Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Completely Anecdotal

As I drove my children home from school yesterday I noticed something exceedingly peculiar. Between school and home lies a municipal park, with the usual playground, along with baseball diamonds a soccer/football configuration, basketball and tennis courts and a field house. I was stopped at a traffic light when I saw it - a line spilling out of the fieldhouse on to the wide sidewalk fronting the building. I had no way of knowing just how many people were standing in line, but it was clearly in the mid double digits. As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I tried to imagine why that many people would be standing in line on a Tuesday afternoon. Had the Fall/Winter programs become so popular that people were waiting in lines to use the limited health club facilities?

Then it hit me - EARLY VOTING.

These people were waiting in line to cast ballots. These early voters did not fit the "profile" of early voters that I have reading about - namely young and minority --- the so-called "Obama base." No, these voters were middle-aged and older, lots of women, and all of them were white. As the light turned green, I was thinking that there must have been some kind of organized effort to bring out the early vote, and that I should ask the wife if our precinct captain had been in touch... and I didn't think anything more about it as I drove on.

Two hours later, my wife came home. The first words out of her mouth were, "Do you know that there is a line at the fieldhouse for early voting?" When I told her that I had seen it as well two hours before, she gave me a stunned look.

Immediately, I got on the phone and called my precinct captain, an earnest woman in her late 50s, She is both effective and unobtrusive (no mean feat!). Voter turnout in our precinct routinely hits the 80-85% mark. Our conversation was both brief and stunning. The gist was that she had not made any effort regarding early voting. All of these people had come out on their own. The line had been consistent since early in the morning. She figured that in our precinct alone (the field house is the voting site for 5 precincts) over 90 people voted during the first day! She believed that there were similar numbers in the rest of the precincts. I asked if she had any idea of who was voting, and she said she had -- nearly every single voter was a registered Democrat. I realize that this is (as the title states) completely anecdotal, but McCain is in deep deep shit if middle-aged white people are willing to wait in line to cast an early ballot for Obama. These are "votes in the bank" that no amount of mud-slinging and fear-mongering can undo.


Carlos said...

Illinois is a lock for Obama. I hope your evidence holds true for OH, PA, FL, IA, MI, CO, NM, VA, etc. Knowing how well organized the Obama campaign is, the Illinois effort could very well be a test run for the battleground states.

I'm Not Ned said...

Here's my anecdotal observation:

I just spent 5 days driving through Ohio, W. Virginia, Virginia, N. Carolina and Tennessee and was simply amazed at the number of Obama supporters with signs posted in their yards.

I wasn't in any suburban/urban areas, just very small towns (<1,000 pop.) and rural areas.

I think people finally get it.