Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Election Is Over; Now It Is Time to Analyze It

Yes, the election is over, and Obama is already taking his first few footsteps in the White House, but we cannot leave this noteworthy election behind.  This past election was important to us in so many ways.  It marked the beginning of many opportunities for change.  It was the first time a serious woman candidate was in the running, and it was also the first time an African-American was running to be president of the United States of America.

As a very aware and intellectual society, it is our calling to analyze the results of this 2008 presidential election.  As a whole, as a country, we need to work together in trying to understand the twists and turns of this election-- who voted for whom, possible influences on voters' preferences for a candidate, etc.  Our class has been pondering this all quarter long now.  It is very hard to know exactly what caused specific events or situations to happen and how much of an effect certain influences did have.

Our class sent out an online survey that included questions about the reasons why voters voted for whoever they chose.  People's reasons varied immensely; however, it was interesting to see and note that some women voted for Clinton (in the primaries) just because she was a woman.  Interestingly enough, some African-Americans voted for Obama for the same reason-- just because he was an African-American.  They wanted to see "their kind" take foot in the White House.

The New York Times has posted a very interesting interactive graphic on "How Different Groups Voted in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries."  You can click on the boxes underneath the graphic to see how different demographics of voters voted.  I examined "Women" and "Blacks."  When I clicked on the "Women" box, I noticed that there was a pretty even split-- about half the states had stronger Clinton support, and half had stronger Obama support; however, when I clicked on the "Blacks" box to see how African-American voters voted, all 28 states represented in the graphic were on the right-hand side.  They all had stronger Obama support.  This really sparked my interest.  Did African-Americans feel a greater need to support an African-American candidate than woman did to support a female candidate?

There are so many factors that probably influenced the election.  There was a range of different influences that could have affected voters' decisions-- from media to voters' perceptions.  There is no way to perfectly analyze the election results and the reasons why everyone voted the way they did, but we should look at all the results and hard proof that we do have to better understand this 2008 presidential election.


Phia! said...

I absolutely agree that this past election was important in so many ways. It made history. It seems as though people usually vote for a person that they can relate to. When reading an article about the Gender Affinity Affect I found that there were so many women that voted for a women candidate because they could relate. I feel as though this goes the same for an African American. Given that an African American has never been president probably made African Americans want to vote for Obama. African Americans could easily relate to Obama. Its funny how when a women does vote for a women because they are a woman is wrong, but what about an African American voting for an African American? This confuses me. I do think that African Americans felt a greater need to support an African American, because supporting your own race isn’t put out as bad in our society; however, supporting your own sex is.

sdmalhi said...

This election definitely had a significant and lasting impact on our society. Analysts constantly seemed to be trying to break up the population into different demographics, and wanted to pin a certain candidate to a set demographic. But our nation is so diverse that the concepts of African Americans only voting for Obama and females voting for Palin didn't hold true. I think that analyzing voting will never help us come to a concrete conclusion about voters and where their loyalties lie, but election analysis does show us one thing, that the American society is made up of many different, independently-thinking individuals, not a bunch of groups that can be bunched up demographics.