Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Do 78% of Americans Support the War In Iraq?

The November 2006 elections were a huge win for the Democrats, with their receiving about 52-55% of the vote on average across the US. You hear a lot from the Democrats about how these elections were a clear mandate by the American people that they do not support the war in Iraq, and how we thus want to withdraw the troops as soon as possible.

Let's take a closer look. About 60% of American citizens who were eligible to vote in the election did not vote. If you are assuming that any vote for the Democrats is a vote against the war, then you can also claim that the 60% of Americans who didn't vote are choosing to stay the course and retain the policies of the current administration. It is like when I get those proxy statements asking me to vote on issues for a stock I own. I usually am not well-informed on these issues, so rather than cast an uneducated vote I choose to not return the proxy ballot, and thus implicitly choose to let the Board of Directors make the appropriate decision for the company. If I was truly outraged about something, then of course I would cast a vote.

Looking at the other 40% of Americans who voted, for a round number let's say 45% of them voted for Republicans. So that comes to another 18% of Americans who presumably support the administrations policies in Iraq.

So adding together, you get the conclusion that 78% of Americans support the war in Iraq.

Of course, anyone who talks to other people and reads the news knows that this is absurdist logic. However, the point here is that you better be careful when you say that winning a tight election is a sweeping mandate for change. That argument would have more validity only if more people voted and if there were a greater margin of victory.


Post a Comment

<< Home