Monday, March 07, 2005

How to get a "mandate" from the voters.

I got this link from this post at Constantly Amazed, Yet Never Surprised. It breaks down voters like so:
  • 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 once you've thrown away all the non-support of Bush's agenda, there's only 0.74% of America left.

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:
  1. Numbers really are fun.
  2. Indeed, Bush does not have a mandate.
  3. Moreover, I doubt any President ever will.
  4. Therefore, I think every President has an obligation to respect the views of those who oppose.
I'd hope that Presidents would respect the views of their opposition without some numbers game. Frankly, I think that if Bush doesn't already, hitting him in the head with a spreadsheet isn't going to change his mind.
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