In the week before the election, I was invited to speak at my alma mater, Purdue University. As I drove around West Lafayette, what caught my eye was the absence of Obama signs. I did not see one, not even in the faculty neighborhoods. As Obama's unpopularity grew during the last four years, his team at some point decided to concede Indiana. From their perspective, Indiana lacked one tactical asset that Ohio had -- early voting.
Early voting is a boon for the vote harvesters. The vote harvester's mission is to gather unthinking collectives of potential voters -- nursing home residents, college students, skid-row dwellers, recent immigrants -- and get them to vote. Harvesting does not necessarily mean fraud, but it clearly encourages the same. In James O'Keefe's Project Veritas videos, we saw how easy it was for even a congressman's son -- in this case, Pat Moran, son of Jim -- to cross the line from harvesting to cheating.After reading this, I decided to try and quantify the alleged phenomenon, but immediately became skeptical (and bemused) upon finding out that Indiana did have early in-person voting. Ohio had five weeks of it to Indiana's four. Seems like a pretty marginal difference. Not potent enough to explain why Obama's share of the vote dropped over 6 points in Indiana yet less than one point in Ohio, anyway.
Still, I ran correlations at the state level on the change in Obama's share of the vote from 2008 to 2012 and the number of days before the general election that in-person early voting began. Team Obama didn't enjoy stronger performance in 2012 relative to 2008 in early voting states. To the contrary, the president performed relatively more poorly the earlier voting began, though the relationship is statistically insignificant (r = .16, p = .25).
Parenthetically, why no link to the phrase "change in Obama's share of the vote from 2008 to 2012"? So far as I can tell, it doesn't exist. Until now, that is! The following table shows the improvement (decline) in Obama's share of each state's popular vote in 2012 from 2008:
|2. New Jersey||1.07|
|6. Rhode Island||(0.16)|
|8. New York||(0.48)|
|11. South Carolina||(0.81)|
|18. North Carolina||(1.35)|
|24. District of Columbia||(1.55)|
|27. New Hampshire||(2.15)|
|42. New Mexico||(3.92)|
|45. South Dakota||(4.88)|
|48. North Dakota||(5.92)|
|50. West Virginia||(7.04)|
Fittingly (and tangentially), Utah was the reddest state and Hawaii the bluest--excluding DC, that is, which, when one really thinks about it, is even more fittingly the Democrats' best than Hawaii is.
While Jack may not be on empirically solid footing in this instance, the GOP should still heed his general counsel of "tightening the electoral process", as returns out of Pennsylvania highlighted:
It's one thing for a Democratic presidential candidate to dominate a Democratic city like Philadelphia, but check out this head-spinning figure: In 59 voting divisions in the city, Mitt Romney received not one vote. Zero. Zilch.
Was there not one contrarian voter in those 59 divisions, where unofficial vote tallies have President Obama outscoring Romney by a combined 19,605 to 0?
The unanimous support for Obama in these Philadelphia neighborhoods - clustered in almost exclusively black sections of West and North Philadelphia - fertilizes fears of fraud, despite little hard evidence.