Post Election Thoughts

I’ve been watching all the post election reactions, and I’ve struggled with my reaction to those reactions. I’m thrilled that Obama won and that the Democrats gained seats in the Senate. I’m less thrilled that the House is still controlled by the Republicans, but I’m happy that the Democrats actually gained seats there. It seems evident to me that the Republicans are in trouble.

Once again, John Scalzi has written a wonderful piece that I wish I had written. He says everything I’ve been thinking about Republican reactions, but he says it so much better than I can.

I have one additional thought. In looking at the various Electoral College maps, I see that, for the most part, the most heavily populated states are blue and the less heavily populated states are red. I think this reflects a basic split between those who want to limit government (Republicans) and those who benefit more from government spending (Democrats). When you zoom in on red states (like Texas), the urban counties are generally blue and the rural counties are generally red. Why does this matter? Urban areas benefit from government-built infrastructure more than rural areas do. I can see why rural areas want to limit government because they don’t need the kind of infrastructure that urban areas need.

I think the urbanization of the United States is one reason why the election turned out the way it did. When you combine that with the changing demographics in the United States, I think the Republicans are really going to have to rethink their most basic strategies and philosophies. I also think the Democrats have to do their best not to become complacent.

Why Obama will win: psephology

I learned a new word today: psephology. Psephologists use statics and sociology to study elections and election patterns, and my research shows that they study the methods various pollsters use to poll potential voters.

I find this particularly interesting today, the day before the 2012 presidential election, because I’ve been noticing a disconnect between what I’ve been reading in the news and what the TV media have been telling me. My online news sources indicate that most of the polls in the swing states have Obama leading, even if by only a few percentage points. The rest of the polls call it a tie.  The TV media keeps trying tell me that the election is too close to call. To be honest, I’ve been confused by this disconnect. My gut tells me the pollsters are correct, but the TV media keeps telling me I’m wrong.

When I learned my new word this morning and did a little research on it, my confusion began to clear. I’m now inclined to believe the pollsters. (Lesson: Always listen to your gut.) For a week or so now, I’ve been thinking that the TV media has a vested interest in making the election seem more undecided than the pollsters are saying it is. Today, I firmly believe that the TV media is doing its best to make sure everyone watches their election coverage tomorrow evening. It’s all about the ratings for the TV media.