History Favors Republicans in 2010 - The 2008 Election Numbers are not as Stark as the ResultsIt is to be expected that Republicans will want to spin the democrat victory as best they can, in this case by minimizing the results and avoiding discussion about the many counties that turned from red to blue. In most of the United States, the blue component got larger, while red went down. The New York Times has an excellent slide show on this electoral shift.
First, the predicted huge turnout surge didn't happen. The final tally is likely to show that fewer than 128.5 million people voted. That's up marginally from 122 million in 2004. But 17 million more people voted in 2004 than in 2000 (three times the change from 2004 to 2008).
Second, a substantial victory was won by modest improvement in the Democratic share of the vote. Barack Obama received 2.1 points more in the popular vote than President Bush received in 2004, 3.1 points more than Vice President Al Gore in 2000, and 4.6 points more than John Kerry in 2004. In raw numbers, the latest tally shows that Mr. Obama received 66.1 million votes, about 7.1 million more than Mr. Kerry.
So, it's no surprise that Rove is spinning. But you should also know that Rove's prowess with math and forecasting leaves a lot to be desired. It didn't take a psychic to predict that the 2006 elections would swing largely to the left. The polls were telling everyone what to expect. Yet days before the election, Rove kept predicting a GOP win. When asked about the polls, he said he had his own polling data not available to the general public. I.e. his crystal ball was special. According to an interview with NPR:
KARL ROVE: I see several things; first, unlike the general public, I'm allowed to see the polls on the individual races and after all this does come down to individual contests between individual candidates. Second of all, I see the individual spending reports and contribution reports. For example at the end of August in 30 of the most competitive races in the country, the house races, the Republicans had 33 million cash on hand and Democrats had just over 14 million.We KNOW how the 2006 elections turned out. Bush called it "a thumpin'". And now Rove is using math again...excuse me, THE math...to say what's going to happen in 2010. Haughty arrogance is a hallmark of the Bush administration officials like Karl Rove. In fact, arrogance is a defining characteristic of the modern conservative, even in the face of overwhelming defeat. But as demonstrated by Rove, arrogance does not give you through math class.
SIEGEL: We are in the home stretch though and many would consider you on the optimistic end of realism about...
ROVE: Not that you would exhibit a bias, you just making a comment.
SIEGEL: I'm looking at all the same polls that you are looking at.
ROVE: No, you are not. I'm looking at 68 polls a week for candidates for the US House and US Senate, and Governor and you may be looking at 4-5 public polls a week that talk attitudes nationally.
SIEGEL: I don't want to have you to call races...
ROVE: I'm looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.
SIEGEL: I don't know if we're entitled to a different math but your...
ROVE: I said THE math.