St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Women, blacks, atheists powered Claire's win

Claire McCaskill can thank women, African Americans and atheists for her victory in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race this year. These were the groups where there were significant shifts in party preference, relative turnout, or both, when compared to the 2004 presidential election, according to the Edison/Mitofsky Missouri exit polls for both years. The polls are published by CNN.

McCaskill won by getting bigger margins among voters who traditionally favor Democrats, and by those groups comprising a bigger share of electorate.

Perhaps the most decisive change in McCaskill’s favor was the return of the gender gap. Among male voters, Talent defeated McCaskill by the same five-point margin as Bush defeated Kerry. But it was a different story among women. McCaskill won 51% of women’s votes, six points better than Kerry, while Talent lagged nine points behind Bush. (In 2004, Edison/Mitofsky reported that Bush won among both men and women, and actually did better among women.)

McCaskill’s advantage among women was magnified by a surge in relative turnout. Women comprised 55% of the electorate this year, up two points over 2004. So her advantage was magnified by their greater weight.

The party vote of African Americans remained fairly constant from 2004 to 2006, but turnout is what made the difference. Blacks had given Kerry a 90%-10% advantage in 2004. This year, in spite of McCaskill’s neglect of black voters and Talent’s visible outreach towards them, McCaskill actually improved slightly upon Kerry, winning 91%-8%. But what made the black vote noteworthy was relative turnout, with African Americans comprising 13% of the electorate this year, compared to only 8% in 2004.

The opposite was true among voters lacking any religious affiliation, but the result still favored McCaskill. This group comprised 9% of the electorate both years. But McCaskill picked up eight points among atheists, routing Talent by 60 points, 78%-18%, significantly better than Kerry’s 72%-26% margin among that group.

At the other end of the religious spectrum, white “born again” Christians favored Talent over McCaskill, 74%-24%, virtually identical to advantage they had given Bush over Kerry. But that advantage was a little less meaningful this year, as those voters comprised only 31% of the electorate, compared to 35% in Bush’s victory in 2004.

All of the 2006 changes weren’t in Claire’s favor. Roman Catholics, who had given Kerry a one-point advantage in Missouri in 2004, went for Talent, 51%-46%. This is probably attributable to the high-profile opposition of both Talent and Roman Catholic leaders to the Missouri stem cell research ballot initiative. Catholic voters opposed that constitutional amendment by a 10-point margin, less than expected but by more than the margin they gave Talent, but Talent still benefitted among the 21% of the electorate in that bloc.

Perhaps the most surprising counter trend that helped keep the election close was the vote among senior citizens 65 and over. After having backed Kerry, 52%-48%, enough of them switched to give Talent a 50-47% advantage. The switch was more meaningful because of a surge in the bloc’s relative turnout, moving from just 11% of the electorate in 2004 up to 17% this year.


Blogger The Libertarian Guy (tm) said...

How many of the bogus ACORN voter registrations, translated into successful (but still bogus) Democrat votes?

It's a rhetorical question, as we may never know exactly, but it's fun to ponder...

November 25, 2006 at 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its surprising senior citizens voted against McCaskill? What would you expect with all the "Claire hates seniors" ads? These trends are very interesting though. It confirms what most of us know, the ladies are running things.

November 28, 2006 at 12:44 PM  

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