Thursday, January 10, 2008

Easily Confused

(pic of pundits analyzing New Hampshire voters)
There's a lot of analysis of the New Hampshire vote (click on yesterday's graphic from the NYTimes for a whole lotta data), but I'm confused by the correlation of votes and views on the Iraq war. On the Democratic side, the "out of Iraq" vote went to Clinton?

Of the candidates, Richardson was the strongest on withdrawal from Iraq, followed by Obama. Clinton has taken a much slower approach, so how did she win amongst the demographic?
On the Republican side, the results are even weirder. Look at the "approve" and "disapprove" and how the votes breakdown:

McCain, "stay in Iraq 100 years", won the vote of those who disapprove of the Iraq war? As Kevin Drum observes:

Granted: voters are often irrational. And the differences between Obama/Clinton and Romney/McCain on the war are fairly small. Still, Obama is the one who opposed the war from the start and has been more aggressive about calling for a withdrawal. Shouldn't he be getting more support from the get-out-now crowd? And although Romney supports the war, McCain is the dead-endest of the dead-enders. If you don't like the war, shouldn't he be your least favorite candidate?

I'm not sure what explains this. On the Democratic side, Hillary has recently been taking a harder line on withdrawal, and maybe that's showing up here. Or maybe it's just that women are more likely to want to get out of Iraq fast and also more likely to support Hillary. Or maybe Iraq isn't as big a voting issue as we think.

The Republican side is even odder. Why would voters who disapprove of the war overwhelmingly support McCain? Are they reacting to the fact that McCain is constantly claiming that he "disapproved" of the conduct of the war? Has McCain's uber-hawkishness not gotten a lot of play? Or what?

Anyway, not the biggest deal in the world, and it's only one state. But still, a bid odd.

Maybe Iraq has faded as an issue for voters, but it should still be a factor. No wonder the polling numbers are so slippery. The voters aren't predictable. But as a long time political junkie, I'm confused.

1 comment:

Mauigirl said...

Good questions to ask, Pygalgia. As the old saying goes, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. To your point, it may be a coincidence that pro-Hillary voters (maybe women) were also more pro-get-out-of-Iraq.

Or it could be that people are just ignorant of their stands on the issues. Voting is done with the emotions more than the brain, sadly. Maybe people just like McCain more than Romney; or maybe they felt as if, even if we weren't withdrawing from Iraq, at least McCain would handle the mess that W leaves him the best.