Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Not having a grasp of recent history....

....can lead one to bad conclusions.

Jason Embry, Postcards from the Ledge/Austin American-Statesman, 02/23/10)
More than one out of every four Travis County residents who voted in the Republican primary during the first week of early voting this year also voted in the 2008 Democratic primary, according to some very interesting figures from Jeff Smith of Opinion Analysts Inc.

Almost 28 percent of the votes cast in the first week of the GOP primary came from those who took part in the 2008 primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

We should remember that John McCain pretty much had the Republican nomination locked up at that point. So these aren’t necessarily Democrats. But if nothing else, they are Republican voters who have shown something of an independent streak. There may be a few Republican stalwarts who voted in the 2008 Democratic primary because they were trying to gum up the works, but numerous experts have said that happens pretty rarely.

Rarely, except in 2008, when there was a coordinated "anti-Hillary" movement that led to record numbers of Republicans making the jump:

(Alex Johnson, MSNBC, 02/28/2008)
As many as a tenth of the Texans voting in the Democratic contests could be Republicans, and overwhelmingly they favor Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, the polls show.

Granted, during normal elections, it's safe to say that only a few "cross-over" votes exist, and 2008 was hardly a normal year for Texas Republicans with many of them casting votes they would later regret. In horse-racing parlance there's a saying: "draw a line through it" meaning that, when looking over a horse's past history, you disregard an obvious fluke performance caused by a poor start, or an off-track, something that could have explained a good horse going terribly off form. From that perspective you shows "draw a line" through the 2008 primaries as well. A better determinant would be to look back at the 2006 primaries to determine how many current Republican voters now voted Democratic in THAT election. I've a feeling the numbers will be fairly low.

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