07 November, 2008

Cool stats from the presidential election.

Obviously there are far more qualified people to talk about how Obama won this week, but i just wanted to have a go at highlighting some good stats.

As Michael Tomasky points out on the guardian, Obama had his cake and eat it in that he managed to get out more democratic voters and appeal to more independent voters. Of the voters 39% were registered Democrat but only 32% registered Republican. (In the US, you are allowed to register to vote as the affiliate of a party so that you can vote in the primary elections.) This meant that Obama got a big head start before the Independent voters waded in and went for Obama on roughly the same levels as the final national vote.

This is backed up by the fact that Obama won 70% of the first time voters, the young and the dispossed were motivated to go and vote for him. And also by the measure that the 13% of people who voted in 2008 but not 2004, went for Obama by 71% to 27%

A lot was made of the grass roots campaign that Obama won, and it seems rightly so. The effectiveness of both campaigns in reaching individuals was about equal. 64% of those who were contacted by Obama voted for him, 60% of those who were contacted by McCain voted for him. But here is the thing, 26% of voters were personally contacted by the Obama campaign, while only 18% were contacted by McCain. This is a big edge.

In the light of the banking crisis, the two thirds of voters who own stocks and shares just went for Obama 50/48, but the third of the country who don't own shares went for Obama 61/37. It's an interesting stat which shows just how far Obama came in being the people's champion. And here is, I think, a key point that the Republicans are going to have to learn, being the people's champion, being for someone like Joe the Plumber, means interacting with people from the cities and suburbs. Both the cities and the suburbs went for Obama and they represent 80% of voters. The Republicans need to rethink their role as the custodians of small town values, because only one in five voters live in a small town. 

Which leads us on to Sarah Palin, who 60% of voters thought was not qualified to be president. Of that 60% the split for Obama was 82/16. That will be a tough number for Palin to turn around if she wants to run in 2012. However, it should be clear that Palin is nowhere near as bad a drag on the ticket as George W. Bush. Of the 51% of voters who strongly disapprove of the job Bush is doing, 82% voted Obama.

Random stat, 1% of all voters polled thought that the US economy was in excellent condition, and that 1% voted for Obama by 59% to 39%

Still reading? I could go on and on, one final stat that might say something about the weight of expectation on Obama. 72% of voters think the economy will get better or at least stay the same in the next year. Of those who think it will get better, Obama won 61%, and for those who think it will stay the same, 52% voted Obama. Interestingly, Obama only won 43% of the voters who think the economy is going to get worse.

Read the full national exit poll here for hours of fascination.

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