November 7, 2008

It's Official: a Rise in "New Registrations" Means Nothing - UPDATED

Hatched by Dafydd

If you'll recall, the big concern in the months leading up to the election was how many new voters, homeless voters, felon voters, and young voters the campaign of Barack H. Obama registered via groups like ACORN and Project Vote... millions and millions of them; in fact, a study released today by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate at American University found ten million new registrations.

But in the actual vote, this mass of new registrations did not translate into any increase in the percent of Americans over the age of 18 who voted. I'll use the total population as a proxy for the population of those over 18, because the former is easier to find. According to the U.S. Census Department, between 2004 and 2008, the U.S. population increased from 293.2 million to 305.6 million, a gain of 12.4 million or 4.2%.

UPDATE: Using the census figures linked by SlimGuy (thanks!), we get an increase in the population of Americans 18 and older of 10.1 million, which is a percentile rise of 4.6%, slightly higher than the 4.2% rise overall. This actually makes the case even better, because the rise in votes was within the range of 3.5% to 5.2%, and the midpoint of that range is 4.4%. In other words, the number of votes did not even rise as much as the population of people old enough to vote. But of course, many of those over 18 might not be eligible to vote for other reasons (citizenship, for example); so we really don't know. But the numbers won't be too different, so I'm not going to bother correcting the rest of this post by 0.1% or 0.2% here and there. The point carries; in fact, it's even a little stronger now!

And according to the study linked above, the number of voters increased from 122.2 million in 2004 to between 126.5 and 128.5 million this year; this translates to an increase of from 4.3 to 6.3 million -- or from 3.5% to 5.2%, with a midrange percentile increase of 4.3%. Thus, as Shakespeare put it, all that sound and fury appears to have signified nothing (not surprising, since it was a tale told by the idiots in the elite news media.)

In fact, there is little evidence even that registrations went up by much more than the ordinary increase in the American population would have predicted; registrations increased between 2004 and 2008 by about 4.8%, as compared to the population increase of 4.2%; the difference of 0.6% is the number of "extra" new registrations over and above what we would have expected.

The population increase alone accounts for 8.7 million of the 10 million -- leaving only 1.3 million "extra" registrations. But of that 1.3 million extra registered voters, better than one million of them failed to vote. At the midrange value, this means that all the hoopla and hullabaloo was over a measely increase of 300,000 new voters, or 0.2% of the vote.

That still might have made a difference in one or two battleground states; Obama won Ohio, Florida, Colorado, and Virginia by 200,000 votes each. But even if the extra voters were perfectly distributed only within those four states, they cannot account for Barack Obama's victory. Absent those paltry few new voters, Obama would still have won at least three of those four states -- and John S. McCain needed to prevail in all four of them (along with Indiana, North Carolina, and Missouri, the last of which McCain may still get).

Bottom line: New voters, felons, and bums did not impact the vote in any significant way. ACORN failed; Obama won the election not by bringing "new blood" to the voting booth but by doing a better job than McCain at wooing the traditional voter, the guys and gals who always vote.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 7, 2008, at the time of 7:01 PM

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The following hissed in response by: SlimGuy

Spreadsheet of the numbers you want from the census

The above hissed in response by: SlimGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2008 10:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: SlimGuy

Over 18 voter age population

2004 219417830
2008 229515578

The above hissed in response by: SlimGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 7, 2008 10:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Not so fast Dafydd. While you are right about the new voters effect being exaggerated in the days leading up to the election, you missed the point that Obama probably owes his election to the outsized victory he won among the young voters 18-24 who actually did vote.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 6:53 AM

The following hissed in response by: SlimGuy

MTF funny you should mention that fact

Age groups for 2000 to 2008 Presidential Elections Results

That spreadsheet is drawn from the National Exit polls for CNN for each of the elections involved.

You can see that in prior years the under 30 vote was much closer than this year.

In fact for this year you will see that the above 30 vote was essentially a tie or a draw.

Spreadsheet for race of voters
pulled from the same exit polls.

You will see that the rough 3% increase is Black votes out of total votes cast plus the major imbalance of the under 30 vote which had nearly the same percentage of total votes shows that this was the New Dukakis Caucus vote with elites/Blacks/College kids making up the caucus.

It supports the concept this was more determined as an American Idol and/or peer pressure on Blacks to create history rather than issues which decided this election.

The above hissed in response by: SlimGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 8, 2008 9:25 AM

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