Oklahoma election fine print

I'm looking at the fine-print of the election statistics and not liking what I see about Oklahoma.

Obama increased his share of the electorate over Kerry's almost uniformly (by about 6%) across the board -- in some cases, that was enough to tip the state to his column but in other states, it wasn't. That essentially was the election.  This was pretty much in line with the final polls. People who said race was a factor voted identically to those who said it wasn't.  So much for the Bradley effect.  Racism is dead in America. Hurray!

But as usual, the exceptions are interesting.  Obama didn't improve over Kerry's margins in Massachusetts, Alaska or Arizona because those were the home states of Kerry, Palin and McCain.  But Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginiai and Louisiana ... what's up with them?  These are the only states where significant numbers of people who voted for Kerry didn't vote for Obama.  Not happpy that Oklahoma is amongst a handful of states where racists still lurk in large numbers.

Jim Inhofe won without a sweat in Oklahoma.  Even Sarah Palin compares favorabily, corrupt and complexity-free as she may be, to Jim Inhofe.  I didn't expect Inhofe to lose.  But in a heavily Democratic year, one would think that such a bad senator would be somewhat vulnerable.  But no.  Oklahomans will vote for any body as long as he has a (R) by his name.  Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. I noticed the same thing, but I don't think racism per se was the overriding factor. I think Obama was seen as "the other" in many ways:

    Race - Obviously, but there are racists in the deep South as well. Unlike those states, OK just doesn't have a large enough black population to balance out the vote;

    Religion - 10-20% of Americans still think he is Muslim (= terrorist), and the percentage is probably way higher in these particular states;

    Nationalism and security - Obama is "un-American" because his dad was from Kenya, he lived in Indonesia, he favors diplomacy over "killin' terrorists", etc. Some people still claim that Obama's birth certificate was faked and he isn't even a US citizen.

    Socio-economic status - Ivy League millionaire lawyer and "socialist";

    Energy policies - Many people in OK/AR/TX/southern LA are dependent on the oil/natural gas industries, and coal is everything in Appalachia. It's no wonder they don't support a candidate pushing for cleaner energy.

    I'm not saying that all of the McCain voters shown on your map consciously considered all of the above reasons. I do think that at some level, all of these factors contributed to the voters' sense of Obama as someone who was to be avoided and even feared because he was not like them.

    Obama and his campaign staff knew that these states were simply not demographically favorable for Obama. They didn't waste any time campaigning there (there were few electoral votes at stake anyway), so the electorate had no chance to see the candidate for themselves and perhaps revise their opinion.

    Inhofe? I have no explanation for Oklahoma's propensity for Inhofe and his fellow Republicans. When I was growing up Oklahoma had only one Republican representative, and in the history of the state had only ever elected two Republicans to the Senate. All that changed in 1980, and now people seem to think that's the way things have always been. Voters everywhere have short memories, but especially here in Oklahoma.