Updated: 5/16/2006; 12:10:35 PM.

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daily link  Friday, November 05, 2004

Projection and political passion: "I think it's sadly ironic that voters in red and purple states -- people who, by and large, have never experienced a terrorist attack first-hand and probably don't encounter many gays (that they know of) in their daily lives -- turned out in droves out of their fear of terrorism and homosexuality. "  11:02:36 PM  permalink  

100,000 Iraqis Dead: Should We Believe It?  Good review of the Lancet paper estimating 98,000 more Iraqi deaths as a consequence  of the invasion, rather than the 10-30,000 that had be earlier thought.  There is a wide range in the study; there's a 95% chance the incremental deaths are between 8,000 and 190,000, with 98,000 as the middle number.  But there are many mehodological reasons to think the number might be higher than the middle. Worth reading.  8:39:33 AM  permalink  

Greg Palast says Kerry Won: The Florida investigator that got BBC coverage in 2000 offers his take on Ohio:  "Bush won Ohio by 136,483 votes. Typically in the United States, about 3 percent of votes cast are voided—known as “spoilage” in election jargon—because the ballots cast are inconclusive. Palast’s investigation suggests that if Ohio’s discarded ballots were counted, Kerry would have won the state. Today,  the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports  there are a total of 247,672 votes not counted in Ohio, if you add the 92,672 discarded votes plus the 155,000 provisional ballots."  Many studies show these are predominantly from poor and minority districts, which in Ohio are still using punch cards.  If 90% of the uncounted were good and went 66% Kerry, he'd have a Florida-2000 style majority.  In my view, this is unlikely, with military and absentees yet to be counted, etc.  Palast claims it's even more true in New Mexico.

Meanwhile there's much commotion about unaudited electronic voting machines, which have proven and frequent security holes (esp. modem access) allowing silent tampering, with several documented cases.  Knowing the technology these use (MS Access and RAS), I'm sure they're very easy to hack. 

Partisan election officials, dubious technology, varations that bias against minorities -- the US electoral mechanisms are a mess.  Reforms, and routine deterrent audits, are needed. As one contributor to the Washington Note writes, "What [does anyone] have against ensuring an open and honest system? What is conspiratorial about checking out something a great many people have been rightly leery about since it was first proposed (voting using proprietal software without a paper trail)?  Looking at the voting patterns could vindicate [the winner]. What is unacceptable is having ballots that can't be verified. ..

Why am I interested? I'm not American but I want to know that the President was legitimately elected. I want to be able to trust American election results the way I can trust results in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the UK.... You get the picture. Sure you have coercive power but I would think you would want American power to rest on more than that and a Bill Reilly style shut-up to those with doubts about the system will not make the doubts go away. America's not such a pretty democracy. It needs cleaned up (Look for instance at the electoral districts: so horibbly gerrymandered by whatever the side in power that most races are hopelessly uncompetitive). A good democracy would I think be a bipartisan concern."  A Republican respondent says "I think more people have doubts that anyone realizes - I hear it everywhere, even from my most Conservative friends, because believe me, one day we will be one the other side and we will be crying too."

  8:24:49 AM  permalink  

Source of Clinton's victories: Was it Ross Perot?:  "was Bill Clinton really all that successful at reaching some "part of the electorate" that Al Gore and John Kerry haven't nailed down? .. As Ruy Teixeira points out, "Bill Clinton actually carried the white working class (whites without a four year college degree) by a point in both his election bids. But in 2000, Al Gore lost these voters by 17 points; in 2002, Democratic congressional candidates lost this group by 18 points and this year, the situation appears to have worsened further."

But those Clinton figures -- like Clinton's popular-vote wins -- are two-party numbers from a three-person race. Only 43 percent of the population supported Clinton in 1992. In 1996 he got 49.23 percent, Gore dropped to 48.38 percent in 2000, and Kerry got 48.11 percent in 2004. There's been, in other words, extremely little slippage in the Democratic Party's appeal since the electoral college landslide of 1996, the radically different geography of the result notwithstanding. The real change has been in the appeal of the Republicans, who've gone from a tiny 37 percent vote-share in '92 to 41 percent in '96, 48 percent in 2000, and 51 percent in 2004 while the Democrats have stayed about the same over the past twelve years. With Clinton or without him, the Democrats haven't found a way to achieve a majority since Jimmy Carter's day, so trying to replicate Clinton's success without conjuring up a Ross Perot may not accomplish anything. "

  8:04:46 AM  permalink  

America is purple: Nice county-level map of election resuls, with shades of red and blue, showing how close the election was, and how limited solid blue and red are. Large version also online.  Update: Several formats are now online.  12:01:54 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 12:10:35 PM.