Don’t Take What You See Face Value

Map of early voting states
Map of early voting states


In the final weekend before the election, presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, politicians, celebrities and others on the campaign trail doing everything they can to make their respective campaign successful.  After a number of states opened polls early for early voting, many are closing Sunday and Monday in lieu of Tuesday’s Election Day. 

Over 30 states allow their voters to vote early.  In a few of them you need an excuse to vote early, but in most early voting at polls has seen record numbers.  Over 20 million people have cast their vote before election day.  And we’ve also seen widely reported that most of those cast have been democratic, but don’t get too excited.  While a large share of those cast were by democrats, the voters are only registered democrats, but are still free to vote which ever way they want.  In many cases that wouldn’t be a problem, we can all assume that registered democrats will vote for the democratic candidate and registered republicans will vote for the republican candidate, but assumption can be the base of many mistakes.

As we all know this is quite the historic election that divides the population as any election, but this one has to potential to polarize the American public like none before.  Primarily because of what has been represented from the two campaigns.  Many democratic voters are not voting for Barack Obama for various reasons, still bitter from Hillary loss, don’t feel comfortable with him, or just do not want to vote for an African-American.  That’s similar to republican voters do not want to vote for McCain because they feel he doesn’t represent the party fully, no confidence in his VP candidate, or actually feel he isn’t the best candidate.

And as an added bonus some thought has to be put on the “Southern Democrat” population.  Close to a third of early voting states are southern states.  As many of us know, several years ago the republican party were liberal and the democratic party were more conservative.  With Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration came an actual new deal in American political structure.  After the impact his administration had on American politics, the party values essentially switched making republicans more conservative and democrats more liberal as we see it today.  While many politicians since the start of the 1960s began to switch parties to align more with their values, many democratic voters in the south did not get that memo.  That’s why you’d see civil rights leaders in the republican party in the south because they were in direct contrast to Southern Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement.  And that’s why to this day many old school southern democrats, while still registered as democrats, vote conservative and for republican candidates.

Not for nothin’, but these are just two of the reasons why we can be misled by polls.  Unless you see an actual number of how many people are voting for which candidate, we’re not going to know officially who’s in the lead.  No matter how much you think or are told that the Obama campaign is ahead, no pundit, analyst, or strategist has a crystal ball, nor can they see the future. 


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