October 30, 2008

Obama is Winning the Moderate Vote

Posted in Malaysia, Outside Malaysia tagged at 1:09 pm by egalitaria

Mark Penn, CEO of a communications strategy company, who has been advisor to numerous politicians including Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton, drew out some demographic statistics of the voting public. Although some of these may seem too general, without specifying state-by-state differences, these are good indications of what to expect:

  • In general, 50% of Americans are economy voters,
  • 25% are security voters,
  • 25% are values voters.

Those concerned with the economy would vote Democrat 2:1, and for those concerned with security and values would vote Republican 2:1. Ever since the economic crisis hit, this has increased the percentage of voters concerned with the economy, and every additional percentage point that “economy” is cited as a greater issue of concern over the other two, the Democrats get an advantage. Essentially, people want the candidate that they see can handle the situation at present.

Economy is Most Important

Economy is Most Important

Penn stipulated that this elections is so gratifying for many because it shows a rejection of the Right. The American voting population is roughly 40% conservative, 20% moderate, and 20% liberal. Obama wins 9 in 10 liberals and has successfully managed to swing the moderates to his side, getting about 6 in 9 moderates.

  • Religious conservatives still vote Republican 2:1
  • Obama is losing the white vote by 10-12 percentage points, which is less than Kerry. Analysts are saying that race may not necessarily be the reason those rejecting him are doing so – it may be more to do with policy stances than race (which is a positive sign)
  • Obama is getting 80% of the Latin-American vote. This will be a constituency to watch out for, since it is the fastest growing electorate and in the next elections will swell even larger with many more to be registered.

Each candidate has a general base, which would be something like this:

  • Obama’s base = African Americans, upper income, upper education, liberal, democrats, young voters
  • McCain’s base = Whites, conservatives, traditional Republicans, national security voters, most religious.

Viewers should not rely on exit polls to determine the predicted outcome of the elections. We must see actual votes from precincts, one by one. Exit polls are not accurate indicators at all and supporters have either falsely celebrated or cried over what they thought was the final result.

The key thing to note from all this is that a Centre-Left Coalition has emerged from Obama’s campaign. The Centre is making their decisions known in this election. In a sense, McCain is not necessarily the preferred typical Republican candidate. He has been, in his own words, a maverick of the party. He has been known to stand up to Bush, and other party members. This may be a reflection of how America’s ideology is shifting from centre-right to centre-left. What I am interested in is how this will change the population’s capitalist ideology in the future, further what would make of its free market system, trade policy (FTAs).

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