FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2005
Contact: Bob Weiner/Rebecca Vander Linde 301-283-0821/202-329-1700
MEDIA, PUNDITS MISSTATING “HIGH” 50-60%
“COMPARING APPLES TO
SAYS NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST BOB WEINER
BUT 50-60% OF POPULATION.
WEINER POINTS OUT, BACKED BY CENSUS BUREAU STATISTICS
“I had to point this out when first I heard Chris Mathews, host of Hardball, who normally knows his stuff, say on “Hardball” Sunday night that “Iraq’s 51-61% is what happens in the U.S.” Then I heard Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News say that the “voter turnout may have been higher than 50%,” and I saw an A.P. story reporting Iraq’s apparent “higher than 57% turnout…among the 14 million eligible Iraqi voters” compared to “In the United States, turnout hovered in the low 50 percent range and only this year squeaked to 60%.” This morning, MSNBC compounded the error: “Turnout higher than expected; 60% of all eligible voters,” and NPR reported “8 million of 14 million eligible.”
“In fact,” Weiner said, “all the media and pundits are comparing apples to oranges, mixing up registered versus eligible. We always have 80-90% turnout of registered voters in our national elections, Weiner stated, but 50-60% of all eligible. Among recent elections, of U.S. registered voters, “86% cast ballots in 2000…compared with the all-time low of 82% in 1996,” according to the Bureau of the Census (press release Feb. 27, 2002: “Registered voter turnout Improved in 2000 Presidential Election, Census Bureau Reports” – available on the web at
“The fact of the matter is that in the
“The Iraqi achievement is historic. Those who voted demonstrated courage and are justifiably proud of this day. However, we MUST recognize the reality that because of the fear of insurgent violence, only half the population registered, and only some half of those registered voted. I am sensing a “spin” of far more success than was the case.
“I deeply care about the issue of high turnout and honesty in elections,” Weiner said. “Just after I started in politics, I was the Democratic Party’s youth voter registration director, in the Young Democrats’ office at our ill-fated Watergate Headquarters in 1971-72, and I testified before Congress (Census and Statistics Subcommittee of Post Office and Civil Service Committee) on how to increase turnout.”
we accept the reality of the low turnout, we will be better able to protect
against the possibility that the elections will be like the war: the insurgents
only committed minimal violence at the outset -- and then logarithmically
increased their efforts afterward. In
this case, because of the
President of an issue strategies and public affairs
Source: Robert Weiner Associates, tel. 301-283-0821/202-329-1700.