Friday, November 14, 2008

With Bush's white share, McCain wins CO, IN, NC, OH, VA; with Bush's Hispanic share, he wins FL (and maybe IN)

++Addition++John Derbyshire finds this worth pointing out on The Corner at NRO. Ramesh Ponnuru suggests little emphasis is given to the fact that even had McCain maintained Bush's share of the white vote, he still would've lost the election. Does that indicate an attempt to appeal to white voters (or at least not to actively spite them by defending taxpayer subsidized illegal immigration) is a moribund approach?

It's a question I plan to examine more thoroughly later in the week, but for now consider the absolute (in thousands) and percentage increases (decreases) in voters from '04 to '08, by race (using national exit polling numbers for now, and adjusting "Other" for '08 down to 2%, which is where it should be, not 3%, which comes to a total of 101% by race. I will later refine it by aggregating state level totals for '04 as was done for '08):

20042008Change
White94,16593,749(0.4%)
Black13,45216,46922.4%
Hispanic9,78311,40216.5%
Asian2,4462,5343.6%
Other2,4462,5343.6%

The white population has grown, not shrunk, since 2004. Neither the black nor the Hispanic population grew at those respective rates over the last four years. Whites were not enthused about this election. Non-whites were.

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Two consecutive Presidential election cycles with exit polling data available at the state level allows for some interesting insights to be gleaned. One recurring media narrative open borders supporters like to emphasize is that while McCain held his ground among whites, he lost it not only among blacks, which was unavoidable, but also in the crucially important Hispanic vote, and consequently he went down in flames.

That's not the case. Even though national exit polling shows McCain receiving 55% of the white vote to Bush's 58%, that 3 point shift represents a net change of 5.5 million votes. His combined loss of support among blacks (7 points), Hispanics (9 points), Asians (9 points), and others (9 points) resulted in a net swap of 4.8 million votes. Whites comprise three-fourths of the electorate, so the percentage shift among non-whites must be three times the magnitude of the white shift just to break even. It wasn't, due to the diminishing marginal returns a black Democrat is able to reap given how overwhelmingly supportive of the Democratic party blacks already are.

McCain's drop in white support relative to how Bush performed in '04 is what resulted in an electoral landslide. Because the most competitive states are whiter and blacker (and less Hispanic and Asian) than the nation as a whole is, the 5.5 million net shift is even more important than it might initially appear to be.

Leaving the non-white vote from November 4th alone, if McCain had merely retained the level of white support Bush did in '04, he would've won Colorado, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. It wouldn't have been enough to keep Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, or Iowa (barely) from flipping to the Democrats, so Obama would've still won the electoral college, 296-242. But the election wouldn't have been the 365-173 blowout it ended up being.

What if, leaving the non-Hispanic vote unchanged, McCain had enjoyed the same support among Hispanics Bush did in '04? Using the inaccurate Hispanic numbers reported from that election's exit polling that overstated the GOP's performance among Hispanics, and recalling that much of the Hispanic goodwill towards Republicans was bought via the housing bubble that provided years of explosive construction work and astronomical increases in Southwestern housing valuations, he would've won Florida*. That's it. Obama's electoral victory would've remained overwhelming, at 337-201.

* It could've been enough for him to squeak by in Indiana as well. For that to be the case, McCain's support among Hispanics would have to have been 13 points lower than what Bush garnered in '04. However, EMR estimated that Hispanics comprised 3% of Indiana's electorate in '04 and 4% in '08. For both elections, that represents too small a sample for reporting voting patterns, so there's no way to say conclusively whether or not Bush's Hispanic support in the state would've been sufficient for McCain to have held on to it. Granting it to McCain, Obama wins 326-212, a margin still 60 electoral votes worse than retaining Bush's white support would've meant.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what the value of these kaleidoscopic analyses is. If there were an inspiring and charismatic candidate like Reagan, he would have won among both Whites and non-whites. It was the pathetically poor quality of McCain-Palin ticket that made a lot of Republican's stay home and many independents to lean Obama, even though he wasn't much of an achiever. The problem of Republicans is lack of talent, not Demographics or Democrats. Democrats will continue to win by demogoguery as long as Republicans continue to stay dumb/nominate dumbos.

JBS said...

AE,

It is rather shocking Obama only won 43% of the white vote given the horrendous environment the GOP was facing this year.

If the best Obama can do among white voters is 43% in an ultra-Democrat friendly year, then I think it is questionable whether Obama will win in 2012 if the economy remains stagnant.

If the Democrats cannot get more than 43% of the white vote in this year, then how long can they hold on to middle and upper middle class white professionals when they are increasingly seen as the party of angry minorities.

For 2012 the GOP only needs to:

A) Run a conservative like Mark Sanford of South Carolina or Senator John Thune of South Dakota to drive up white conservative turnout.

B) Increase their proportion of the white vote to at least 58% and do better among white cubans and wealthier white hispanics in Florida (sounds doable to me).

The GOP actually is not in as bad shape as they deserve to be.

Much depends on how badly Obama screws up.

JBS said...

BTW,

You ought also try factoring in how low white Republican turnout hurt McCain and how the electoral map would be different if GOP turnout had been similar to 2004 levels.

Diane (with one "N") from California said...

Dems don't think they need to hold middle class whites. They are going to flood the country with poor hispanics through immigration "reform" and amnesty, get them all addicted to government handouts, and simply overwhelm working taxpayers with numbers. 40% don't pay any taxes right now. Next year it will be 42%. Those people will vote Democrat no matter what just to keep the checks coming. It's representation without taxation. They will have to loyalty to the constitution, no stake in the economy, and no sense of American culture. A permanent liberal voting block. A permanent Democrat/socialist majority. And speaking of angry minorities, have you seen the gay riots in LA? They're attacking old ladies carrying crosses and calling black Christians racists instead of burning cars and breaking windows like a respectable mob. Now that's "hope" and "change".

Blode said...

Good analysis. The media's perception that Republicans have to win more Latino votes is simple emotional discomfort with the "excessive whiteness" of the GOP. More evidence that the media is leftist and race-obsessed. Also more evidence that rightist candidates need to stop listening to MSM pundits.

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

To show that by favoring McCain (because of his Hispandering), the GOP is forgoing the opportunity to put forward a candidate who might inspire a majority of the country.

JBS,

Yes, at 58% the GOP probably wins. At 60%, it's virtually guaranteed.

Good suggestion on taking account of voter turnout. I'll take a look at that--it might have been enough to give McCain Florida and Iowa.

Diane,

But that's still a long way off. Whites comprise three-fourths of the electorate, and are only decreasing their representation by about 1% every election cycle.

Blode,

It's amazing to me how the major media's love of McCain during the Republican primaries didn't do more to turn Republicans towards Romney or Huckabee. A perceived lack of viable alternatives, I guess.

Rob W said...

That's 365-173, not 364-174.

Audacious Epigone said...

Rob,

Ah, Nebraska's nuttiness! Fixed it, thanks.

JBS said...

"Ramesh Ponnuru suggests little emphasis is given to the fact that even had McCain maintained Bush's share of the white vote, he still would've lost the election."

Ponnuru also forgets that white turnout was lower.