Obama's Ominous Challenge with the Electoral College

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cleverboy, May 20, 2008.

  1. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #1
    First, some information for those that need a refresher.

    How is a President elected?
    http://www.pocanticohills.org/presidents/elected.htm
    [​IMG]

    That said, we come to some interesting numbers. Currently, as things stand now, Clinton easily wins over McCain, while Obama is beaten against the presumptive Republican nominee when it comes to Electoral vote polling.

    Take a look at the numbers and interactive
    map being provided at the following website:
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/

    As of May20th, the numbers look like this:
    Clinton vs. McCain:
    Clinton: 284 / McCain: 237 / Ties: 17
    Dem pickups (vs. 2004): AR FL NM OH WV
    GOP pickups (vs. 2004): NH WI
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Clinton/Maps/May20.html
    Obama vs. McCain:
    Obama: 242 / McCain: 285 / Ties: 11
    Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO IA NM
    GOP pickups (vs. 2004): MI NH WI
    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Obama/Maps/May20.html

    While Obama has won the popular vote and most states in the Democratic contest, Hillary Clinton is by FAR the stronger candidate in terms of electoral college electability. Whether its cross-over Democrats who refuse to vote for Obama, or a widened centrist appeal of McCain, Obama's prospects for the general election would seem to hinge on new voter registration (ie: his new 50-state voter registration drive), getting a solid vice-presidential running mate, having more money than the GOP, and tying McCain soundly to failed Bush policy (as he's been doing).

    For what its worth... Provided everything goes well for Barack Obama and re-writing the electoral map, it would seem right-wing talk show hosts Sean Hannity believes he has what he calls an "October Surprise". A juicy media nugget he hopes can sink any last minute hopes of a successful Obama candidacy.

    ~ CB
     
  2. Pittsax macrumors 6502

    Pittsax

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    #2
    Interesting stuff. Though it doesn't take things into account like a general campaign. I'm pretty sure that some of the moderates who support McCain will change their minds once they can start directly comparing the two. Not to mention that once the primary is finally over, McCain will start to get the media scrutiny he's been largely avoiding to this point (how many lobbyists bankrolled by foreign countries have resigned from his campaign so far?)

    As for Sean Hannity, the fact that he hasn't unveiled his "October Surprise" probably means he hasn't made it up yet. Besides, anyone who listens to his drivel won't vote for Obama anyway.
     
  3. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #3
    I call BS on this. As nasty as this primary season has been I'm sure that Clinton, by now, would have played the "October Surprise" card by now.

    Their calling of states is pretty suspect too. They call MI for Hillary because she ties McCain but McCain beats Obama by 1%. I'd guess that any polls they used have at least a 3% margin of error so anything +/- 3% on any of the close states should be considered statistical ties which leaves MI completely up in the air, as well as FL, IN, IA, CO, OH, VA, NC, and SC.
     
  4. Mackan macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Al Gore won most popular votes in 2000, yet Bush got to be president. Electorial vote is not a system to be proud of. It's effectivly bypassing true democracy. Why do you want to, and should, be president when your opponent got more votes from the people?
     
  5. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #5
    And who said we're proud of it?

    Unfortunately the only way to change it is a Constitutional Amendment, (or by having enough states sign on with a law that they're electors will cast their ballots for the winner of the national popular vote). So we're currently stuck with this system.
     
  6. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #6
    I think the big question is how many votes against Obama are because of race? Once Hillary is out of the picture, I would imagine these stats will change somewhat. I'm hoping that Obama has been on such a soft attack with Clinton because she's in the same party. He needs to make a much stronger sell to low income working people.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    We should have held that Constitutional convention a long time ago. Can you imagine how much further we'd be if we weren't constantly being held hostage by the South?

    Sad thing is- he shouldn't even have to. If we had a better education system in this country, that wouldn't even be an issue.
     
  8. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #8
    That's not even as true as the Clinton camp wants you to believe. He doesn't poll that much worse with the blue collar white vote against McCain than Clinton does. Many of his perceived weak demographics are only weak when he's running against another Democrat and once the primaries are over and Clinton starts to work towards getting him elected rather than against him, most of his supposed weak areas will shore up significantly.

    I've said it before... just because a group that votes in the Democratic primary does not vote for you, does not mean they will vote GOP and/or stay home in November. If that were the case the Dems could count on the Mormon and Evangelical vote from Romney and Huckabee. The problem Clinton has is that she brings very few new voters to the table the way Obama does with the young voters and the African American community. Unfortunately these are also the voters who because the are now voting because of their excitement over a candidate would be more likely to stay home in November if their candidate is not on the ballot.

    Here's an analysis of how new voters in the youth, African American, and Hispanic demographics could influence the election.
     
  9. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #9
    It is interesting, but I admit I am a little nervous about a strategy that relies on new young voters turning out in record numbers. Young people are great at getting excited and sounding mobilized in the run-up to an election, but historically have been shockingly unreliable on the follow-through by actually bothering to get off their butts and go vote.

    I would hate to see the campaign sunk due to millions of "oh dude, was today Tuesday? I totally flaked," and "I really don't feel like standing in line with a bunch of old people for hours today" and "I gotta go vote today. Anybody got any idea how to register?"
     
  10. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #10
    Wasn't that Kerry's strategy, or was it P. Diddy to get the youth to vote but they never turned out.
     
  11. benmrii macrumors 65816

    benmrii

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    #11
    Without a doubt there will be a noticeable portion of folks who do not vote for Obama if (when) he is the Democratic nominee either because of racism or Clinton's losing. The reality is that the majority of those that voted for Clinton will eventually see (and even hear what she is saying now) how different Obama and McCain are, how horrid it would be to help McCain be elected, and vote for Obama. Remember that the numbers that show tight races against Clinton or Obama vs. McCain are being calculated by a split party. Once a specific candidate is named it really will be a whole new ball game.

    Another point worth making is the record voting numbers in states has gotten people involved in new and exciting ways, specifically on the Democratic side. Another point worth making is that America is really tired of Bush and, by most people's relation, the Republican party. Another point made very well above is that those who do vote for McCain or write in Clinton in spite of her loss will be vastly outnumbered by the tremendous amount of young and independent voters that are supportive of Obama, the latter who in many states aren't able to vote in Democratic primaries.

    And, one more... come on, McCain? Do you really think the guy who can't keep Shias and Sunnis or who is the leader in Iran straight is going to beat Obama? :D
     
  12. benmrii macrumors 65816

    benmrii

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    #12
    The difference is that they are already turning out in higher numbers for Obama.
     
  13. Teh Don Ditty macrumors G4

    Teh Don Ditty

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    #13
    I honestly feel that if Clinton manages to take the nomination, the coveted 18-25 youth demographic will not show up (as usual).

    If Obama takes the nomination, they will show up.

    As far as the electoral college goes.... it's utter rubbish. Should've been abolished a long time ago.
     
  14. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #14
    I'm not relying on that strategy. The vast majority of those voting in the Democratic primaries right now will vote Democrat in November. Now whether or not we get the additional African American, youth, or Hispanic vote is a big question but it's unlikely we'd get any of it with Clinton winning the nomination.

    Obama doesn't do much worse than Clinton against McCain in any demographic and once Clinton drops out and urges her supporters to back Obama some of his supposed "weaknesses" will go away. The analysis in the original post gives even a 1% difference in the polls to whomever had the tie breaking 1% when at that point your really dealing with a statistical tie, and at this point it's hard to trust the polls since there are still hard feelings among Democrats who think they'd vote GOP or not at all if their candidate does not get the nod. I think both Clinton's and Obama's prospects of winning will improve once the race is over and the nominee gets the backing of their opponent and people realize the gravity of what four or more years of McCain could mean.
     
  15. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #16
    Um, didn't we elect Dubya? Twice? :(
     
  16. benmrii macrumors 65816

    benmrii

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    #17
    ... touché
     
  17. benmrii macrumors 65816

    benmrii

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    #18
    You know, it still haunts my dreams that in 2000 I lived in Florida and given all the voting mess I'm not 100% sure I didn't vote for Bush. :eek:

    I actually got to speak with Al Gore briefly when he spoke at the premiere of Tommy Lee Jones' movie The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrade (great film if you haven't seen it) a few years back. I thought about bringing that up as a joke but at the last second I decided he may not yet think that was funny. :D
     
  18. Dimwhit macrumors 68000

    Dimwhit

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    #19
    Unless you live somewhere other than the big five (or so) states in the union and don't actually want those states deciding the President. Then the electoral college is nice. The last thing I want is a popular vote.

    On that note, could you imagine the mess we would have been in in 2000 if we elected with a popular vote? You think Florida was bad...the popular vote was a statistical tie (0.5% difference, according to one recount I found online), so we would have been looking at a Nationwide hand re-count. Talk about disaster.
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #20
    A recount would have been far better than what we ended up with.
     
  20. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

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    #21
    When you've measured an entire population, statistical margin of error is meaningless. Margin of error only comes into play when you've only measured a sample of the entire population.
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #22
    It's not bypassing democracy, it's the function of this Constitutional Republic, the fact you seem to think you live in a true democracy is the thing to not be proud of. The founding fathers didn't think the general populous would have the judgment necessary to elect the right government every time, and they were likely right- so they went with a representative model that fit better in their eyes than a true democracy which assured the rights of smaller states weren't trampled by the most populous ones. It's one of the checks and balances built into the system, but it's been the system for long enough that anyone who's not proud of it should really think very hard about how representative any small state would be if the candidates only had to win in say NY, CA and FL to take control of the country.

    There's a well-balanced view of the system, including advantages and disadvantages at Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Electoral_College
     
  22. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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  23. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #24
    Unfortunately the winner take all system of the Electors in most states puts more power in the hands of the big states than it does equalize the small states. Sure in a direct Democracy you could win by taking 100% of the vote in the largest few states, but the current system only requires you to get 50% + 1 vote in just a few more of the largest states. At least a direct democracy would force the candidates to campaign on a national level since they will be running the entire coutnry, not just FL, OH, PA and the other large swing states...

    Most of the problems could be solved by getting the states to apportion electors according to the states popular vote as an effort to make every state count. It would still be possible to lose the popular vote and win the election just not quite as likely.
     
  24. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #25
    Unfortunately, it failed.
     

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