Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Odor of Rats and Fish, Part II

Now on to Alaska, where the stench of a state steeped in corruption just keeps getting riper. Something stinks, and it ain’t just the fish guts rotting outside the canneries and freezers. Here’s a few puzzling numbers:

Despite a 12.4% increase in primary voting, and a record turnout in early voting, as well as a galvanizing national campaign, not to mention their own Governor on the GOP ticket, 3% less Alaskans “appear” to have voted than in the ’04 elections. After initially looking like turnout was even lower (-11%), tens of thousands of ballots have now “appeared”. Still, for a state most analysts predicted would have a significantly higher turnout, a lower turnout is quite anomalous.

Despite Rassmussen, and other,  polls being remarkably accurate in predicting both the Presidential (dead on nationally) and congressional races (so far within very tight margins of accuracy in all the lower 48 and Hawaii, correctly predicting virtually all other senate races), Alaska is the anomaly. 

Ted Stevens, down by 8-14 points, is in a dead heat for his Senate seat.

Don Young, down by 6 points, is up 8 points for his congressional seat.

The McCain/Palin ticket over performed the polls in the Presidential election, despite garnering less votes than George W. Bush did in 2004. Their 26 point (62-36) win overshoots the polls by about 12-16%.

So what do these numbers mean? Applying some basic math here, you’ll quickly note that the unexpectedly low turnout and the poll discrepancies match almost exactly, provided those “lost” votes are all Democratic. If, for example, you simply add 14% to the vote, and have them all vote Democratic, the numbers fall remarkably in line:

From 3% lower turnout to 11% increase (analysts predict 12-14% increase, primaries votes up by 12.4%).

Stevens from 1 point up to 12 points down (polls predicted 8-14 point loss).

Young from 8 point lead to 6 points down (polls predicted 6 point loss).

McCain Palin from 26 point win to 11 point win (polls predict 12-16 point win).

This is a good example of Ockham’s Razor, in my opinion. If you want to cheat in an election, the simplest thing to do would be either to not count some of the opponent ballots coming in, or to switch some of the votes. I chose the former simply because switching votes wouldn’t have affected turnout numbers. In a small, remote state, known for corruption, and with a Republican party steeped both in the levers of power and corruption, would it be that difficult to pull off?

Looking at the numbers as they stand, if you believe nothing is wrong, you have to believe that while Obama mobilized new voters nationwide, and in the state of Alaska as well (evidenced by registration numbers), that only in Alaska did they (and virtually only they) fail to show up and vote, despite the surge in early voting (as with the other states).

You also have to believe that Stevens (convicted of 7 felonies), and Young (under a corruption cloud himself) managed to get all of their predicted supporters out while their very vocal, organized, and publicized opponents somehow failed to do so on a grand scale. That they alone defied the polls, because their opponents simply, inexplicably, failed to show up.

You can’t realistically argue that the race was over by the time Alaskans went to the polls, and hence many didn’t vote, since such a large portion of them either voted early or absentee. The nature of the House and Senate races, as well as the Sarah Palin factor (for or against), argue against people staying away from the polls as well.

I suspect by the time all the votes now accounted for are officially counted, Palin/ McCain (reversed intentionally) will have pulled nearly identical number of voters to the GOP side as Bush did in ’04. It would seem with the scandals and mismanagement of the campaign, this would be a somewhat remarkable feat, but at least well within the realm of possibility, given the long-standing support base for the GOP within the state among previous voters, as well as Palin’s continuing, if diminished, popularity within the state herself. 

But it doesn’t explain why the Obama camp’s documented new recruits didn’t show up, especially when they did everywhere else, and especially given that early voting indications were that they did in Alaska as well. Or that the anti Stevens and Young voters would likewise disappear into the wilderness. There is no justifiable reason they would have lost their enthusiasm. It would seem quite possible that, like inedible fish parts, they came in the front door, but were subsequently trimmed from the finished product and dumped out the back, which explains why a week later, there’s a lingering bad smell in the air...


Brennan The Anti-Blogger (aka LakerSanity) said...

But what are the odds Palin takes Stevens' Senate seat by resigning and having her Lt. appoint her?

Yes, only could happen in some movie... exactly the kind of thing we have become used to in the last 8 years.

T. Johnson (aka "24") said...

Actually, she'd have to run in a special election.

But hopefully, it doesn't matter. Begich is now up by 824 votes with 35k to count.