October 9, 2003


Did Arnold Matter?: In the end, the recall was all about Gray (Harold Meyerson, 10/10/03, LA Weekly)

Democrats constituted just 39 percent of voters in the recall, while Republicans made up 38 percent. By contrast, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 42 percent to 37 percent in the gubernatorial race of 1998, and by a full 10 points — 44 percent to 34 percent — in the higher-turnout presidential vote of 2000.

In the recall, Republicans voted like there was no tomorrow. Democrats voted like there was no election.

A quarter of the Democrats who did vote, moreover, voted to recall their governor, and fully one-third of Democrats who classified themselves as moderates or conservatives. The increase in the vehicle-license fee certainly didn’t help Gray among working-class Democrats nor, save among Latinos, did the bill granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. But Gray’s approval rating, and the percentage of people telling pollsters they’d vote No on the recall, were pretty much the same before he signed these bills as they were after. [...]

Just about the only clear progression apparent in the exit polling on Tuesday’s election correlated support for the recall with level of education. High school grads backed the recall at a rate of 61 percent; voters with some college at a rate of 59 percent; college grads at a rate of 57 percent; and voters with postgraduate study at a rate of 45 percent. What this may refract is the differing levels of access to sources of information and misinformation about California politics. It may help explain why unions, which have had an impressive record of steering their members into the Democratic column over the past decade, were able to persuade just 55 percent of their members to oppose the recall.

Mr. Meyerson can't bring himself to say it, but the implications are fairly obvious: populism favors the GOP, not the Democrats, why are by and large the Party of intellectual elites combined awkwardly with some dependent demographic groups that are paid out of the public treasury to vote with them.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 9, 2003 10:20 PM

That Arnold had a positive, upbeat vision for California also made him more appealing (even though people understood clearly that he had talked little about "policy details" that the Left loves to fuss over). That positive outlook seems something that the Dems running for Prez seem incapable of.

Posted by: kevin whited at October 9, 2003 11:37 PM

I don't disagree with your general point, but I've become more uncertain about it, for two reasons:

I'm just not that sure about Democrats really having a stranglehold on the intellectual elite. First, exit poll data on educational level is dubious because many respondents lie about this. There just aren't anywhere near as many people with post-grad degrees as exit polls supposedly find. I don't know which way this biases the results, but it should lead to some skepticism.

Second, a big fraction of people who do have advanced degrees have them in Education and they aren't exactly rocket scientists. If you take out the people with Education degrees, I suspect the parties are split pretty equal among people with non-Education advanced degrees.


Posted by: Steve Sailer at October 9, 2003 11:57 PM

Your summary is superb and quite politically incorrect. I agree with Steve on the elites question. Combine education degrees with academics holding other advanced degrees, and I'd bet the rest are pretty evenly split.

Posted by: Dave in LA at October 10, 2003 4:48 AM

Those figures do show that there isn't much correlation between education and intellegence, which can be confusing to those who like their politics simplistic and reducable to quotas. Or to put it another way, there are a lot of people who have post-grad degrees who are "educated beyond their intellegence."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 10, 2003 9:49 AM