October 09, 2003

Comments

Matt,

I was thinking that a San Fran/L.A. rivalry story might be appropriate considering the fairly large differences between the two metropolitan areas. Knowing how much they hate Southern California, this will spawn conspiracy stories in the Bay Area for years.

Btw, what is up with the alt-weekly anyway? Seems like a good arguement for drug legalisation.

Posted by: Bob at October 9, 2003 01:21 AM

Mistah Weekly? He dead. Or at least sleeping. Hope springs eternal, I'm told, but I've long since stopped thinking about it.

Posted by: Matt Welch at October 9, 2003 01:53 AM

Voter turnout on Tuesday was NOT much greater than in November.

Ballots cast Tuesday: 7,978,767
Ballots cast in Nov.: 7,738,781
Difference: Barely 3%

Now, 262,470 of the votes in November were cast with no vote for governor. But even if you subtract those out, the turnout Tuesday is not overwhlemingly higher.

Another interesting fact in comparing the two elections: Gray Davis held his base.

In November, Davis won the election with 3,533,490 votes. On Tuesday, the pro-Davis vote ("No on Recall") was 3,562,487.

One more stat:

In November, Davis won with 47.4% of the votes cast for governor (Simon got 42.4%).

On Tuesday, Arnold received 48.7 percent -- meaning he received both a higher percentage and more total votes (3.74 million to 3.53 million) on Tuesday than Davis got last November.

Source for all these stats, which are a very interesting read, is the Secretary of State's election returns website: http://vote2003.ss.ca.gov/index.html

Posted by: Mark at October 9, 2003 09:22 AM

I'm not a Cooper fan at all, but that piece really nailed it.

Posted by: Jesse Walker at October 9, 2003 10:28 AM

"Voter turnout on Tuesday was NOT much greater than in November."

Sure it was. You're looking at the votes counted, instead of ballots cast.

2002 election: 7,594,228
http://vote2002.ss.ca.gov/Returns/status.htm
2003 election: 8,363,376
http://vote2003.ss.ca.gov/Returns/status.htm

Difference: 10.1%

Posted by: tc at October 9, 2003 10:39 AM

I am curious as to how much of the money raised by the various Dem. committees and party was actually spent on the recall election. Did they bank a good sized portion of the money for use next year when they might have a better use for it than defending Davis?

Not making accusations of "strategery", just curious as to how the higher ups in the Dem party looked at the recall and how they could make it benefit the party the most by hedging bets.

Posted by: Fred at October 9, 2003 11:53 AM

TC: Thanks for the clarification. You're right, turnout was about 10 percent higher. But still far short of the "massive turnout" that was predicted.

From today's SJ Mercury News:

"The final turnout may not be known for a week or more, but as of Wednesday afternoon, about 8.3 million votes had been counted, with an additional 750,000 to 1 million absentee and provisional ballots expected to be tallied, said Terri Carbaugh, assistant secretary of state. "With just fewer than 15.4 million registered voters in California, turnout probably will be in the neighborhood of 60 percent, Carbaugh said.

That would eclipse the dismal 50.6 percent turnout in last year's gubernatorial election. It would be on par with gubernatorial races from 1986 to 1998, but well below the 70 percent or more of registered Californians who typically vote in presidential elections.

``With this much media attention on such a focused issue in such a short period of time, you might say, `My goodness, turnout ought to be 90 percent,' '' said Mark Petracca, an associate professor of political science at the University of California-Irvine. ``But the fact that there wasn't such a colossal turnout I'm not sure is surprising, given the tendency in this state toward lower and lower turnout.''

Posted by: mark at October 9, 2003 12:04 PM

I always want to correct this one meme: the recall could not be an afront to democracy -- it is democracy in action.

That said, we don't live in a democracy. At least not a direct one -- we live in a democratic republic. And this type of thing has the potential for causing problems in our governance system. Time will tell if it does cause any wide problems, but I doubt it. It was a circus, and would have damaged the credibility of American politics -- if there was any credibility left to be damaged.

Posted by: Timothy Klein at October 12, 2003 02:42 PM

I think we technically the US has three systems of government, all working together... a democracy, a republic, and an oligarchy. Each is limited to controlling areas that their form of government excels at, and each maintains these limits by preventing the others from encroaching upon their political territory.

It's really rather brilliant, and its continued success in the face of rapidly accelerating changes is a testament to the wisdom of those who founded it.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at October 12, 2003 06:35 PM
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