What Happened?

At the risk of sounding like the king of sour grapes, I’m going to strap on my tin-foil hat and make a suggestion for all of you to ponder.

Is it possible that the Clintons stole the New Hampshire primary?

Now, before you lambaste me with every imaginable accusation, call me a crybaby or suggest various unpleasant methods of torture to allow me to pay penance for my transgressions against the Hill-Cat, I’m not saying that it happened. I’m merely suggesting that there is a possibility that something isn’t quite right, and I’d like to share with you why I feel that way.


First of all, let’s look at the obvious… polling. If we’re to believe that the polling was accurate (and coming from so many different sources with almost identical numbers it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t), then we are to believe that between Monday evening and Tuesday night Hillary Clinton gained 15 percentage points on Barack Obama. If that actually took place, then surely it would have to be the most amazing comeback in political history and is as far as I know unprecedented (without the factors of death or major scandal).

The poll numbers were so overwhelming that we saw the Clinton camp almost concede defeat in the early afternoon. But if the numbers were incorrect, why did even their internal polls offer the exact same assessment? How is it possible that every poll, all independent of one another, could be so incredibly wrong for the Democratic race, but almost dead-on accurate for the Republican nomination? The RCP poll average predicted that the New Hampshire Republican Primary would finish exactly as it did, with almost startling accuracy in percentages. How is it possible that these same polls, conducted by these same agencies, could be so woefully inaccurate when applied to the Democratic nomination?

Polls aside, let’s move into the important issues surrounding the actual statistics in this election. Polls can be wrong (although they’re rarely THIS wrong), human error is a factor, but what about the hard numbers?

There are around 850,836 registered total voters in New Hampshire. Of those voters, 26% are Democrats, 30% are Republican and 44% Independent. To break those down into hard numbers, the approximate totals in each party are as follows:

graph.jpg

This is extremely relevant when you note the impact that Barack Obama has had in wooing Independent voters. In exit polls conducted by various organizations, 40% of Independent voters claimed that they cast their vote for Obama. Keep in mind, these are exit polls, they’re not scientific, but they’re substantially more accurate than pre-election phone polls.

An overview of the registered voters vs. the actual votes cast suggests that New Hampshire experienced a turnout of around 60%. Since every statistic I can find lumps Independent voters in with the party that they cast votes for, we can take the 60% number, apply it to the total of registered Independents and roughly project an Independent turnout of 224,620. If the exit polling data holds true, Barack Obama should have received approximately 89,848 votes from Independents.

Unfortunately, we can be fairly certain that he didn’t… or if he did, they weren’t calculated. How so? Well, Obama’s final vote tally rang up to 102,883 total votes. If the numbers held true for Obama in the Independent electorate, he could have only received 13,035 votes from registered Democrats. It is certainly true that Senator Clinton held a lead over Senator Obama among registered Democrats, but certainly not one so commanding that Obama could only muster support from less than 15,000 of them. To put that in perspective, Bill Richardson received 12,987 votes.

It should also be noted that any expert or just regular New Hampshirian on the street could tell you that a high turnout of Independents would bode very well for the Obama campaign. Exactly how high was the Independent turnout? Since statistics on that don’t seem to be present, let’s paint a picture with what we do know. As I mentioned before, there are 221,217 registered Democrats in New Hampshire. Even if every single registered Democrat hit the polls yesterday, it would still only make up 79% of the total votes cast in the Democratic Primary.

So, in an effort to determine how large the Obama-friendly Independent turnout may have been, we can certainly assume that it was at least 20% of the electorate… and that’s only if every single Democrat in New Hampshire made it to the polls and stuck with the party, and I think you’d have a hard time selling that theory.

Of course, the intrigue doesn’t stop there. New information has come to light this afternoon, calling into question not only the unusual swing in the polls, but the very machines on which the votes were counted. If you’re a liberal, a blogger or just a conspiracy wonk, you’re probably more than familiar with the controversy surrounding Diebold voting machines. I won’t go into the long back story, but you can click this link and choose from around 77,000 stories of your own.

These machines have proven to be anything but tamper resistant, and at best are unreliable. To this day, many perfectly sane individuals in Ohio refuse to concede the 2004 election to George Bush as a result (and quite a few crazy people as well). As is becoming somewhat commonplace these days, Diebold machines are in use in the great state of New Hampshire, and once again are not without controversy.

Aside from Independents, Barack Obama traditionally polls well in urban areas. Race aside (as the minority population in both Iowa and New Hampshire is, to say the least, small), urban voters have proven to lean more frequently to Obama than any other candidate. As hand counting of votes in more heavily populated, urban areas can be difficult (if not nearly impossible) voting machines were brought in to police the results, avoiding a contest that went well into the next week without a winner. However, in many rural parts of New Hampshire, the good old fashioned hand count is still the favorite means of vote tabulation. Hand counts are, of course, more accurate than voting machines have ever proven to be and as results rolled in, the polls seemed to hold up… not as well as expected, but not thoroughly incorrect.

However, of the 237 voting districts in New Hampshire, only 140 rely on hand counts for results. The remaining votes were tabulated by Diebold machines, and were largely located in areas more likely to support Obama than his rivals. However, there is a rather alarming discrepancy in the final output of these machines:

graph2.jpg

As you can see, Barack Obama held on to a small, but steady lead in all districts relying on hand counted votes, while Senator Clinton pulled an amazing coup in Obama territory judged by machines. In districts tabulated using Diebold machines, Clinton saw an increase of 5.54%, while Obama saw a decrease of 2.96%, for a total swing of 8.5% of the vote. If taken into account the 3% margin of victory obtained by Hillary Clinton, we’re left with an Obama victory of around 5.5%, had the hand counted results held true to form. An Obama victory by 5.5% would have been statistically in line with a January 7th Rassmussen poll that correctly predicted the exact order of the final count in the Republican Primary and the exact order of the final count of the Democratic Primary (had Clinton and Obama flip-flopped positions).

Now, I’d like to make it clear that I am not directly accusing Hillary Clinton, the Clinton campaign team or her supporters of rigging or stealing an election. The point of all of this is to suggest that while it may not necessarily be likely, there are questions regarding this process that are currently going unanswered and large gaps in logic that the mainstream media seems to happily ignore as they pack their bags and head for Michigan and Nevada.

When voters have lost such trust in their government and election system that something like this is even a reasonable argument, we’ve really let our forefathers down. When this kind of thing is accepted at face value without even a hint of media scrutiny, we’ve let our principles down. When we shrug our shoulders and just chalk it up as “one of those things,” we’ve let ourselves down. Obviously Barack Obama cannot call a press conference and challenge these results. Such an action would appear petty, cause his campaign to stutter and almost certainly doom his chances of winning the actual Democratic Primary as a whole. However, I’m not running for president, so I’m allowed to call shenanigans until my heart’s content.

If our elections should remind us of one thing, it’s how fortunate we are to live in a nation where we can choose our own leaders. If this election should remind us of one thing, it’s how fortunate we are to live in a nation that allows us to question the methods by which some actually do it.

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3 Responses to “What Happened?”

  1. Fuck Fiction Says:

    I’ve been reading a ton on this today, and I have to say somethign fishy is going on.

  2. Ok I Lied, another post about Politics « Fuck Fiction Says:

    […] Here is a good blog on some of the numbers, and how they just don’t seem right. […]

  3. jeffffff Says:

    ro bot HOUUUSE!

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