Monday, May 18, 2009

Gross Generalizations

During an exercise in the usual media double-standard where Republican culture is rehabilitated and framed as more complex than straightforward Democratic culture Kleinheider speculates on a single demographic that he says put Obama in the White House:
Much of the credit for Obama victory has gone to his "expanded electorate," the surge of support from minorities and the young. These two previously unengaged groups were integral to his victory, but not crucial. It was the most affluent 5 percent of voters who gave Obama his margin of victory in November.
While not having had dissected the statistics from the November election results myself, I can rely on my past experience to tell me that I could probably take a look at the stats and find a demographic (or cluster of like demographics) other than "the affluent" who might have given Obama his margin of victory.

And my argument would be just as supported by the data as Kleinhieder's as published in the City Paper, since he provides no warrants. He appears to expect you to take his interpretations on faith. And don't you dare ask how he operationalized "integral" vs. "crucial."

1 comment:

  1. Given that Obama won by more than 5%, the top 5% earners cannot realistically have been "crucial" to Obama's margin (at least in popular vote) except in a purely technical way. Obama won by over 6%. So, even if Obama had blown out McCain by 80% to 20% among the top 5% income bracket, then 3/4 of those voters would have to switch to McCain before the election would be close.

    Moreover, this question is only interesting if there was a swing in that demographic toward Obama large enough to make the difference.

    In any event, Obama did not even win the wealthy vote, so the point is just plain wrong: