November 16, 2004

Outsider Looks In

Marc Comtois
Patrick Ruffini, former "blogmaster" at the official Bush Blog is back doing his own blog and has offered some further insight into Republican gains in New England. (Something we've been speculating upon ourselves). Surprisingly, Rhode Island was second only to Hawaii (nationwide) in the increase in percentage of support for President Bush from 2000 to 2004. Overall, President Bush made gains throughout New England from 2000, but there was a dividing line. According to Ruffini:
The line runs through Massachusetts and New Hampshire. On one side there are the blue-collar Catholic urban and suburban areas, in which President Bush staged a strong recovery. On the other is the small-town Yankee-Protestant interior, which turned to Kerry. If Kerry was in fact the hometown favorite, it manifested itself far from Louisburg Square, in rural Vermont and New Hampshire. Closer to home, the booing when Kerry bounced the ball at Fenway was apparently the real deal.
Ruffini provides a chart of the increase among Catholic voters for the President and posits his own theory as to why they swung toward Bush and away from Kerry:
Several explanations are available to us. The first is that churchgoing Catholics do hold Catholic political leaders to a higher standard – and the Senator found no sympathy among lapsed Catholics. The second is that he alienated both sides by seeming to straddle. The third is simply that blue collar Reagan Democrats, many of them Catholic, liked the grit they saw in George W. Bush at Ground Zero and ever since. All three have some validity, but Catholics being the least politicized of all the major faiths, especially in the Northeast, I tend towards the third.
If this is the case, it will take more leaders with demonstrable grit to continue to make Republican gains in the northeast. Rudy Giulianni and Arnold Schwarzenegger, no conservatives mind you, would be extremely attractive here in the northeast. Perhaps America's appetite for a "John Wayne Presidency" is stronger than ever.
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On election day, I was determined to volunteer for the GOP effort. I put a call in to the New Hampshire GOP-HQ, thinking I could do the most good in a nearby "swing state" but couldn't get anyone to answer.

My follow-up call to RI-GOP was immediately answered, but when I asked them how I could volunteer in NH they cried, "No! We need you here!"

I sort of shrugged and said, "OK"-- feeling it was a pyrrhic effort. (Or is Sisyphus the greek analogy I'm looking for here?)

I didn't really look into the RI election results (the "topline" was disappointing across the board) but this news sweetens my hours of volunteer work.

Actually, there was one other upside to my vol work: I was up so early, by the time I finished, I was exhausted. I voted, then went home and crashed-- so I was spared an afternoon of agony watching those exit poll results. By the time I woke up around dinner time, all was right with the world! (I would have been tearing my hair out if I'd seen those exit polls!)


Posted by: benjamin at November 16, 2004 1:11 PM

Thanks for the effort! I too missed the exit poll fiasco as I spent the afternoon/evening with my kids and tuned in at 8 pm while the tide was shifting and the MSM was turning away from the exit polling. BTW, glad to see there are conservative gamers out there. You must like playing a dwarf ;)

Posted by: Marc Comtois at November 16, 2004 1:37 PM

Here is some useless information:

In 1976 President Ford, while losing the election, carried ME, NH, VT, & CT, but lost MA & RI.

In 1980 Regan Carried ME, NH, VT, CT, & MA but lost RI.

In 1984 President Regan carried all of New England

In 1988 Vice President Bush mirrored Ford and carried ME, NH, VT, & CT, but lost MA & RI.

1n 1992, President Bush lost all the New England States to Clinton: ME (42-36), NH (39-38), VT (46-30), CT (42-36), MA (47-29), & RI (47-29)

1n 1996, President Clinton swept New England again: ME (52), NH (49), VT (53), CT (52), MA (61), & RI (59)

In 2000, Bush carried only NH. Vice President Gore under preformed Clinton’s 1996 NE results in NH, MA, VT, ME, but out preformed Clinton in RI (61-59) and CT (56-52) (Gore’s VP candidate was from CT).

In 2004, President Bush lost all the NE states to Kerry. Kerry out preformed Gore in ME (53-51), NH (50-46), MA (62-60), VT (59-50) and under preformed Gore in Ct (52-56) and RI (60-61).

New England was lost in 1992 election. Only in 2000, did a Republican carry a NE state – Bush (NH w/ 49%). Not all is lost. ME and NH are still swing states. NH has never given a Democrat a vote greater than 50%. ME has never given a Democrat a vote greater than 53%. VT until 2004 had given a Democrat over 53% just once. MA is hopeless. That bring us to glorious Rhode Island – in 1992 it gave Clinton only 47% of the vote (the same total that it gave Carter in 1980), both 1980 and 1992 there was a third party candidate (a political moderate). The last three elections RI has given the Democrat 59, 61, & 60 respectively.

Posted by: tom at November 16, 2004 3:37 PM