Friday, October 17, 2014

The Social Issues And The Electoral College

Here's an excerpt from a good post by Henry Olsen:

It’s common wisdom among most members of the establishment, Democrat or Republican, that “social issues” are a weakness for GOP presidential contenders. The evidence for that idea usually consists of national polls showing majorities in favor of various liberal social themes. These data ought not to be ignored, but they can obscure as much as they inform. The most important question is rarely asked: Are national liberal majorities geographically distributed in such a way as to produce an Electoral College majority?

A recent 50-state poll from the YouGov polling firm, however, uniquely throws some light on this question’s answer. Careful analysis shows liberals ought to curb their enthusiasm….

Same-sex marriage is opposed by a plurality in only 19 states with a total of 180 electoral votes. Romney carried all of these states, and four of the states he carried (Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Kansas) have pluralities in favor of same-sex marriage….

Majorities in seven purple states (Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) also endorse the conservative position on abortion. In sum, pro-life sentiments command majority or plurality support in 31 states with a total of 314 electoral votes.

Another factor we have to keep in mind is how much an issue affects the way people vote. Even if a plurality or majority supports same-sex marriage, for example, how high does that issue rank in the voters' priorities?

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