The Washington Post has its first of many articles on how the elections prove the GOP majority is disintegrating: “Democrats Win Bigger Share Of Religious Vote.” Pew has its first take out as well: “Centrists Deliver For Democrats.”
Before too many such spins fly out of the MSM’s many fortresses, get the numbers out and look for yourself. Easy to use data bases are here for the 2006 vote and here for the 2004 vote. What you are going to find is that huge numbers of voters simply stayed home, as is typical for an off-year.
In the 2004 presidential election, George Bush gathered 2,859,764 votes in Ohio, 1,178,649 more than Mike DeWine’s 1,681,015 earned on Tuesday, and 726,059 more than Sherrod Brown’s 2,133,705.
Nearly 1.6 million Buckeye voters stayed home last Tuesday than turned out for the presidential election.
In the 2004 presidential election, 1,101,255 Colorado voters picked Bush, but on Tuesday only 566,303 chose Bob Beauprez and only 779,741 chose Bill Ritter.
More than 600,000 voters who cast ballots in Colorado in 2004 did not vote on Tuesday.
President Bush was the choice of 1.716,959 Virginia voters in 2004. John Kerry gathered 1,445,014 votes. On Tuesday George Allen received 1,165,440 votes, and James Webb 1,172,671.
This off-year turn-out gap is why Republicans are not very gloomy about their prospects in 2006 though they are sorry to lose some talented people. To have energized the electorate to turn out in numbers sufficient to build on the base of 2004, the GOP needed to have drawn compelling distinctions between themselves and the Democrats. Those distinctions are there and they are indeed incredibly significant, especially on the realities of the war and on judges.
Presidential elections bring clarity between the parties and turnout. Which is why many of the freshmen House Democrats should rent rather than buy.
(The turn-out gap is also a reason for off year states to consider shifting their gubernatorial elections to presidential years: More voters means a more representative governor.)