CapSearch’s Matt Price on Those Baffling Ballot Issue Results in Arkansas

Matt Price, who’s behind a new nonpartisan government research and bill tracking firm, weighs in on Arkansas’ election results in Arkansas Business newspaper today. His focus: those ballot issues, all of which passed — a rarity for voters in Arkansas:

Common wisdom has always told us if voters do not understand a ballot measure they tend to vote no. Yet, voters approved all five ballot measures by comfortable margins. Does this mean Arkansas voters had more informed opinions about the ballot measures this year even in light of no major ballot campaigns outside of the lottery?

More from Price here. And click here to take a tour of CapSearch, Price’s new online bill tracking service that includes blogs and a host of customizable features.

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John Brummett, ‘Arkansas Week’ on ‘The Map’

NYTimes.com

NYTimes.com

Everyone’s talking about “The Map,” the New York Times’ interactive look at how the nation voted on Tuesday. The map compares how states and counties voted on Tuesday compared with how they voted in 2004 and other elections.

When compared with the 2004 vote, the map shows states and counties getting “bluer,” meaning Democrats made gains in those areas on Tuesday. But it also shows areas that went more “red,” where Republicans made gains. And ground zero for that trend, standing out from the rest of the country, is Arkansas.

BuzzFeed, a snarky site that somehow tracks Internet “buzz,” has labeled the red section of the map America’s “Racist Belt,” saying that “race is the only reason that makes sense for a Democrat to switch sides this election cycle.”

What? That’s quite a leap to make. There’s got to more to it than that, right?

Arkansas News Bureau columnist John Brummett wades into the topic today. And he acknowledges that while race was certainly a factor in how some Arkansans voted, other factors were likely at play:

One: Obama chose not to campaign here and in those other red-belt states. If he had spent millions persuading us and Tennesseeans and Kentuckians and West Virginians the way he persuaded Ohioans and Pennsylvanians and Virginians and North Carolinians, maybe we would have given him a better vote.

Two: This is the same belt along which Hillary Clinton creamed Obama in the primaries, especially so, by 74 percent, here in Arkansas, which is, in a way, a home of hers. So we had lingering resentment toward Obama about that. The problem with this explanation, its fatal flaw, which perhaps already has occurred to you, is that New York is another Hillary home state that gave her a big primary win, but, for heaven sakes, didn’t hold that against Obama months later in the epic general election.

Three: Our state’s black population, and indeed the entire black population along this narrow red belt, is less than that of Upper Midwest urban areas and deeper South states. Obama ran altogether better in those areas, but only because of those higher concentrations of black voters. In other words, we may be white racists, but no more than white people elsewhere. This is, while arguable, something less than a ringing self-endorsement.

“Arkansas Week,” AETN‘s weekly news roundtable, also riffed on the topic at the top its show this week. (You can listen to the MP3 of the show here.)

While all the panelists agreed that a vote for John McCain in Arkansas didn’t automatically mean racism, they acknowledged that race was likely a factor in many Arkansas votes. Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins pointed out how Arkansas counties voted on Tuesday, with Obama winning Pulaski County, Jefferson County and a few other counties deep in the Delta — areas with sizable black populations.

Hankins also noted that Arkansas Democratic Party leadership wasn’t exactly active in its support for Barack Obama.

Trivia: Barth noted that only Alabama was more emphatic than Arkansas in its support for McCain. And, of course, 2008 is the first time since 1968 that Arkansas didn’t vote for the winner of the presidential election. In 1968, it voted for independent candidate George Wallace.

Barack Obama Wins Presidential Election

CNN, Tuesday night

CNN, Tuesday night

The president-elect, Barack Obama.

In Arkansas

The ultimate election-night liveblog at the Think Tank; the morning after

State election round-up; post-election blues; “oh the humanity!” from the Arkansas Project.

Congrats from Harrelson over at Under the Dome.

The Web

Is Obama President?

How Is Obama Doing?

OMG! Yes We Did – Tumblr, Robert Blake

Twitter Explodes with Congrats for “President Obama” – LA Times

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

Around the Country

71 Million Watch Election Coverage – Nielsen

Newspaper Front Pages – Poynter.org

Political Cartoons on the Obama Win – MSNBC

Obama Sweeps to Historic Victory – Weisman & Meckler, Wall Street Journal

From King to Obama, America Shows It Can Heal – John Kass, Chicago Tribune

Audacity Wins – Roger Simon, Politico

A New World Order – John Harris and Jim VandeHei, Politico

Yes, He Did – John Dickerson, Slate

America’s First Black President. What It Means – Henry Louis Gates Jr., Slate

Curtain Finally Falls on the Race – Ben Smith & Jonathan Martin, Politico

Decisive Win Gives Dems New Clout – Susan Page, USA Today

Which Barack Obama Will Govern? – Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

Forging a Conservative Agenda – Tony Blankley, Washington Times

Yes, It Is Time to Hope Again – E.J. Dionne, Washington Post

Republicans Got the Thumping They Deserve – Rod Dreher, NPR

The Resurrection of the American Dream – Gabor Steingart, Der Spiegel

Ten Questions For Election Day – Vaughn Ververs, CBS News

Remember to Vote! (As If You Needed the Reminder)

Got this from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office just now:

Secretary Daniels Reminds Arkansans to Vote Today

Over 400,000 early and absentee ballots have already been cast statewide

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Secretary of State Charlie Daniels today reminded Arkansans who have not already voted early or absentee that today is the last day to cast a ballot in the General Election and Nonpartisan Judicial Runoff.

A record number of Arkansans turned out to vote early this year with over 375,000 ballots cast early and over 30,000 absentee ballots returned.  The combined total of over 400,000 breaks the previous statewide early and absentee record total from 2004 of 345,079

Give the record number of voters who’ve already turned out, a notice like that, while appreciated, probably isn’t necessary. Quite simply, there’s a ton of folks who have voted or are voting in this election. We’re looking at turnout records aplenty today.

My wife and I arrived at our local North Little Rock polling site at 6:45 a.m. to find 40 folks already in line. By the time 7:30 a.m. rolled around, that number looked to have tripled. But being there early paid off. We were done by 8:10 a.m., including the few minutes Laura filled out an exit poll for the media.

Also

A report on voting in Northwest Arkansas today. “Smooth,” “heavy,” like I like my coffee.

More

Be sure to watch Jeff Hankins and I Tuesday night, as ArkansasBusiness.com joins with Today’s THV for live coverage of the presidential race.

The Election Aftermath: SmartMoney Editor Matt Heimer at UALR Conference

When today is all said it done, everyone when sit down and talk about what it all means.

On Wednesday, you can catch Matt Heimer, a senior editor at SmartMoney, the Wall Street Journal Magazine, talking about the national election results at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Fall Economic Forecast Conference luncheon.

Registration and breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. Heiner appears along with local and national economic forecasters at UALR’s regular conference, which ArkansasBusiness.com will cover.

It’ll be a great time to hear from a national business journalist on what Tuesday’s results mean for nation’s business community.

Full event news release on the jump.

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The Youth Vote: Will It Finally Matter?

Lots being made about this year being the year that the youth vote gets out and really matters in a presidential election. And of course the conventional wisdom is that the youth vote will benefit Democrat Barack Obama.

“Today’s THV” is doing a segment on the youth vote tonight at 5 p.m., based on today’s panel discussion at the Clinton School of Public Service, featuring five Clinton School students discuss their perspectives on the 2008 race. You can read more about the THV piece here. It appears to focus on what’s driving the youth vote this year.

I’m wondering to what extent the youth vote will show up this year. A Gallup Poll survey on Friday reported — surprise — little evidence of a surge in the youth vote:

Gallup polling in October finds little evidence of a surge in young voter turnout beyond what it was in 2004. While young voter registration may be up slightly over 2004, the reported level of interest in the election and intention to vote among those under 30 are no higher than they were that year.

What’s more, 18- to 29-year-olds continue to lag behind Americans aged 30 and older on these important turnout indicators.

As a result, 18- to 29-year-olds now constitute 12% of Gallup’s traditional likely voter sample, basically the same as the estimate in the final 2004 pre-election poll (13%). Gallup’s expanded likely voter model, which defines likely voters differently (on the basis of current voting intentions only), estimates a slightly higher proportion of young voters in the electorate (14%). However, even if the share of the youth vote were adjusted upward, doing so has little or no impact on the overall Obama-McCain horse-race numbers using either likely voter model.

The story notes that it’s still possible that “the 18- to 29-year-old share of the likely voter electorate will grow in the final days of the election.” The so-called “ground game” currently taking place in many of the toss-up states (our neighbor to the north, Missouri, among them), might be a big driver in that regard. We simply won’t until the votes are counted.

But there’s some clues here in Arkansas. This, from the Harrison newspaper today:

As of 4 p.m. Saturday, 7,379 people had voted early in Boone County, representing some 34 percent of all registered voters and shattering the record of 5,726 who voted early in 2004. And early voting continues through today.

Of those votes, 1,042, or 14 percent, have been cast by voters in the age range of 18 to 35.

For comparison, in Baxter County where about 8,700 early votes had been recorded Saturday afternoon, only 663, or about 8 percent, were cast by voters in the 18 to 35 age range.

In Pulaski County, some 22 percent of about 67,000 early voters by Saturday afternoon were in that same age group.

Maybe the kids are alright after all.

Related

Students get involved in presidential elections [ASU Herald]

More

Be sure to watch Jeff Hankins and I Tuesday night, as ArkansasBusiness.com joins with Today’s THV for live coverage of the presidential race.

(A version of this post also appears on The Ladder and Capsearch.com.)

Barack Obama and John McCain: Stating Their Case in the Wall Street Journal

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Republican nominee John McCain made their respective closing arguments on Monday to that key constituency at Ground Zero of the global financial crisis. In opinion pieces in the Wall Street Journal, both candidates made the economic case for their presidencies.

Given the historic nature of the financial crisis, it’s interesting to read the candidates’ pitches to America’s business elite.

First, an except from John McCain’s piece:

We need to grow our small businesses, not tax them. I will fight the Democrats’ plans to redistribute the fruit of America’s labor and turn our economy into a full-fledged disaster. I will cut taxes on families, seniors, savers and businesses. We need to double the child deduction, cut the capital gains tax, and keep jobs in America with a lower business tax.

After the jump, the rest of McCain’s excerpt, and an excerpt from Obama’s column.

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