- 30% of America's population can't vote.
- 41% of eligible voters didn't vote.
- 94% of people who voted for Bush did so for reasons other than his policies (according to Gallup).
So there's your mandate: less than 1% of Americans.
I thought of a different experiment. How much voter turnout and voter support does it take to get a majority of Americans? Assume everyone who votes for a candidate does so because of policies (even though I think this assumption is laughable). Given our current figures for eligible voters, we want to get over 50% of the population in support of a candidate. I worked it out. With 85% of the eligible voters voting and 85% of those voting for one candidate, that candidate gets 50.2% of America's support.
I can scarcely imagine what it would take to get 85% of voters to vote in an election that was won by 85%. I'm reminded of "How far off can the Electoral College get?" which examines an equally absurd scenario (namely, a President elected by 22% of eligible voters when all of them vote).
I think what I'm trying to point out with the above is:
- Numbers really are fun.
- Indeed, Bush does not have a mandate.
- Moreover, I doubt any President ever will.
- Therefore, I think every President has an obligation to respect the views of those who oppose.