Power shifting in electoral mathematics
SMOKERS COULD HAVE CHANGED THE OUTCOME
OF THE LAST ELECTION
Quick, how many people voted in the last
election? The answer is about 125 million. If you assume that one
in five of those voters were smokers, doing some very simple
arithmetic you come up with 25 million smokervoters. Ponder that
figure for just a moment. That is nothing to sneeze at. Smokers
possess more potential to change the outcome of an election than
any other slice of the electoral pie chart. More potential than
any gender slice, more potential than an ethnic slice and more
potential than a religious group slice.
Elections are like a hulking ocean liner; it is
no easy feat to alter their course. The elections of 2000 and
2004 were clear examples of this phenomenon. They were darned
near toss-ups. Due to many externalities, like a looming new
Depression, last year was a lot more decisive. It's obvious a
great deal of voters thought Depression? Roosevelt! Democrat?
better stick with what we know.
Political strategists like Karl Rove or James
Carville spend a lot of time pondering pie charts. They slice and
dice the demographic pie into various races, religions and
genders and then go about trying to ascertain which ones have the
most potential for a power shift, however small it may be. Each
of these slices are further broken down into percentage
breakouts. For example, the Latino vote broke down to a 53%-47%
rationing credited with helping George Bush Jr. win in 2004. He
received the smaller 47% slice, but that was enough to help him
win. Ever wondered how the smokervoter segment broke down
vis-a'-vis party affiliation? So do we here at smokervoter.com.
Unfortunately that information doesn't seem to be readily
available. That's pretty strange seeing as the number is so
Lacking any definitive data, let's do the next
best thing and assess some simple arithmetic assumptions. Barack
Obama received 52.7% of the vote and John McCain got 47.3%. If we
apply this directly to the 25 million smoking voters we come up
with roughly 13 million Democrat votes and 12 million Republican
votes. It is hard to fathom anyone who smokes voting for a
Democrat, (just witness the negative impact their first sixty
days in power have had on smokers' wallets), but nonetheless some
do. Now let us fathom the effects of just one-third of these
Democrat smokervoters coming to their collective senses and
switching their votes to either A.) the Republicans or B.) the
various and sundry third party choices such as the Peace &
Freedom, the Greens, the Libertarians, the American Independents
or the ubiquitous Ralph Nader. What is important to grasp here is
that every changed vote represents one less vote for the
So let us examine the pie before and after this
political tectonic plate shifting. Recall that we started out
with a 13 million to12 million split in favor of the Democrats. After an eight
million (that's 1/3rd for you math challenged smokers out there)
power shift that pie breaks out to 20 million AGAINST the Democrats and
just 5 million FOR the Democrats of the available smoker voting pool.
It's still a squeaker in terms of the last election, but it would
have altered the outcome in favor of McCain and the Republicans.
Had this taken place it's likely smokers wouldn't be looking down
the barrel of the S-CHIP tax hikes or FDA regulation of tobacco
or any more shocks coming our way from the ruling Democrats.
We smokers need to unify into a powerful voting
bloc and start calling the shots rather than taking them.