Election Math

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Recently I came across this gem of a comment:

“So what if montanan dems are a minority? That’s the core of the constituency that is needed to reelect him.”

Lets determine the truth of this statement. Will Montana Democrats determine the outcome of this election? Looking at the last few election years, it’s pretty striking that there are generally in the vicinity of 150.000 to 160,000 votes for whatever Democrat is running against Denny Rehberg. I’d say that’s Tester’s base, the people he can count on. The last time Barack Obama was also on the ballot, Denny got 308,000 votes, give or take. That’s his base – if he were running against Generic Democrat, he could count on that. If Tester is going to close the gap, he’ll have to do it with some combination of energizing people on the left and stealing Denny’s voters. Given that Barack Obama could only get 230,000 votes from Montana, it stands to reason that even if Jon Tester were to energize as many people as Barack Obama, presumably by moving as far left as he has, he would still be 70,000 votes short – even if he didn’t lose anyone in the center.

The other alternative is to take some of the votes that Denny Rehberg is counting on. If he gained his same 70,000 votes (the number he could conceivably gain by moving left to Obama’s position) in this fashion, he would have a fighting chance of defeating Denny Rehberg, because every vote he gains from the center is a vote Rehberg can’t count on. In other words, energizing the base will never get him in nearly the position gaining the support of the center will. We who form Jon Tester’s base may feel like we are very special because supported him first, we were the true fans, but we are a minority, and we will not be deciding this election. All the fawning by liberal true believers is not going to get an ideologically pure progressive in the Senate. It may seem a bit unromantic, but the next six years of legislation (and likely decades of jurisprudence) will be determined by whatever side can win over the undecided centrists while maintaining the pragmatic, perhaps begrudging loyalty of its base.

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The Polish Wolf

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Mal GillsThe Polish WolfNorma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)lizardlarry kurtz Recent comment authors
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Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Voter enthusiasm is the key.

I see infighting and bickering amongst your ranks, doesn’t bode well. I started commenting on political blogs shortly before the ’08 race. Your side had excitement, awash in hope and change. Even with that emotional tsunami only 3000 votes decided the election.

Deflation now rules the day. Denny wins by 15000+ votes.

JC
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So you are saying the montana dems aren’t Tester’s core constituency? And I never asserted that they would, of and by themselves, “determine the outcome of this election.” “If Tester is going to close the gap, he’ll have to do it with some combination of energizing people on the left…” Good luck with that one. “All the fawning by liberal true believers is not going to get an ideologically pure progressive in the Senate.” I don’t know who these liberal true believers are that you speak of, but I sure am not one. Nor do I believe that there is… Read more »

James Conner
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See Graph 3 at http://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2011/july_september/2011-07-22_daines_dollars_dwarfs_dem_dollars.html. Nancy Keenan was the last Democrat to run a strong campaign against Rehberg. I think your metric understands the size of Tester’s base. I would use his tally from 2006 and adjust it for the expected turnout in 2012. I also think your choice of 2008 for Rehberg’s base overstates its size. John Driscoll won the Democratic nomination, then refused to campaign. In every functional sense he threw the election to Rehberg, one of the ugliest acts of political disloyalty and sabotage in Montana history. That’s why Rehberg received so many votes. His vote total… Read more »

James Conner
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Understates, not understands. Apply corrections as necessary.

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

One in every 7 votes is cast is in Yellowstone County.

If that % goes into the middle or high 50’s game over.

And if you think that Jon has such big ranching creds how come he lost his own rural county?

Mal Gills
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Mal Gills

He didn’t lose his own county…

Ingemar Johansson
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Mal Gills
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Mal Gills

Oh! sorry, I mistakenly assumed that by “his own county” you meant the one he grew up and farmed on–Chouteau County, where he won 52% of the vote.

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson
Mal Gills
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Mal Gills

Touche. I was looking at some bad data.

Craig Moore
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Craig Moore

I see I am no longer blocked. It takes some people a devilish amount of time to get over their petty acts of virtuous behavior. As to the topic, good luck with energizing the Left: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/12/18/929996/-Jon-Tester-and-the-DREAM-Act There are Democrats I expect to be assholes. I never thought Jon Tester would be among them. Anybody who votes to punish innocent kids is an asshole. Plain and simple. And while I expect it from Democrats like Ben Nelson and C-Street denizen Mark Pryor, I honestly thought Jon Tester was different. I was wrong. I am now embarrassed that I worked so hard… Read more »

Ingemar Johansson
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Ingemar Johansson

Make sure you read the comments Craig.

Priceless.

Don Pogreba
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It doesn’t take some people long to revert to form, either.

Mark Tokarski
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Mark Tokarski

It should be noted that for democrats to “defeat the filibuster,” they only need stop enabling it. They could have done so in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Case closed.

larry kurtz
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“New DSCC polling, analysis suggests Ryan pick shifting Senate map to favor Ds. Watch patterns in AZ, FL, MT, ND, NM, NV.” @thenation John Nichols [email protected]

Norma Duffy (@Ilikewoods)
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I think the GOP lost the battle for senate here, when Romney people were picked, over Paul people for the National Convention. The war on women, Rehbergs and the MTGOP’s treasons to fishing and hunting folk…. Romney’s Ryan pick scaring the Oldsters down here badly….. I think Tester’s gonna win impressively, I am giving him a 7 point lead Election day. I also believe following Nate Silvers Data that Obama will close the gap in Montana and be closer to winning then he was in 2008. Again it will be because of the Independents and libertarians being punked and dissatisfied… Read more »

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