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Web author Michael Collins has published a new piece based on an examination of the 2004 polls conducted by the National Election Pool, which reveals that broad assumptions about voter turnout in urban areas appears to be incorrect, and that George Walker Bush's miraculous victory in 2004 is doubly miraculous considering the erosion in his rural base.

The "surge" in Bush supporters supposedly came from WASP-ish instant voters that spontaneously generated themselves in large urban centers and pulled the "W" lever. It certainly didn't come from the traditional Democratic base, and what's more, these phantom voters were mute apparitions that wafted into polling stations, and did not share their inspiration with pollsters.

We're told that "security moms" and energized evangelicals brought it home for Bush, but maybe, just maybe, the energy didn't come from the base. Below find a few paragraphs from Collins' piece.

by Michael Collns

June 13, 2007

The night of November 2, 2004, was exhilarating or devastating, depending on how you voted and where you were. If you were a rural conservative who voted based on your religious affinity to Bush, you were elated. You were also relieved, because your peers had not turned out with the same enthusiasm that they had shown in 2000. If you were in the suburbs and had campaigned hard for Kerry, you were probably devastated. After all that work in your first campaign ever, the big crowds and the optimistic polls, your man lost. But if you were white, living in a large city, and probably a returning voter after missing several elections, you were positively exuberant. You and your like-minded peers continued George W. Bush’s reign as the 43rd President of the United States. It was a miracle.

This election was a sight to see. Few in the country had the vantage point of network news commentators. Throughout the day these experts received a stream of information from the exit polls of the National Election Pool (NEP). Sponsored by a media consortium consisting of the four major television networks plus CNN and the Associated Press, the NEP provided the most sophisticated polling data ever.

The pundits had the national Exit Poll of 13,660 respondents  and parallel State Exit Polls of over 77,000 respondents. The NEP was the only source on "who voted for each candidate; why the voters in each area made critical choices; and where geographical differences on candidates and issues were a factor."

If you paid attention and knew your craft, you were on fire. Election 2004 was the best thing to happen since Truman beat Dewey and you probably weren’t around for that. It was a unique moment. Just a day or two after the election, experienced analyst Charles Cook practically gushed after he studied the exit polls saying the Bush effort was "...unquestionably ...the best planned, best executed presidential campaign ever."

Based on what he knew at the time, this made sense. Cook reflected that, "Perhaps the most interesting, and maybe puzzling, exit poll finding is that (compared to 2000) Kerry lost 11 points among the 13 percent of Americans who live in cities with populations over 500,000, while President Bush jumped up 13 points (since 2000)." He concluded that the surprising urban performance, required for a Bush win, was a result of defections from the Kerry camp by black, Latinos, and Jewish voters. This is the stuff of legends.

Cook’s analysis pinpointed the actual location the Bush victory: urban voters. His mistake was to think that the normal Democratic constituencies in the cities did anything different from what they had always done. Cook himself was one of a few who actually saw and understood the critical role large cities played in providing the Bush victory margin.

The Conventional Wisdom

On election eve, a different story prevailed. While they had access to the same exit polls that Cook had, the news people did not notice the same trends and numbers that Cook noticed. Network anchors and others talked about the red-versus-blue battle. There were the very red rural evangelicals, almost all white. The media rolled out the newly minted "security moms" in the purple suburbs plus the true blue Democrats in our largest cities, a predictable group if there ever was one. Unlike Cook, who studied the exit polls, the popular news casters assumed that the Rove strategy had materialized.

It was all about country versus city, red versus blue and sotto voce white versus non white. They were right about an election; but that election had taken place four years earlier. The public received a regurgitation of election 2000 analysis for 2004. The follow up consensus was formed from this inaccurate analysis. The remarkable Rove had done it again with those energized evangelicals. And, he’d grabbed enough van driving suburban moms to make the difference.

USA Today echoed much of the analysis when they concluded their election wrap up with this insight:

In the end, the states broke for Bush much as they did in 2000. Bush lost one state that he won in 2000: New Hampshire. Late Wednesday, the Associated Press reported New Mexico went to Bush. Iowa was still undecided. Both states backed Gore in 2000.

During the week or so after Election Day, there were additional flourishes added to the portrait of Bush’s remarkable victory. He had captured the values voters, a new demographic. These voters cast aside their normal allegiances and turned red in a full embrace of the values of the administration. According to the National Exit Poll, Bush supposedly achieved another remarkable feat. He moved the Latino vote from a Democratic mainstay to a competitive playing field. Unlike the typical 60-40% margins Democrats counted on, in 2004 Latino votes were divided 54% - 46%, a 12 point swing. These two additional "findings" hinted at but did not address directly the Bush urban wave.

There was no broad public debate on the legitimacy of the outcome. Intensive debate on the Internet was stimulated by accidental release of preliminary exit poll data throughout Election Day which showed Kerry winning 51% to 48%. Totaling over 11,000 respondents, these polls were marked "Not for on air use." This fueled charges of election fraud due to the winning margin for Kerry in all exit polls but the final released on the day after the election. In addition, the debate focused on what was called the red shift, Bush victory in a number of key states, all of which were said to be outside the margin of error for the poll. Aside from these interesting but largely ignored exchanges, Americans settled in for four more years of George Bush...


Originally posted to reprehensor on Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 07:22 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You're going to get slammed for copyright (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    issues. Please limit the quoted section to about three paragraphs.

  •  It's good stuff, BUT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goon 01

    ... you quoted way, way, way too much of the source material.  Go back and edit your diary, and summarize and/or restate the author's words.  

    The generally accepted amount you're able to quote is three or four paragraphs: you quoted twelve.  It's a copyright violation and is also a bannable offense.  Sorry.  But please edit it, because I'm interested not only in the author's words but in your analysis.

    PS: It's also a good idea to put blockquote tags around quoted portions.

    i am jack's complete lack of surprise -- fight club

    by bustacap on Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 07:49:11 AM PDT

  •  yes, how "remarkable" (0+ / 0-)

    the same scenario will repeat itself in 2008 if we pick Hillary.  At that point, I will have to find a third party.

    •  Why just Hillary? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm not a big fan of hers, but the MSM will make up all kinds of narrative about any of our candidates, both before and after the elections.
      I'm still waiting to see what Congress does about screwy balloting, among other things.

      •  You're right about that (0+ / 0-)

        the media will smear any Democrat.   Edwards is the one they fear the most which is why all the mudslinging.  

        The irony would be if Hillary actually won. I recall Karl Rove saying that "Dean, he's the guy WE want to run against" in 2004.  

        Now I think Hillary is the one THEY want to run against in 2008.

  •  I'm shocked. Shocked that you (4+ / 0-)

    are still able to post at the Daily Kos. BTW, my cat loved this diary and all of your other conspiracy theory diaries here and at 911blogger. She is a very big fan.

    "Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." ~ Diderot

    by Bouwerie Boy on Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 08:16:11 AM PDT

  •  The sticky tags (0+ / 0-)

    are election fraud and election integrity. I gave you both.  

    Many Kossacks bookmark tag links so it is easy to find new diaries on favorite or hot issues.  Some even add them to their blog rolls to make them easy to find regardless of what computer they are using.  That is an excellent reason to learn to use standard tags in your diaries.


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    Way too much Michael Collins here, way too little of you.

  •  Anomalous Election (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, HudsonValleyMark

    You don't have to be enamored of "conspiracy theories" to recognize that 2004 was an extremely unusual election.  The striking thing about the election was the dramatic number of "new votes" that were attracted by both candidates.  Bush '04 drew approximately 9 million more votes than Bush '00.  Historically, when a candidate increases his vote total from one election to the next it is almost invariably the result of a shift of votes away from the other party (e.g. the increase in votes for Reagan '80 over Ford '76 is very comparable to the decrease in votes for Carter '80 vs. Carter '76).  However, Kerry '04 drew about 2 million more votes than Gore + Nader '00, so Bush's "surge" can't be accounted for by a shift away from the Dems.  As I said, this kind of pattern is unprecedented.  The pattern is particularly striking in Florida, which I studied fairly closely.  Notably, Kerry drew more votes in Florida than Gore + Nader, but Bush '04 drew a lot more votes in Florida than Bush '00.  If you look at it on a county-by-county basis, you also see that a lot of these new Bush votes did come from urban counties like Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, etc., and not from rural counties where you would expect to find a lot of evangelical voters.  I don't know if this proves a conspiracy, but there is certainly a very interesting unanswered question out there: who were all these new urban voters who turned out in droves for Bush in '04?  It is a scandal that I have never heard anybody in the MSM even talking about that.  [I do have a theory that could account for this without a conspiracy: a lot of these voters were "Perot voters" who sat out the '00 election but came out heavily for Bush in '04 because of their militaristic viewpoints].

    •  first someone would need to establish the fact (0+ / 0-)

      of "new urban voters who turned out in droves for Bush in '04." As I pointed out elsewhere, an estimate based on 24 exit poll precincts isn't going to do it.

      In New York City, Bush did get (in the official count) about 186K more votes than in 2000, while Kerry got about 119K more than Gore. Bush thus increased his vote share from 18% to 24%. That's not in line with the national estimate. The New York state pre-election polls slightly understated Kerry's margin, so I don't have any particular reason to suspect jiggering with the NYC vote tallies.

      In Cleveland, Bush got about 6K more voters in 2004 than in 2000, Kerry got about 34K more than Gore, and thus Bush's share was basically unchanged while Kerry's was about 3 points higher (no Nader voters).

      We would have to go city by city by city. Miami? hell if I know. Maybe you already have those numbers.

  •  White ghost urban voters--- (0+ / 0-)

    what I've always believed also with all the research I've done on that flukey election.  And as the article shows, when you study the actual numbers, nothing bears out that huge increase in urban voters for Bush.  Didn't happen.  Had to compromise the real numbers to jive with "official" election results.  
     All those people stood in lines in the rain in inner city neighborhoods, like in Cleveland, for hours to vote for their favorite president ever---Bush----and to vote Republican for the first time ever because everything was so peachy-keen in this country at the time and everyone just loved the Iraq war and Bush policies really favored the interests of big cities?  Impossible.    

  •  Peeling off the foil? (0+ / 0-)

    I've never been convinced by the "conspiracy theorists" but I've been willing to see them post here.

    Meanwhile I've been reading more and more detail about caging, denying votes to felons and people who have names like felons  (you know, Tyrone Johnson and Juan Garcia), purges of the voting rolls, phony "election fraud" cases, US Attorneys fired because they wouldn't get aboard the "election fraud" juggernaut, legislative moves to require voter I.D.s, mid-decade redistricting in Texas that denied minoritites their rights under the Voting Rights Act, not to forget Blackwell's outrages in Ohio, and assorted other nationwide efforts to tamper with free and fair elections. Have we heard it all yet?

    Well, gradually I feel the tinfoil being peeled away tiny strip by tiny strip. Say, that's a beautiful coat of fur on that cat -- under the little bit of tinfoil still atop its head.

  •  Mark Crispin Miller comments... (0+ / 0-)

    "By now, it should be clear to everyone that Bush & Co. stole their "re-election" in 2004-not only in Ohio but from coast to coast. That massive and unprecedented civic crime should now be clear to all Americans, because the evidence has been presented in a dazzling range of books and articles and documentaries, all of which have proven that the Bush regime has never been elected.

    And yet the facts are still unknown to most of us, because they've mostly been denied, those crucial books and articles and films suppressed, both by the Democratic Party and the media, whose managers can't bring themselves to face the awful truth (or, in some cases, have colluded with the Bush Republicans). And so we've had to fight to let the people know what has been happening, and is now happening, to their democracy. That we will win this fight there is no doubt; and when we do, the people will, as usual, eventually decide to do what's right--but all of it depends on our continued efforts to disseminate the truth despite the silence of the whole Establishment.

    In this necessary struggle Scoop, and Michael Collins in particular, have played a major role; and here again they have produced an indispensable report, which all who still believe in our democracy must read at once, then send out far and wide. "Urban Legend" offers still more solid evidence of a deliberate effort to distort the actual outcome of the presidential contest in 2004--a race that Kerry/Edwards won, and that Bush lost, because the red majority that putatively "re-elected" him did not exist."

    • Mark Crispin Miller, June 13, 2007.
  •  this article is a mess (0+ / 0-)

    Practically the whole thing is based on a single table from the 2004 national exit poll subsample, compared with a similar table from the 2000 national subsample. The 2004 version incorporates data from about (maybe exactly) 24 precincts in large cities. There is no reason to expect interviews in 24 precincts to provide an accurate measure of large city turnout and vote shares nationwide.

    If one really wants to know whether Bush got 'too many' votes in big cities, one could actually look at the big-city returns. (Or one might at least try to figure out where the big-city precincts in the national subsample were -- that might provide some clues.)

    •  You didn't ? (0+ / 0-)

      If you didn't click on the Continued and go to the longer article, then you missed the table of Actual Big City Returns, which indicated that turnout was up about 16%, in those cities for which figures were available.  

      It's easy to find figures for a big city county -- e.g., Dallas County, or Harris County (Houston). But In many cases it's difficult to find the figures for the city within the county. The county figures, of course, include suburban voters. But the table lists the share of votes in more than half the big cities.

      •  yes, I read the whole thing (0+ / 0-)

        OK, turnout was up about 16% in big cities. What is your point?

        •  So what did you mean? (0+ / 0-)

          If one really wants to know whether Bush got 'too many' votes in big cities, one could actually look at the big-city returns.

          You said they should have given figures on the big-city returns. The article gave figures. Now you say that you had seen that the article gave the figures. So what did you mean? What was your point?

          •  well, you quoted it (0+ / 0-)

            The article gave TURNOUT figures for the big cities. Knowing what turnout was in big cities doesn't, in itself, help to establish whether Bush got 'too many' votes there.

            Obviously, Kerry did best in big cities -- no matter which version of the exit polls one uses. Collins seems to have convinced himself that the exit pollsters somehow found it expedient to squeeze out extra "votes" for Bush by artificially boosting turnout in the big cities, but that makes no sense. The more one upweights the big cities, the better Kerry would do. (Of course the pollsters could upweight just Bush votes in big cities, but they could have done that anywhere.)

            •  NYC Results (0+ / 0-)

              In 2004, Bush got a remarkable 46.5% increase in his vote total in NYC. Wow! That could make you think he won because of his strong showing in the big cities.

              But that showing in the Big Apple was from a very small "base" -- his totals went from 400,922 in 2000 to 587,534 in 2004. That's an increase of -- are you ready? -- 186,612 votes.

              Meanwhile John Kerry, off a very LARGE base, got a mere 9.9% increase over Gore.

              Kerry's total went from 1,662,911 to 1,828,015 for an increase of 165,104 votes.

              So in NYC, the Democratic margin over Bush shrank by all of 21,508 votes in 2004. This difference was less than 1% of the 2,283,261 votes cast for President (including fringe candidates), a total up 7.7% over 2000.

              If you want to weight the exit poll figures to account for a missing 2 or 3 million Bush voters in the big cities, you'd better ignore the results from biggest one. Then you'd still have to find those 2 or 3 million "ghost" urban votes somewhere else.

              •  who says there are 2 or 3 million ghost votes? (0+ / 0-)

                If you think they are out there, how about you find them? I've seen no evidence that they exist. I certainly don't think one can infer their existence based on this article.

                NYC contributed five of the 26 (I've checked the number) "big city" precincts in the national sample. Bush voters were substantially upweighted relative to Kerry voters, but the vote counts are as you describe.

                Chicago contributed another four of the 26, and had even larger relative Bush upweights -- but Kerry got about 74K votes more than Gore, while Bush got less than 25K more in 2004 than in 2000.

                In principle, the 'ghost votes' could be in any of the 32 or so "big cities" in the country, whether they were in the national subsample or not. Or they could be nowhere, and the table could just be off.

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