Category Archives: Voter Demographics

More Prop 8… in theatrical form!

by Shawn Scanlon

Prop 8 continues to be a hot issue, well after the election, with a recent poll showing that religion and class played a larger role than race did in how voters decided on Prop 8.  Food for thought, anyway.

Also, I found this to be an entertaining video, and I’m hoping that you do as well!

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Filed under Media, Religion, Uncategorized, Voter Demographics

Change

As Barack Obama was elected on November 4th, one could not escape the excitement in the air. Horns, screams, cheers, and clapping could be heard all around downtown Denver. On T.V. people were crying tears of joy at Obama‘s acceptance speech. Even I, Elizabeth Woods, the conservative from this elections course, felt proud to be an American as we progressed even further on our journey for equality. This election was arguably one of the most exciting we have ever had. People from all across the world celebrated with America as Barack Obama was elected. During the election, the results spoke to the fact that American’s are just ready for change. Even those who will be taxed more as a result of Obama’s reform, are joining the “spread the wealth” mentality of the Democratic party. The consensus is that Republicans need to get out and Democrats need to get in. The GOP is definitely not popular these days, and the Dems are clearly gaining the public’s approval. For this blog I thought it would be interesting to do a little research on how people voted this year as opposed to the 2006 election.

This year people voted Democrat more across all age groups except 65 and older. This especially pertained to people in our age group with 66% of 18-29 year old Democrats voting compared to 32% of 18-29 year old Republicans. In 2006, 18-29 year olds voted 60% Democrat. I wonder if this reflects that our generations values coincide more with Democratic values, because as the age group increases the gap gets narrower, and Republicans vote 53% to 45% in the 65 and older age group. More so, as new voters are concerned, 69% are Democrats and only 30% were Republicans this year.

Of other interest, is how people voted according to their income. As discussed in class, people who earned an income of under $50,000 voted for Obama. However, once the income bracket reaches middle class earnings (50,000-75,000) people voted for McCain. Then surprisingly, those who earned an income of $200,000 or more voted for Obama. This is contrary to how people voted in 2006. People in the income bracket of $50,000- 75,000 voted 48% Republican and 50% Democrat, and those in the income bracket of $200,000 or more voted 53% Republican versus 45% Democrat. Those with a college education are also increasingly voting Democrat. In 2006, people with a higher education voted equally Republican and Democrat, but this year it increased to more people voting Democrat. This election, even those without a high school diploma voted Obama 63% to 35%, also suggesting a new set of values in the younger generation that align more with the Democratic party. I got all of these statistics from http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=USP00p7 for 2008 and http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/US/H/00/epolls.0.html for 2006. I tried to put some charts in the blog itself, but it didn’t work out, so sorry if it’s a bit overwhelming to read them. There are many other statistics you might find interesting in these exit polls.

I think it’s clear that this year people voted for “different,” and as we have discussed, our country may be heading in a new direction that puts the Democratic party at an advantage. I think it’s interesting that people voted differently than they have in previous years. Looking at these statistics, you can see that voters who used to vote Republican on certain issues are now voting Democrat. Either people are really sick of the way our country has been ran the past eight years, or there really is a new shift in generational values. As we all know the Republican parties unpopularity is a result of a variety of problems, and the GOP may have to change it’s tactics in gaining back its approval, especially with young voters.  With the millennia’s showing up to vote, and independents voting Democrat, plus the minority vote, it’s no surprise that Obama is the new president-elect. You never know, maybe Obama will be the next Abraham Lincoln…

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama, Republican, Uncategorized, Voter Demographics

Did they call you too?

By Ilasiea L. Gray

So I thought about all the things I wanted to write about for this blog.  Topics like he Colorado Amendments, Senate races, pre-election day coverage, and all kinds of other things filled my head.  Then three phone calls changed my mind.  I remember in class we discussed how in the past there were and possibly still are a lot of voters who are not knowledgeable of polling places and if so may not have transportation, etc.

Yesterday, I got a call from an Obama advocate (as I’m sure other people have), and the man on the phone asked me if; 1) I was voting, 2) for Barack Obama, and, 3) if I knew where my polling place was.  I was skeptical of the man at first especially because he called me from a random number.  After I told him yes to all of the above, he actually told me where my polling place was just in case.  After he told me the place for confirmation, I softened my tone on the phone.  I thought it was so cool that people actually call and encourage you to get out and vote.  I was actually almost amazed for the simple fact that in class we discussed that people in the past weren’t knowledgeable of certain things like when and where to vote.

This year they are really taking initiative.  I got a second call last night, but this time instead I received a voice mail.  This time it was an older man named Walter Wright, and he was “calling on behalf of the Barack  Obama Campaign for Change.”  He sounded confused but very sincere.  He was urging me to vote and hoping that I was going to vote for Obama.  The same smile came across my face as it did when I received the first call.  Thinking the message was over, another thing happened.  At the very end of the message, the person gave a number to call if I needed a ride to my polling place.  I was even more amazed!  That was one point that was brought up when members of the class argued the voter I.D. law case; that some voters don’t even have transportation to their polling places.

Now this is my first time voting in an election and I’m not sure if they always call people and/or always offer rides to polling places, but  I know that made me proud of what this country can do.  That there are people out there not only advocating voting, but also the those who are willing to help those in need with transportation.   In addition to those two calls, I got a message this morning from Senator Barack Obama himself.  Of course it was automated but it was very personable:

Hi, this is Barack Obama.  Tomorrow is the most important election day of our lifetimes, and I’m calling to ask for your support.  We built a nationwide grassroots organization of Americans who are ready for change. As President, I’ll cut taxes for the middle class, create good jobs, lower health care cost, and bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.  But I can’t do it by myself.  This race will be close.  And that’s why I need your vote tomorrow.  Thanks so much.   Bye bye.

Immediately after Obama was done speaking, a voice came on telling me my poll location.  Once again I was amazed especially that hey, I’m one of the many people that got a voice mail from Barack Obama!  Win or lose, that is something I will never forget.  I can’t wait for tomorrow!  GO VOTE =)

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Filed under Colorado, Obama, Voter Demographics

Early Voting Going Nationwide?

By Matt Knipple

            I decided to concentrate my most recent blog on voting, in particular early voting.  After going out and performing exit polls on the many people that showed up it got me thinking about the rest of the states and how popular or unpopular early voting is.  To my surprise, as pointed out by this CNN article, early voting isn’t even in every state and in some states that it does occur in, you must have a valid reason to not show up to the polls and may have to get signatures from notaries and so on to prove you cannot make the election date to vote.  Here is a video showing people lining up to register and cast an absentee ballot in Ohio.  It was contested by Republicans saying that people may be performing voter fraud:

            In my opinion early voting should be mandated in all the states in America.  I feel as if people were able to cast mail-in ballots and go to the polls throughout the week prior to actual election day, there would be a much higher turnout at the polls and more people would be encouraged to vote. 

            If you click on this link, it takes you to an interactive map of all the states that have early polls and all that do not.  To my surprise, only 25 states have early polling with data available, six states have early polling with no data available, and the rest of the states do not have early polling.  In Colorado, early voting data shows, as of October 31, that 365,054 in-person ballots have been cast and 1,112,782 mail-in ballots have been cast.  That means a total of 1,477,836 have voted so far, which is roughly 30% of Colorado’s entire population, which also means an even higher percentage of actual voters have turned out since the entire population of Colorado will not and cannot vote. 

            Here is another video talking about the early voting going on in Ohio (you may have to watch a commercial at the beginning that sponsor’s the video, sorry).

            After watching these videos and reading the article, it amazes me why some states do not have early voting.  It seems like it would benefit all of the states and the United States as a whole, to have early voting to get more people out.  In states like New York, it would really benefit them as they have a huge, dense population that it seems pretty unrealistic to get all of those people out to vote on one day.  It would be much more efficient to have early voting and it would give America a clearer answer as to who people wanted as a President because more people, in my opinion, would be inclined to vote.

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Filed under Colorado, Democratic Party, McCain, Obama, Republican, Swing States, Voter Demographics, Women Voters, youth vote

How wierd is this???

By Leonid Balaban

Courtesy of Ben Smith of Politico…

A house in Martinsville, Indiana, a town once famous as a Klan stronghold.

Confederate battle flag, Obama yard sign

Confederate battle flag, Obama yard sign

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Filed under Obama, Voter Demographics

Lakoff Part Deux

Professor Robinson brought up some <a href=”https://election2008ucdenver.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/lakoff-metaphors-and-08-campaign-oh-my/#comment-329″>great points</a> in his comments about my last post regarding <a href=”https://election2008ucdenver.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/lakoff-metaphors-and-08-campaign-oh-my/#comments”>George Lakoff</a>. I would like to address them and other issues that have crept up over the past couple weeks.

<em>”…the real debates are not about frames–they are about fundamental policies.”</em>

Professor Robinson is right, the real debate is about fundamental policies. The debate between Democrats and Republicans are fundamentally about the differences in policies. We have no need here, to rehash the differences, as long as we take as fact, that there are differences. The differing policy positions truly determine how someone is going to lead and what they are going to do while in office. This is probably the most vital functions of elections. Determining which policy position is the correct one. I would challenge the majority of people to tell us the last person to win the office president who focused their campaigns on policy positions.

Kerry and Gore focused their campaigns on policy, Bush didn’t. Clinton, Dole and Bush Sr. did not focus on policy. While Clinton did not focus on policy issues he did touch on it. Bush Sr. in 1988 did not focus on policy Dukakis did. Reagan spoke very generally about policy but was more focused on ideas and vision. As far back as most people would like to go, the winning presidential candidate’s focus was not on policy.
The American people unfortunately have a history of voting for people who are not focused on policy. The general consensus is that Bush Jr. won two terms because he was somebody people <a href=”http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OTFhYjk3NDNmMGFjYTNmZWZlYmY1NzkzYmYzNzc2YTI=”>wanted to have a beer with</a>, Clinton was a charmer and had a silver tongue he was able to present a vision which people believed in and clung to:

Bush Sr., was someone that people trusted was a continuation to continue the Reagan legacy. None of these Presidents focused on policy, instead they all won election from something far more intangible, they won because they were able to “argue” that they were the best man for the job. They were able to “frame ” an argument in which the majority of the populace (excepting Bush Jr. in 2000) that they were the “correct” person to lead the country. To convince a large group of people that they are the cight person for the job, the candidates had to campaign in way to alienate the least number of voters. Often people talk about being disappointed that they had to vote for the<a href=”http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=E82DC2AEC0DDD5D47E9482627A9B522B.tomcat1?fromPage=online&amp;aid=105425#”&gt; lesser of two evils</a>. In reality, this is by design.

Lakoff argues that the Democrats have the progressive ideals that people crave. He also argues that the Democrats have forwarded policies which aggressive enough to capture most of the left but not so progressive that it alienates those people in the center. I would argue that the democrats ideas and policies have been the right policies for each particular moment in history. That however does not change the fact that over the past thirty to forty years, the democrats have been on the losing side of the vast majority of presidential elections. I believe that both Lakoff and I would argue that the lack of winning is not because the policy proposals are bad or not good enough; instead these losses are directly attributable to a lack of communicating these policies in a way which is easily conformable to <a href=”http://labs.google.com/inquotes/”>sound-bites</a&gt;.

A political sound-bite is not a way of communicating policies but instead a way of communicating ideas. The key is to frame the policy in a way that the ever present <a href=”http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fourth%20estate”>fourth estate</a>, will decide to use in their own interests. For instance, a policy proposal on taxes will in some way effect every American. Realistically, something that is going to affect all Americans is going to be fairly lengthy. Something that is short enough to fit into a 8 to 30 second sound-bite is unlikely to contain or able to communicate a policy proposal.

Politics today largely come down to these sound-bites. As a result policy can only be on the periphery of the discussion. While it is the most important part of the discussion, it is in no way influential enough. Instead it is more important to frame the policy debate in a way which will receive the most electoral votes. This is done through framing sound-bites and framing an argument which reaches beyond the base. A presidential candidate has to frame themselves not as the best person for the job; instead they must frame themselves as a better person for the job then their opponent. This, in successful presidential campaigns, is done through framing the argument to promote themselves and/or denigrating their opponent/s.

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Filed under McCain, Media, Negative Campaigning, Obama, Voter Demographics

What a heck happened with CD-7

by Leonid Balaban

Colorado CD-7 map

When Colorado 7th Congressional District (CD-7) was created after census in the year 2000, it was drawn up by courts in such a way that there was no clear advantage for either major political party. In fact, at the time when the first ever contest was held in that district in 2002, the party affiliation was almost evenly split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents. In that midterm election, Republican Bob Beauprez beat his Democratic challenger Mike Feeley by the slimmest margin of 122 votes out of over 172 thousand votes that were cast during that election day. In 2004, Beauprez

Bob Beauprez

ran already as an incumbent and his winning margin was a lot bigger than in his first contest. He beat his Democratic opponent Dave Thomas 55% to 43%, even though John Kerry beat President Bush in that district 51% to 48%. It is worth noting that the voter turnout in CD-7 during that election was almost 247 thousand, an increase of over 30%.

Yet, in 2006, Congressman Beauprez decided to run for the Governor of Colorado against the former Denver District attorney Bill Ritter. Initially, the district was still considered a lean-Republican, especially considering the fact that Republican Rick O’Donnell sailed through the primaries of his party without a real challenge, while Democrat Ed Perlmutter had a tough primary fight with 2 other contenders. However, the overall political environment was different from two years ago. Congressional Republicans were embroiled in multiple corruption scandals. The American electorate was generally unhappy with the Republican party and with the direction of the country as a whole. In fact, according to Real Clear Politics, as the 2006 midterm elections were approaching, Democrats were preferred over Republicans by an average of 11.5%, when it came to the general preference of control over Congress. Ironically, that was almost exactly the margin by which Perlmutter

Ed Perlmutter

Ed Perlmutter

beat O’Donnell, with the final result showing 54.9% for the Democrat and 42.1% for the Republican. Thus, we can see that this district has swung almost 180 degrees from the Republican control to the Democratic control.

Fast forwarding to 2008 Congressional race, this district is now listed as safe-Democratic by CQ politics. Perlmutter’s opponent, John Lerew, is virtually an unknown in the world of politics and is given 50-1 odds of winning this race. So what was before considered a balanced seat, is now trending heavily Democrat. Some attribute this to the increase of the Hispanic population in Commerce City and Aurora in Adams County, as well as a slight leftward lean in the Jefferson County portion of the seat. Others believe that the Democratic wave which began in 2006 is continuing in 2008 is the most contributing factor that causes this district to lean left on the political scale.

Could this Congressional seat become competitive, as it once was? Perhaps, but if the population change was in fact the most decisive factor, then this district might be in the Democratic hands for quite some time.

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Filed under Colorado, Democratic Party, Republican, Uncategorized, Voter Demographics