Where Anecdote Is Not Data, But . . .

We should never confuse anecdotes for data, but I’ve got a funny one.

I got called up to New York on the spur of the moment this past week for CNN so I ran out to early voting. I was somewhat stunned by the high number of black voters doing early voting.

In any event, I stood in line in front of a black preacher from the local community and a number of his congregants, all had come to vote. He was telling me it’d be his first time voting Republican. I told him I was shocked he’d be voting for Nathan Deal.

He laughed and said he was voting for Barnes, but he was voting for Austin Scott too as a protest vote. Then he said he’d be able to fix it in two years.

It’s not data, but it is stuff like this causing people like Charlie Cook to move the 8th District from toss-up to lean Republican.

16 comments

  1. Obis_Sister says:

    People I know who haven’t voted in years are voting this election.

    And on a personal note, my daughter, who up to this point had refused to vote in any election, did her civic duty yesterday. I guess the reality of student loans, trouble finding a job in her discipline and the bite that taxes takes out of her too small paycheck got the message across!

  2. seenbetrdayz, Ph.D. says:

    I have to say that I had an interesting experience when voting early yesterday. Quite a crowd had gathered in the waiting room and everyone was sitting in chairs for their chance to vote. With a 45 minute wait, people were bound to start talking to each other. I found myself sitting next to a 70 year old white male, a 50 year old retired-military black male, and a young adult (didn’t get her age, but guessed maybe mid-twenties) black female who goes to the same college I do. Now, I didn’t ask who they were voting for, but I did detect a strong dissatisfaction among all of them over what we’ve been getting from both democrats and republicans in office. We all had a nice conversation about how distrust of politicians is growing (makes you wonder why we even showed up to vote, lol). We talked about GA Power (we were a diverse group but united in our discontent with GA Power and it’s cozy relations with the GA General Assembly). Lots of discontent with incumbents from both parties. I don’t think these were party line voters, but I could be assuming too much. I did wonder, though, as I was leaving the voter registration office, if we are perhaps not as divided as our politicians/mainstream pundits would have us believe. We even talked about the flood of mail sent out this campaign cycle and how rediculously hypocritical politicians on both sides were being in mischaracterizing their opponents. I heard more thoughtful ideas for solving problems during our 30 minute conversation than I’ve seen offered by practically anyone we’ve elected to office. Perhaps I had expected to see the near-hatred that gets far too much airtime on CNN, Fox, or MSNBC. That wasn’t the America I saw yesterday when I went to vote.

    Maybe “we the people” are once again ready to handle things ourselves, instead of putting unwarranted faith in politicians to save this country. The ‘divide and conquer’ strategy which serves to keep the same turds going back to office over-and-over will hopefully come to an end soon.

    • Baker says:

      “I did wonder, though, as I was leaving the voter registration office, if we are perhaps not as divided as our politicians/mainstream pundits would have us believe.”

      -Absolutely, I totally agree with you here and apparently Rasmussen has a similar thought based on one of his latest polls. 65% of folks told him to get rid of entire Congress and start over.

      http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/october_2010/65_favor_getting_rid_of_entire_congress_and_starting_over

      “The ‘divide and conquer’ strategy which serves to keep the same turds going back to office over-and-over will hopefully come to an end soon.” -I’m not as convinced on this point though. Occassionally, the genuine honest citizen-legislator will pop up, but I think a great majority of the time that inner turd is what gets you into it in the first place. Particularly with the way our media works and America’s obsession with celebrity idolatry, it’s going to be a mighty tough row to hoe before we turn this thing around. This might sound crazy and …extreme!!!…but I think it will really only turn around when the culture turns around. And no, I don’t mean making everyone a Christian or anything, I just mean that until we as a culture stop tolerating the just complete [email protected] that goes on around us nothing will change. If the culture starts emphasizing responsibility and restraint, the politics will follow. Right now the culture emphasizes excess and extravagance, and the politics has certainly followed.

      A little rant for your Saturday, is this fair?

      • Ambernappe says:

        Yes, your observations are fair, even though you used language that is a little more “colorful” than mine.

  3. slyram says:

    Polls and data mean nothing in the 8th District race because Black voters who are Democrats realize that the district is red and that a calmer GOP congressman adds balance on that side; which is better than a person wearing a “D” who is actually an “I.”

    Hats off to Austin’s team; they did it with sweat and common sense rather than fear and hate. Austin has been walking down that road in those ads for so long; I was wondering where it ends. It ends in at the Longworth, Rayburn or Cannon House office building.

    I beat there are big Dems in Macon who are thinking about running in the 8th in 2012. Some of them likely thought “let Marshall go….he seems uncomfortable anyway.”

    • Ambernappe says:

      It really helps that Austin Scott’s supporters have an outstanding candidate to rally around ! Hopefully his integrity is sufficient to withstand the temptations that have corrupted so many before him.

  4. Bill Mauldin says:

    I think that when Austin wins the 8th, which he certainly will, the seat will stay his until HE wishes to move to other political offices of his choosing. Only then will ANY Democratic challenger have a chance to winning back the 8th.

    • DoubleDawg3 says:

      I agree to…if the GOP already holds the seat going into redistricting, it’s a lot less questionable if they “solidify” that district as Republican by tweaking a few counties/precincts to ensure that more traditional Republican voters are brought into the 8th.

      Same for the 2nd, if Keown can pull that out. Makes it much less susceptible to challenge if you’re not blatantly trying to kick out an incumbent of the opposite party.

  5. travis fain says:

    I’ve had better luck predicting behavior with anecdotes compared to data, given that data is usually best to collect yourself.

  6. Couldn’t help digging into this a bit last week after Doug Moore, Congressman Marshall’s press secretary, attempted to reject polling numbers we released showing Marshall down by double digits.

    Our poll was of self-described “likely voters”, which are those who actually say they will vote. The Marshall poll, conducted by Mellman, was apparently simply of registered voters and not filtered with a question asking if they will vote. That’s one of the ways they came up with a 3% lead.

    Neither methodology would be accurate or inaccurate until Election Day. But we still stand by our numbers and prediction that Scott wins.

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