04 November 2008

US Turnout Will Still Be Lower Than Ours - So Don't Give Me Any Bull About Us Having To Copy US Elections

Even though a record 30m Americans voted before today and 135m in total are predicted to turnout by the time the polls close (the best US turnout since the 60s), we are still talking about a pitiful turnout of around 59% - appalling by Western European standards and less than the pitiful turnout in the UK general election of 2005 (which was the second worst UK turnout since 1918). So the US may be good at the...
election hype but the long queues at their polling stations are all about not having enough polling stations (part of the right-wing tactic to suppress the black vote) rather than unprecedented enthusiasm for their election - the US have nothing to crow about and we certainly don't have to follow them.

If we really want to improve turnout to over 75%, to the levels they enjoy in Belgium, New Zealand, Scandanavis etc - we might want to consider the fact all these countries have proportional representation.

Finally, I still think Obama is going to lose - I know the poll leads look unsurmountable and perhaps they are - but never underestimate the dirty tactics the right might emply to steal this election.

The states to watch are Pennsylvania and Virginia - Obama needs them to make sure of victory and both have been denied early voting and are sure to have massive queues in black areas putting off Obama supporters. Don't be surprised to see McCain also hold both Florida and Ohio and maybe even take New Mexico, the vote suppressing tactics and push polling the Republicans put in place in 2000 and 2004 have been perfected and will only be extended if they pull it off this time.

Even if Obama does manage to win despite all this - the Democrats will lose countless Senate seats as a result of the agressive undermining of democracy and find the Republicans filibuster the desperately needed proposals on healthcare and welfare - leaving Obama powerless in office.


  1. Finally, I still think Obama is going to lose...

    Keep the faith, Brother Neil! Me too! What a glorious defeat for humourless, po-faced smu brigade that will be!

    PS, that's too much of the slidey boxes. Everything in moderation.

  2. Come now, show a little optimism!

  3. ...a little hope perhaps. I am glad to have been proved wrong. The dirty tactics of the republicans weren't quite enough for them - but they are still in a strong position to come back. Hopefully the democrats will take a look at the millions who are not allowed to vote and the millions more who are put off by dubious means and fix it. You never know.

  4. Your reminder that turnout is much higher in countries with proportional representation is spot on. Not enough is made of this point.
    To spell it out for those who might not get it: people are more likely to vote when they know that their vote will count, as it does under PR, but mostly doesn't under first-past-the-post.

  5. Every point you made in your post was wrong and you still manage to dig hard at the dirty tactics of the republicans. Very bitter Neil.

    Weirdly you also seem carefree enough to make the point that if black voters had to stand in a long queue they'd simply not bother. That's quite a condescending attitude you have to your fellow man is it not?

  6. Shug- My point was that ANYBODY faced with an eight hour queue to vote and an interminable process to register is bound to be less likely to turnout. Race only comes into it because there has been a deliberate policy of having LESS polling booths in black areas - an obvious attempt to suppress the democratic vote.

    And turnout around 60% in this country caused a big discussion about the huge levels of apathy and how to engage with people - yet the same turnout in the US is seen as a triumph and something we should copy, why? That is all I was pointing out in this post, so where am I being inaccurate?