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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The story behind the story

Tea partier Christine O'Donnell won the Delaware Republican primary, causing the media to go into a tizzy. Political pundits are speculating wildly about the chances of the tea party movement being a massive political force come November. I'm not going to make any predictions either way. I just want to take a moment to note something that most media reports have neglected to mention: O'Donnell was the only pro-life candidate. Some articles alluded to the difference by calling the incumbent Republican she defeated, Mike Castle, a "moderate." In fact, he's not moderate on abortion at all: he received 100% ratings from NARAL in 2005, 2006 and 2007. His dip to 25% approval in 2009 was apparently not sufficient to save his reputation with pro-life voters.

According to the National Right to Life Committee, single-issue pro-life voters routinely have an impact of 3 to 4 percentage points. O'Donnell won by six percent. So while the pro-life vote may not have been dispositive, it definitely helped!

Whether or not we agree with O'Donnell's "tea party" politics, her victory stands for something broader. It stands for the proposition that, in a close race (and there are many expected in November), no candidate can afford to discard the right to life as an irrelevant "social issue." *Cough*MitchDaniels*HaleyBarbour*Cough*

5 comments:

Yonmei said...

Apparently Tom Ross, the Delaware Republican Party Chairman, said of Christine O'Donnell that she was someone who "could not get elected dogcatcher."

In the primary O'Donnell won with 30,000 votes. One in six registered Republicans in Delaware voted for her - or about 1 in 20 registered voters.

Which suggests that Chris Coons, the Democratic candidate, is going to win it in a walk - which would be unlikely if the popular favourite, Mike Castle, hadn't lost to the teaparty candidate in the primaries.

And Chris Coons has received a 100% pro-choice rating from NARAL.

So Christine O'Donnell's primary victory is a victory for pro-choice in Delaware. Which is good for anyone not deluded enough to think that "the right to life" only applies to fetuses, and never to women.

Nulono said...

What percentage of registered voters voted for Coons in the primary?

Yonmei said...

What percentage of registered voters voted for Coons in the primary?

He ran unopposed, Nulono. (The primary got a turnout of 12% of Democratic voters, according to the website I found. I'm presuming that if the Democratic candidate runs unopposed, there isn't a primary. But I'm not familiar with your US election system.)

I do, however, look at common sense. Christine O'Donnell appears likely to appeal to two groups of candidates - the minority who voted for her in the primary, and the minority in Delaware who vote "R" without worrying about candidate. An extremist who gets in to the running because of a low turn out, who has no appeal outside her extremist group, is not a likely winner in any election.

Nulono said...

I'm not doubting that the Tea Party is going to be a boon for liberals in November. I'm just questioning your logic of using the percentage of registered voters voting for a candidate in the primaries to determine success in the general election.

Yonmei said...

Oh. I thought you were sulking and arguing pointlessly because you're cross that the pro-life candidate won't get in.