Tuesday, March 06, 2012

4% of Voting Eligible Tennesseans Vote for Santorum - Some Context of a Primary

From the State of Tennessee's website tonight: 

President - Republican
Michele Bachmann - R 1,790
Newt Gingrich - R 126,251
Jon Huntsman - R 1,143
Gary Johnson - R 542
Ron Paul - R 47,794
Rick Perry - R 1,829
Charles "Buddy" Roemer - R 830
Mitt Romney - R 144,237
Rick Santorum - R 192,765
President - Democratic
Barack Obama - D 68,221

Adding those all up we come up with 585,402 voters in both the Republican and Democratic primaries.

From the United States Election Project website at George Mason University, we learn that Tennessee's voting eligible population  4,621,705.

That means that about 12.6% of Tennessee's voting eligible population voted in Tuesday's primary.

That means about 4.1% of Tennessee's voting eligible population voted for Santorum.  

Tennessee's voter id law took effect January this year requiring voters to have photo id.  Here's the state of Tennessee's website list of acceptable voter id:
Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:
  • Tennessee drivers license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or any state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo
And what id is NOT acceptable?
College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or a state government are NOT acceptable.
And who is exempt from the photo id requirement?
  • Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
  • Voters who are residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility         
  • Voters who are hospitalized
  • Voters with a religious objection to being photographed*
  • Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee
 You might want to go through that list and ask yourself which of the id's that are acceptable are more likely to vote conservative or liberal (say, people with military id's or student id's;  older folks - nursing homes, hospitalized - or younger folks?)

And consider how someone might prove they are indigent.  Or even how an indigent person might.

By the way, the two PSA announcements - first  and second -  don't tell you much more than you need a photo id.  There's nothing about the exceptions.  Or that student ids aren't acceptable. 

Bradblog has a story about a former US Marine who is challenging the law by showing his Tennessee voter registration card, but refusing to show a photo id.  I'm assuming this is an action intended to lead to a court challenge of the law.  I think the challenge is important, but I'm not too impressed with this particular person's video taped protest in his polling place. 

I'm not sure what this all means, but I'm wondering why the media have been making such a big deal out of the primaries and giving them so much coverage without pointing out the pitifully low voter turnout and questioning people's claims about the importance of democracy. 

*I'm not doing well looking on Google  for religions that ban photography.  I found a story about an Amish Canadian claiming his religion forbids personal photos and an Islamic woman claiming her religion forbids a photo (for a drivers license) without her veil. 


  1. Here there is an ID card (személyi igazolvány) which you need to show when you elect. Every Hungarian citizen has it so no question what you have to show.
    I understand your doubts about your results but polls in Hungary are less effective and they are taken quite seriously. Here they ask ca 1000 people and make conclusions how 8 million voters would behave.

  2. Ropi, this was actually an election where such a small percentage turned out, not an opinion poll.

    Basic statistics shows that you can take a pretty small sample size - if it is chosen well - that accurately reflects the larger population you want to know about. Here's a discussion with a sample size calculator.

  3. I'm a Tennessee Democrat & I didn't vote yesterday because I was under the impression only the Republicans were on the ballot. Obama's numbers look pretty good, because I'm guessing I'm not the only Dem who stayed home. IIRC, he lost to McCain by a good bit, but not a landslide.

    I know the locals, and they don't usually trust or like Catholics, same with Mormons. Santorum beat Romney because Romney is from Ted Kennedy Country. He is a Liberal in sheep's clothes. Nothing will piss a Baptist off as quick as telling them they can be 'saved' after death. The only thing worse than a Catholic president is a Mormon president. The only thing worse than a Mormon president, is a black president. The Catholic it the lesser of the evils. I'm shocked Newt didn't win...

  4. Thanks for your observations Tennessee. You talking about the Mormons converting the already dead without consulting the descendants? I find that particularly reprehensible.

  5. Yes, I know about this confidence interval thing, we have calculated such things on statistics class. And Steve you pointed to my point. It was an election therefore we can assume that the sample was quite diverse to take it seriously, because the sample is large enough to represent the 100% well.

  6. And I don't think religion has anything to do with politics.

  7. Ropi, I was just checking since in English the word 'poll' is used about voting (the polling place) and for surveys (take a poll) and since they take a lot of surveys about voting, it gets really confusing. But I knew you must have had stat in your econ program.

    Please explain why you don't think religion has anything to do with politics. I'm assuming politics to mean, in an overlapping way, the party politics around elections and more generally, the distribution of power in a society or community or organization. According to Nationmaster, Catholics are 56% of Hungary and only 22% of the US.

    The Encyclopedia of Nations puts the Hungary figure higher:

    "According to independent surveys in 1996 and 1997, only about 15% of the population are actively practicing within an organized faith. However, according to traditional estimates, approximately 68% of the people are nominally Roman Catholic, 21% are members of the Reformed Church, 4% of the population are Lutheran, and less than 1% are Jewish. The remainder are divided between denominations which include the Congregation of Faith (a Hungarian evangelical Christian movement), five Orthodox Christian denominations, seven Buddhist groups and two Islamic communities."

    When one religion predominates, often members of that religion don't think that religion is an issue, because for them it isn't. But members of minority religions probably do, because they feel either ignored or oppressed.

    If religion has nothing to do with politics, why did Hitler attack the Jews of Europe?

  8. Well, here we have Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP) which is one of the governing parties in Hungary and here if you are Christian it is never mind which branch of it you belong to. And ca. 90% of the population in Hungary is Christian. Maybe the lack of religious diversity in Hungary is the reason why it is not such a big deal here.

  9. That was my point exactly. If you are mostly Christians, then it's not an issue. (Except for those who aren't Christians.)

  10. You can't make everyone happy.


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