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August 09, 2006

To Tide You Over

by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math

Charles Franklin of Political Arithmetik [sic] has some very nice graphs detailing the divisions in the Lamont Lieberman race. Essentially, Democrats in wealthy small towns turned out in large numbers and voted strongly for Lamont, while blue-collar towns did not turn out and went for Lieberman by modest margin. Lamont fought to a near draw in a few of the larger cities, which proved to be the margin of victory.

I'll be putting these results in map form to see if there are any geographic trends (looking at the data last night, it seemed that Lamont fared better in affluent towns in the Northwest than the Southeast) ... soon.

August 9, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

Democrats in wealthy small towns turned out in large numbers and voted strongly for Lamont, while blue-collar towns did not turn out and went for Lieberman by modest margin.

And in a nutshell, isn't that the problem with DLC-style "centrism"? The social issue positions and go-along-to-get-along pre-compromised economics and foreign policy are simply not enough to really drive working-class engagement. In CT, the culture warriors don't really drive people the way they do in the south and midwest, so what you get is lackluster turnout instead of fundie-votes.

Of course, if Lieberman weren't a DLC-style Bush-enabler, he wouldn't have faced a primary challenge.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 9, 2006 12:39:48 PM

Why is it that people think more blue-collar non-wealthy Dems are going to turn out in the general and vote for Lieb? If they didn't think he was important enough for them to get off their ass and vote for him to run in the general, then why would they vote for him in the general? It makes no sense.

Posted by: Adrock | Aug 9, 2006 1:38:08 PM

Why is it that people think more blue-collar non-wealthy Dems are going to turn out in the general and vote for Lieb? If they didn't think he was important enough for them to get off their ass and vote for him to run in the general, then why would they vote for him in the general? It makes no sense.

I believe the thinking is that turnout is higher in general elections no matter what, especially among folks who lose money if they take time off to vote. Ergo, there will be a higher percentage of those folks, ergo, better for Lieberman.

Y'know, maybe, but this was apparently record turnout for the primary (I read reports of >50%). Voter turnout nationwide for the 2004 election was only 55%.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 9, 2006 1:43:37 PM

I'll get to this more in a later post, but the punchline is that Lamont has been unable to expand his base beyond liberal white professionals. So his general election strategy may have to be quite different from his primary election strategy.

Unspoken in all of this is the effort of Labor to turn out for Lieberman in the working class towns. It may be the case that labor voters will be more likely to head to the polls for Lamont than they were for Lieberman.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Aug 9, 2006 2:31:44 PM

I'll get to this more in a later post, but the punchline is that Lamont has been unable to expand his base beyond liberal white professionals. So his general election strategy may have to be quite different from his primary election strategy.

Well, that's one take on it. Of course, you would have to include in "Lamont's base" all of the blue collar folks who voted for Lamont, and take into account the problem with turnout despite labor support for Lieberman.

The real question continues to be whether Lieberman will follow his ego into playing the spoiler, or whether he'll do the right thing by the party that has supported him for decades and bow out.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 9, 2006 3:04:18 PM

Well, that's one take on it. Of course, you would have to include in "Lamont's base" all of the blue collar folks who voted for Lamont, and take into account the problem with turnout despite labor support for Lieberman.

That's true, since Lamont still got 36% in his lowest-performing town. But I think the election results are a reasonable proxy for what sort of demographics are more likely or less likely to support Lamont. And they suggest that Lamont will do very well in areas where the median household income is over $63,000/year. That's the profile of a professional, upper-middle class area.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Aug 9, 2006 3:33:19 PM

Nicholas, I think you're making a profound conceptual mistake by slicing this race according to that kind of gross demographic category.

1) I'll stipulate (because I trust you) that Lamont did well among that group. So what? Maybe that affects where he spends his time (or spent his time), or where his people spend their time (or spent their time), but it don't think it says much either way about his message, if he pulled 52% of the Dems in the state, and not less than 36% in any given town.

2) The Republican base, the real Republican base, looks to be right around 36%. I think that those folks are better described by their belief sets (however flawed they may be in relation to reality) and the messages that work for and on them, not just their demographics.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 9, 2006 3:45:35 PM

I should note, because I failed to in the comment above, that Lamont pulled no less than 36% in any town against an 18 year Senatorial incumbent with *thirty-six* years in Connecticut politics, while Lamont had exactly zero name recognition in the state before his campaign began.

It's not as if this was a contest between two equally well-known politicians. Hell, part of the Lamont advantage among upper-middle class voters could just be chalked up to the ubiquity of internet access in white-collar offices and homes.

Posted by: paperwight | Aug 9, 2006 3:52:24 PM

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