Friday, November 9, 2012

Maybe he’ll stop posting about the election soon.

One can always hope.

An interesting phenomenon in the late unpleasantness was that fewer voters went to the polls in 2012 than in 2008. Here are the statistics:

Barack Obama received 69,492,376 votes (53.0%).
John McCain received 59,946,378 votes (45.7%).
Other candidates received 1,703,390 votes (1.3%).
Total 2008 vote for president: 131,142,144

Barack Obama received 60,899,564 votes (50.4%).
Mitt Romney received 57,961,119 votes (48.0%).
Other candidates received 1,889,137 votes (1.6%).
Total 2012 vote for president: 120,749,820

In round numbers, 8.6 million fewer votes were cast for the Democratic candidate and 2.0 million fewer votes were cast for the Republican candidate. Minor party candidates, however, received 0.2 million more votes this time around.

In 2008 the U.S. population was estimated to be 303 million. In 2012 the U.S. population is estimated to be 313 million. So we have 10 million more people and 10 million fewer voters.

What does it all mean?

Your guess is as good as anyone else’s.

But this is also a fact: If all 2,015,000 missing Republicans had voted for Mitt Romney, Barack Obama would still have won the election.


  1. How come those lazy Floridians haven't yet declared their final voting statistics? Too busy squiashing oranges or wrestling with alligators I guess. Perhaps they should have bussed down some more efficient election officials from neighbouring states!

  2. Pudding, my understanding is that Dade County (city of Miami) received a large number of mailed-in absentee ballots. Being on paper, they must all be painstakingly counted by hand. No computer help is possible.

    Shades of how things used to be!

  3. That's how we count the votes here in Oz ( by hand!) .... but then our population is less than 25 million. Still vote on bits of paper we stuff into a box marking our choice with a X and it is compulsory to vote if you are over 18 between the hours of 8am and 6pm on Election Day.

  4. Helsie, making it compulsory to vote takes away one's freedom not to vote, doesn't it? So that's one less freedom you Ozzies have. The USSR always had phenomenally high turnout as well, but only one party was on the ballot. We have atrocious percentages registered to vote in the U.S. and people say, "If you don't vote, you can't complain," but people go right on complaining anyway.

  5. Regarding Helsie's point about compulsory voting, I would be all in favour of it as long as there was a 'none of the above' box to tick. Politicians thrive on unexpressed apathy.

    But if you're going to keep writing about the elction, I'll keep commenting on it. Or rather I have a question.

    The Republican party is big on small government, believing that it shouldn't interfere in the day to day lives of its people. And yet it also wants to legislate or prevent legislation in such things as abortion, same sex marriage and recreational drug use.

    I actually have two questions then. How does the Republican party reconcile these two contradictory positions? And if it had steered clear of what might be considered issues of personal morality, would Romney have won?

    I don't expect you to speak for the Republicans, but I'd be interested in your views as an inside observer.

  6. Shooting Parrots (Ian), I have no clue concerning either (a) how the Republican party will reconcile the two contradictory positions you mentioned or (b) whether Romney would have won if the Republican party had steered clear of what might be considered issues of personal morality. It would all be pure speculation, and I seem to have misplaced my speculators. For a much more scientific approach to the election, see Nate Silver's column in The New York Times.