Interesting comment

I was doing a little reasearch and came across a comment that at fist I wanted to dissmiss and then I realized that the comment seems to make a lot of sense. Basically I am going to link to the article and then the comment. I am hoping that this may be a post where we can continue the discussion from last thursday.

The title is a link to the article. The text follows the title. All imbedded links and info was left intact.

Breaking Down Voter-Turnout Numbers

High voter turnout was predicted on Tuesday. And the number of votes counted has already shattered all records. But so, too, does the population of the U.S., regularly. The turnout rate appears to be shy of a new record.

ballot box

Focusing on the number of Americans who voted for president is a surefire way to generate headlines touting records, such as those that ran in the Financial Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politico. Just two of the last 15 presidential elections — in 1988 and 1996 — didn’t set a new record by that count, according to data compiled by Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. Focusing on the total number of voters amid steady population growth is akin to celebrating new box-office records, except that turnout records are easier to come by because there aren’t other elections competing for voters’ attention.

So just how many people did vote this time? We don’t have final numbers yet, as usual. Shortly after the 2004 election, the Wall Street Journal pegged turnout at “perhaps as many as 120 million voters.” The final number, 122 million, was reported in mid-January.

The count posted on is up to 123.7 million Friday morning, but McDonald and fellow turnout tracker Curtis Gans expect millions more votes. The two experts diverge, however, on both the expected number of votes and the number of Americans eligible to vote, as I noted in a February column. McDonald expects the final count will top 133 million, of 213 million eligible voters, for a turnout rate of 62.6%. Gans says 208 million Americans could have voted, and between 126.5 million and 128.5 million did, which would put the turnout rate at between 60.7% and 61.7%. Their divergent numbers also play a role in calculating state turnout numbers, complicating efforts in perennially high-turnout Minnesota to determine if the state cleared 80% turnout for the first time.

Either estimate for national turnout falls short of McDonald’s estimates for turnout rates in 1960 (63.8%) and 1964 (62.8%). However, in both those elections voters aged 18, 19 and 20 weren’t allowed to vote. By McDonald’s estimates, those low-turnout voters dragged down turnout rates by between 1 and 1.5 percentage points in every presidential election between 1972 and 2000. In 2004 and this year, the turnout rate among young voters rose but continued to lag behind that of older voters. So the turnout rate among voters 21 and older could approach or break modern historical records.

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Now here is a series of comments which bleed from the first one. I found the discussion interesting and I am curious as to what the class thinks.

Of the California Vote I would like to know what the percentage of the African-American vote was of those who voted to remove their long time bondage of opression & repression from themselves and vote to put it on the gay person (by Proposition 8).

Comment by WatchFromEurope November 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm


Careful WatchFromEurope. Here’s an analysis of that subject. I suspect you’ll be surprised. Hopefully pleasantly.

Comment by ron November 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm

@WatchFromEurope- California is 43.1% white, 35.9% latino or hispanic, and 6.7% black ( so even if ALL black voters voted yes on Prop 8 they don’t come close to the 52% that voted for it.

Comment by CT November 8, 2008 at 1:37 pm

If not a single black voter in California had voted for or against Prop 8, it still would have won by 100,000 votes. Stop the racism and blame the real culprits, the overwhelmingly white cult known as the Mormon Church, white evangelics, Republicans, conservatives, Roman Catholic right-wingers, people living inland in Calforinia, and people over 65.
Comment by Terwilligar November 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Terwilligar, by your logic, even if every Mormon in California (less than 1.8% of the population) abstained from voting, Proposition 8 would still have won.

Maybe blacks overwhelming voting for Proposition 8 was a _major contributing factor_ in it passing and thus worthy of discussion? It’s nice to see how liberal tolerance does not extend to religious minorities. But let us never question why blacks voted against civil rights for another group, because to criticize blacks in any way would be RACISM.

Comment by what goes around comes around – November 9, 2008 at 6:13 pm


er, by Mormon Church, Terwilligar was referring to the huge fundraising and effort it put into Yes for Prop 8 campaigns.

And singling out blacks as the principle reason for Prop 8’s passing is RACISM.

Comment by CT November 9, 2008 at 8:29 pm



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4 responses to “Interesting comment

  1. Tony Robinson

    Very interesting post (but where is the byline? Who wrote this?). I am most intrigued by the insight about blacks are only about 7% of the California population and thus the focus on how blacks voted against prop 8 is misguided, since the black vote could hardly account for the overall failure of the initiative. Some commentors call a focus on black patterns in the prop 8 vote to be racist. This is important insight, and it is vital for all to keep in mind that a small voting block like 7% of the voters can ultimately not be “blamed” or “credited” for the failure of the proposition.

    But it is still very relevant for informed observers to make note of significant patterns in different electoral groups–even if they aren’t a majority electoral group. These patterns tell us something about political values and priorities of different segments of the electorate, and it’s certainly not racist to point that out.

    The fact is that if only whites could vote in California, Prop 8 would have failed. If only blacks could vote, Prop 8 would have passed in a landslide. Those are interesting and important facts to grapple with as we try to understand the different motivations of the different people in America, and as anyone crafts a strategy for how best to move forward from here. it doesn’t help, intellectually or strategically, to just throw stones at the “Mormon/evangelical/white” community (as one commentor above does) and blame them for the failure of the 8 and claim that all focus on the minority vote is a form of racism.

  2. Hawzien Gebremedhin

    I agree with Tony, i think that it is very interesting that black people only make up 7% of the population in California, and although they voted against prop. 8, they didnt really make a difference on the vote. What i find even more interesting is the large number of hispanic people living in California (almost 36%). From my knowledge, most hispanics tend to be catholics and therefore do not believe in abortion, but why arent the commenters focused on that? Yes, it is somewhat contradictory for black people to march for their civil rights yet deny another groups, but there are reasons for black people to vote this way.

    Like many Hispanics, religion has alot to do it. But coming second to religion is the argument thatwhen a black person walks into a room, you can tell he or she is black, but it is not always true for gay people. I am not condoning this type of belief I’m just showing what people out there think. When the hispanic vote in California is so much larger than the African American one, why is that the demographic they choose to look at? Hispanics have fought for civil rights as well in this country.

  3. Nathan Pitman

    I apologize for the missing byline, I posted this link. I completely agree with you about the proportionality of the state. All the numbers and statistics show that you are correct. What I have found interesting after looking into all the claims made here is the pointing out of the Mormon influence on this issue. In a Wednesday article in the New York Times they point out that there were major Mormon donors to the yes on prop 8 campaign. The other side is that it is not racist to focus on what the black population in California voted on this measure. It is crucial to look at this because we have elected a black president. While the numbers of black voters in California are statistically much smaller than the California Hispanic community it does not in anyway discount the importance of looking at this issue. It is probably just as important to look at all the subcategories of people and which way they voted on this issue, unfortunately because Obama was elected it likely is not as “sexy” of a news story.

  4. Привет, я думала что это совсем не так происходит:)

    Мой блог:

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