours; Small Errors Sorry if any of the previous entries are glitchy. I am knackered. Do you know what time it is? Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailReddit Related Unfreeing Markets Result
I hear the sky has fallen in America. Say it ain’t so.
I’m afraid that I cannot confirm or refute that assessment until all the votes have been counted.
Was that a provisional comment? I had to stand in line for three hours to post that comment.
The mood is somber here in D.C. National Public Radio reports polls that show that although Iraq was rated most important by voters in the Northeast and California, in the crucial Midwest states, voters rated “moral values” the most important issue, above Iraq, Terror, and the economy. Of voters that rated “moral values” the most important issue, 80 percent chose Bush. So the bleak reality is that as the unions fade as an organizing force, the Evangelicals are thriving. They are the sworn enemies of modernism, secularism, and humanism. And their members came out in droves for Bush.
The pollsters who are suggesting the election turned on the issue of “moral values” are precisely the ones who called the election for Kerry earlier yesterday — same polls, same sample set, same problems. You might want to keep that in mind.
Fact is, most of America doesn’t see Iraq as quite the problem everyone else seems to. Has it gone off without a hitch? Of course not. Is it a horrible quagmire? Not by a country mile.
The vets killed Kerry in this election. They voted against him in droves. Who would have thought a public, treasonous, back-stabbing statement in front of the Senate would be remembered 30 years later by the men he falsely charged?
Bush may suck, but that’s no reason to give a man like Kerry the job. You’ve got to come to the table with more than that.
Claire – that doesn’t work. The exit polls were wrong by around 4%, which made them useless in predicting swing states. However, the same (or even a much greater) error applied to the motivation question doesn’t change the conclusion. Even if it’s actually 70% or 90% of people who vote on ‘moral values’ who chose Bush, that’s still an enormous divide.
Hi John B., yes, you’re absolutely right, but there are a lot of other polling problems associated with asking open-ended questions such as “What was the biggest issue for you in this election?” (I don’t know how the questions were phrased precisely, and haven’t been able to find a news site that explains this in depth. I would be very curious to know, and if you do, please tell me.) These kinds of surveys notoriously give weird and misleading results for quite a number of reasons — responses are highly variable depending on the phrasing of the question; people are reluctant to speak candidly to pollsters, etc. A question such as “Who did you vote for” is simple, and probably admits to a smallish margin of error. “What was most important to you in this election,” or a question similarly phrased, is less simple. Also, the phrase “moral values,” while being widely interpreted by the press as code for “no ass-fucking in my state,” strikes me as quite plausibly representing quite a number of other sentiments: I would not be surprised if a more in-depth interview of respondents revealed that many who answered in this fashion were swayed by the argument that Kerry held no deep and committed moral principles in a broader sense — quite possibly comprising the view that he was not steadfast in matters of foreign policy. So while I don’t argue that people who answered in this fashion are *necessarily* more concerned with Iraq, terrorism or the economy than conventional wisdom holds, I would argue that nothing in what I’ve read so far *necessarily* suggests that they are not, and good reason to question what strikes me as an overly-facile response from a punditry that has of late distinguished itself with an unerring instinct for overly-facile analysis.
Claire makes a lot of good points. We’ve all seen multiple-choice questions about complex issues that permit of no reasonable response.
Two things have shaken people here. One is that Rove pushed a hard right wing domestic agenda since 2000, reportedly haunted by findings that 5 million Evangelicals didn’t vote that year. Many of us hoped his push to the right would backfire by stimulating the opposition. But now he has carried it off as planned. We got enormous numbers to the polls, but he got more. It seems he had more to get. We have no comparable organization waiting to be mobilized. The other is that “values” has become such a loaded word, the way “crime” used to be. Claire’s right that “values” could mean a lot of things (who doesn’t have values?) In any case it’s not just about sodomy, but rather stands for an entire range of Christian reaction. Do you have many Evangelicals in the UK? Christian prayer groups in banks and businesses? In government ministries? (See last Sunday’s NY Times magazine). I get the feeling that the concerns don’t resonate in Britain.
I guess this discussion is over, but if anyone came to the party late, John Hood makes a few further good points about this here: http://www.nationalreview.com/thecorner/04_11_04_corner-archive.asp#045242.