Friday, November 7, 2008
What the hell happened in Alaska?
This from Americablog yesterday.
Quoting pollster Nate Silver:
Although Ted Stevens holds a small lead in Alaska and is the favorite to retain his seat, the outcome is not as inevitable as it might appear to be. Stevens currently holds a lead of 3,353 votes, or about 1.5 percent of the votes tallied so far. But, there are quite a large number of ballots yet to count. According to Roll Call, these include "at least 40,000 absentee ballot[s], 9,000 early voting ballots, and an undetermined number of questionable ballots".
Indeed, it seems possible that the number of "questionable" ballots could be quite high. So far, about 220 thousand votes have been processed in Alaska. This compares with 313 thousand votes cast in 2004. After adding back in the roughly 50,000 absentee and early ballots that Roll Call accounts for, that would get us to 270 thousand ballots, or about a 14 percent drop from 2004. It seems unlikely that turnout would drop by 14 percent in Alaska given the presence of both a high-profile senate race and Sarah Palin at the top of the ticket."
The Anchorage Daily News has also weighed in, offering comments from around the country on this weird phenomenon. One of the best came from "Homer blogger Shannyn Moore."
Not only is Ms. Moore "raising the specter of a 'stolen election' for Stevens ... She's suspicious of an apparent drop in voter participation from the 2004 presidential elections - from 66 percent then to 55 percent this week - even with Sarah Palin on the Republicans' national ticket.
[Note that her percentages differ a bit from Silver's]
"That's a decrease of more than 11% in voter turnout even though passions ran high for and against Obama, as well as for and against Sarah Palin! This year, early voters set a new record. As of last Thursday, with 4 days left for early voting, 15,000 Alaskans showed up - shattering the old record set in 2004 by 28%! Consider the most popular governor in history-and now the most polarizing-was on the Republican ticket. Consider the historic nature of this race; the first African-American presidential candidate EVER! The second woman to ever make a presidential ticket; and she's one of our own. Despite that, we're supposed to believe that overall participation DECREASED by 11%. Not only that, but his historic election ... HAD THE LOWEST ALASKA TURNOUT FOR A PRESIDENTIAL RACE EVER!!! That makes sense. REALLY??? Something stinks."
Could it possibly be that the Republican Party in Alaska, not known for its ethics or morals, and afraid that Alaska might vote Democratic (which would be a huge embarrassment what with their guv running with J. McCain!), somehow arranged for enough votes to disappear to keep Alaska in the Republican column?
Hey, they did it in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004!