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Was Dem Sweep Really about Iraq?

According to the latest news:

“The top U.S. commander in the Middle East warned Congress Wednesday against setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, putting him at odds with resurgent Democrats pressing President Bush to start pulling out of the violence-torn country.

Gen. John Abizaid spoke as the Senate Armed Services Committee began re-examining U.S. policy in the wake of last week’s elections, which gave Democrats control of Congress starting next year and was widely seen as a repudiation of the administration’s war policies.”

When pundits are asked why the Republicans lost the congress, the typical answer is, “Americans are fed up with the Iraq War.”

But is this the real reason? Somehow, I think the two most important factors for any sweeping change — perceptions of economy and corruption — were probably more important. I have yet to see a proper analysis of exit polls that details which factor (Iraq, economy, or corruption) was the most influential to people’s vote. I hope political scientists will examine the exit polls soon (this is why they call political science “slow journalism”). The best we have now are rudimentary analyses of exit polls:

Among those answering “Extremely important” to “very important” to questions of how important was _________ to your vote today:

IMPORTANCE OF IRAQ: 67%
IMPORTANCE OF CORRUPTION/ETHICS: 74%
IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMY: 82%

Looking just at the Senate race in Ohio…

IMPORTANCE OF IRAQ: 64%
IMPORTANCE OF ECONOMY: 83%

I can’t tell from this data, but this seems to show that the economy was more important than the Iraq War.

On a side note, the scariest statistic for a mature, modern democracy is this statistic:

Percentage of those who are very confident — the highest category — that votes will be counted accurately: 46%

The somewhat confidents are 41%. How could we be in America and only be “somewhat” confident that our votes will be counted accurately? This is scary, scary business.

2 comments to Was Dem Sweep Really about Iraq?

  • Morgan

    Again, I blame the media. The top stories of the election day were that the voting booths were all going to fail or be rigged. The paper ballots were too open to interpretation (hanging chats indeed). On electronic ballots, I saw over ten separate news pieces on how they could be compromised. Who can blame the public for not having any confidence in the electorial system?

    The truth is that it is next to impossible for a conspiracy to try to fake an election. The number of people needed would be too large to keep it a secret. It’s just another media ploy to sensationalize a slow news day.

  • Joshua

    I beg to differ on the ability of governments to fake elections. There are quite a lot of things people in power can do to fake them; voter intimidation, having the head of the board of elections be the same person that heads the political campaign of a contending party (e.g. Blackwell in 2004), and, in some countries, just out-right misreporting of the votes.

    A good movie to see is “Streetfight,” about the Newark, NJ mayoral race between Sharpe James and
    Cory Booker. James was the incumbent and was caught on camera abusing his political power to sway an election.

    That this can happen in America is alarming.