Saturday, February 23, 2008

Does Better in Open Primaries? Check.

by Ken Houghton

Dan from Madison at Chicago Boyz lays out the reality I've suspected for a while, in just a few sentences:
I think that something more sinister is up though. I believe that tons of Republicans crossed over and voted for Obama. Being an open primary there really is no way to tell how many did cross over, but the total lack of interest in a pretty much already decided Republican contest had to contribute to many conservatives and other HRC haters to cast votes for Obama. I am guessing that this is happening all across the country as well. The Dems may very well win this fall, but I believe they are in for a tougher fight than they may have bargained for.

He then confirms something I've long suspected about Obama's primary support:
Since I hate the woman from Hades so much I decided to vote for Obama, to do my part to keep her out of the White House.

I would hardly suggest that Dan is not a "rational voter." But it's difficult not to notice that his vote gets counted as much as Tom's in deciding "margin of victory—and, hence, apportionment of delegates.

Which is the rules as they are, which I'm told we have to follow, at least unless they pertain to superdelegates.

And then throws us a scary idea to those of us who have been watching his Trusted Advisors (Sunstein, Goolsbee, etc.):
Not that he will be much better, but I do think that he will have to turn drastically to the center during the general campaign - if he is the winner of the D primary.

Note: Dan from Madison notes that he lives in Dane County, so he's part of that 67-31 split, as well as the overall 75-25 D-R voting in the state.

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The overall conclusion of the Boyz post is in the 'well, duh' category -- unless, of course, the parade of stories about McCain's unmavericklike corruption take their toll with centrist voters and McCain's resulting crankiness makes the press fall out of love with him.

I did my own bit of (unsuccessful) strategic voting some time back -- trying to get Tammy Baldwin a softer wingnut opponent. She didn't need the "help" in the end. But the plural of "bloggers" does not equal "data," and I think most crossers-over vote their actual preferences.

Moreover, I have Actual Data to support my hypothesis, viz., exit polling to the effect that 3/4ths of the votes from non-Democrats primary votes were from self-described independents. Those voters presumably liked what they saw in the primary campaigning.

Another thing that falls out by Advanced Math is that 75% of independents who participated in the Wisconsin primary (either party) voted Democratic. That's hardly a bearish sign for November.
By the time of Wisconsin, the choice is either to affirm the inevitable McCain victory (value of vote approaches zero), or to participate on the Democratic side (voting for or, in his case, against a candidate) with an influence proportionate to the number of votes cast in the state or district (depending on how the delegates are allocated).

Since 75% of the votes cast were for Democrats, and 75% of the self-described Independents voted Democratic, the effect can be measured fairly directly as half the proportionate difference between the Democrats and the Independents.

I would be happy if that's null, but I wouldn't bet that way.

(To be clear, I never expected the most Liberal state in the Union to go for HRC, and don't understand the analysis that claimed the state would go for her. But it seems likely that "rational voters" skewed the Dem delegate votes by more than actual Democrat support.)
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