October 31, 2004

Encouraging signs from Ohio

I made my biweekly pilgrimage to the Heart of the Holy Land yesterday, by which I refer to Ohio Stadium in Columbus on a Saturday when the Buckeyes have a home game. I was heartened by what I saw, and I here refer not just to the mighty Buckeyes' thrashing of the immortal Joe Paterno's struggling Nittany Lions.

Fresh off the campus shuttle bus which drops us just across the Olentangy River from Ohio Stadium, my eagle eye noticed something a little bit, well, off about the river of scarlet jerseys and sweatshirts flowing across the footbridge and toward the stadium. Upon closer examination, I saw that a large quantity of these jerseys were adorned in one place or another with a small blue rectangle roughly the size of a credit card. Looking closer still, one could make out that all these little rectangles were Bush/Cheney '04 stickers.

I almost immediately realized that I couldn't actually simply count how many instances of Bush/Cheney gear I saw--there were also official campaign shirts and my National Review W 2004 cap, for example--there were too many. I started trying to do some small samples and take proportions, in order to make an estimate of their true number. I looked around further and noted not a single bit of Kerry pariphernalia to be seen. There was visible one Mike Nugent for President t-shirt.

As the day evolved, and the mighty Buckeyes' victory played out over their rivals from the east, I remained actively on the lookout for Kerry stickers, hats, shirts--anything so I could assign a ratio of Bush:Kerry support, which, with the number of instances of Kerry gear at zero, was mathematically undefined, and hence somewhat unsatisfying in spite of the shutout. Finally, at halftime, we saw one couple together, wearing matching Kerry campaign t-shirts. On the way out, we saw two individual instances of Kerry stickers affixed to Buckeyes caps.

I estimated that the proportion, based on the sample of people I walked past or sat next to during the game, was something like a staggering 1 in 5 individuals wearing Bush/Cheney indicators. Literally one in five, in a crowd of 105,000 fans. This would extrapolate up to some 21,000 Bush supporters who are enthusiastic enough to wear their man's campaign gear, spanning all age groups and demographics: even the tart-looking cool kids, 18-20 year old college undergraduates, who I would have expected to be a more liberal and democrat-leaning group, approximated this 1/5 ratio of Bush decals on their clothes.

It's quite hard to say how many people I walked past or personally observed during the day, for purposes of extrapolating up the amount of Kerry support which was visible. Supposing I personally observed 5,000 persons before, during and after the game, the four Kerry decals extrapolates up to 84 total instances throughout the stadium against 21,000 for Bush. This number sounds rather implausible, but actually does feel about representative of the frequencies observed. Even if one supposes I observed only 1,000 fans personally, this still yields a total of 420 Kerry decals throughout against 21,000 for Bush.

I was a little bit astonished at all this, having heard extensively how combatitively close Ohio was supposed to be, how equally divided the electorate, and so forth. And yes, Bush had just had a campaign rally in Columbus the day before; but Kerry had been in Columbus just one day earlier than Bush, that Thursday, and certainly it couldn't be too much to expect for enthusiastic Kerry partisans to have held their stickers for just one extra day. Certainly this would not be so difficult as to explain away the ratios observed.

Ohio is a state which loves its Buckeye football, and from the look of the Ohio Stadium crowd yesterday, Buckeye Nation is firmly behind George Bush. This wasn't scientific, and clearly Buckeye Nation isn't representative of the state as a whole, but I expect a solid, recount-proof George Bush victory in the Buckeye state on Tuesday.

Make sure you vote Tuesday. Even if you live in a state which Kerry is guaranteed to win, go vote for W. A win in the popular vote by as large a margin as possible will tend to mute the inevitable Kerry whinges of "let every vote count" if one or more states against him are razor thin.

Four more years!

Posted by JKS at October 31, 2004 10:10 PM
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