I. Executive Summary In 1947 Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson where able to break through more than sixty years of racial segregation in Major League Baseball, beginning a new modern era of racial integration and equality not only in baseball but throughout the country. Although racial lines were defeated in Americas sporting past time, they were not defeated in the political realm. That all changed on early evening November 4 th, 2008 as the United States of America banned together and defeated nearly 220 years of racial misrepresentation and inequality and elected is first African-American president, Barack Obama. This was an election for the history books, with the first African-American candidate running for president, the first woman vice presidential candidate, the first time a candidate over seventy has ran all in the same election.; this election was destined from the beginning to be remembered forever. After nearly two years of a whirlwind campaign Barack Obama and Joe Biden take office and make history at the same time. In an interview on Larry King Live addressing the election of Barack Obama, Dr Maya Angelou says that this nations a whole, black and white is “changing, we are growing up, we are growing beyond the racism and sexism and ageism which has crippled us for so long, we are really growing up; it takes courage to grow up because that means you are taking responsibility for the time you take up and the space you occupy.” I personally feel like this was a general feeling throughout this election, it was time for this nation to grow up and put the past behind it, it was time for change. In the closing of her interview Angelou said, “We are starting a new day.” I believe that this just isn’t a new
day in modern times, but a new day in American history a day that people will look back and study and it will show not only this overarching victory for the democrats, but also a day that the nation grew up. When looking back on this election, I feel as if the best candidate, who ran the best campaign, won. The way the campaigns were ran, the lack of, or overabundance of public financing, the attack ads or the lack of, the technology, the outreach, the endorsements from people like Colin Powell, and the dismal approval rating of the current administration, are things that need to be looked at as major contributors to Obamaâ€™s win. This win was felt around the world, with such heavy support throughout Europe, down to his fatherâ€™s homeland in Kenya. This is an election that has not only taken hold of congress with a major democratic gain in the senate, now standing at 58 seats, but it took hold of the house, the Midwest and even states throughout Eastern and Southern United States that used to be Republican strongholds went democrat. I think that it is easy to see that the Obama election was the victory heard throughout the world, not only from a racial equality and history perspective, but also in the fact that this is such an overarching and sweeping victory for democrats that the effects of this election should be felt in years to come.
II. Poll Summary This poll was conducted with about twenty students from the Elections 2008 course in the Political Science department at the University of Colorado at Denver who were interested in conducting a poll to see how it works and experience it firsthand. It was done as a final
project amongst the students, who held meetings to formulate questions and decide final polling locations. The required sample size of the poll was thirty people per poller, and we ended up getting 915 legitimate polls. Our sample size was 915, our confidence level was at 95% and our confidence interval was at 3.24. With any poll it is hard to make certain that no one feels compelled to lie, but I think with the relaxed type of no pressure environment that we presented, I feel confidant that not may people lied.
III. Findings part I Count of President Race White Black Latino Asian Native American Other Grand Total
President John Barack Robert Ralph Grand McCain Obama Barr Nader Other Total 25.41% 72.79% 0.18% 0.54% 1.08% 100.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 15.28% 83.33% 0.00% 0.00% 1.39% 100.00% 15.00% 85.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 0.00% 11.76% 20.71%
100.00% 70.59% 77.44%
0.00% 0.00% 0.13%
0.00% 5.88% 0.53%
0.00% 11.76% 1.19%
100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Another reason I am confident in our poll, is because of the fact that many well respected national polls present the same findings. The first finding that I came up with is the overwhelming majority of black voters that voted for Obama vs. McCain. In our poll, 100 percent of blacks who voted, voted for Obama, and in a CNN Elections Center 2008 poll, 95 percent of blacks who voted, voted for Obama. In our poll, nearly 73 percent (see poll #1) of whites voted for Obama, and in CNNâ€™s poll 43 percent of whites voted for Obama. First and foremost I believe that the higher numbers have to do with two things, one we live in a state that is amidst and ideological change. The west and mid-west is just a small segment of the nation that is turning purple/blue, and that is evident in the fact that
Colorado actually went to Obama this year and went republican the election before. In a CNN interview Colin Powell, who is obviously known for his staunch Republicanism, not only endorses Obama but express great emotion over his victory, he states “a new American president who also happens to be African-American, and that very fact moves so far along the continuum that African-Americans have been traveling for the last 230 years, of our nation and for the last 400 years o the existence of colonies in America.” Later on in the interview he says that, “as he was sitting there watching it and he say one of the announcers cut to the chase and say he has won, its over… pretty moving moment,” as he gets choked up he continues with, “I think all of America shed a tear.” Not only was this a very powerful and real interview but I think that it speaks to a realness that comes from African-Americans throughout this nation; they felt that it was time. Young or old, I think that it is fair to say that the over-whelming vast majority of blacks in this nation felt that a black leader in this country was long over due, so like never before they turned out and elected a new leader.
III. Findings Part II Count of President Gender Male Female Grand Total
President John Barack Robert Ralph Grand McCain Obama Barr Nader Other Total 23.31% 73.88% 0.28% 0.56% 1.97% 100.00% 18.52% 80.25% 0.00% 0.49% 0.74% 100.00% 20.76% 77.27% 0.13% 0.53% 1.31% 100.00%
According to the Elections 2008 poll, nearly 81 percent of females voted for Barack Obama, and nearly 74 percent of males voted the same way. Comparing that to a larger CNN poll of nearly 18,000, 49 percent of males voted Obama and 56 percent of females did the same. These are pretty huge gains considering that in the 2004 presidential elections the findings were the exact opposite when 44 percent of males voted democrat and 51 percent of
females also voted democrat. Posting these types of gains will not only win an election but I believe that it changes the ideology of the country. Obamaâ€™s ability to captivate audiences and instill hope in the hearts of millions Americans I believe is the major force in the liberal movement. Not Only does it depict the changing tide in this country but it also a reflection of the current administration with the presidents approval rating at a mere 25 percent approval and 70 percent disapproval according to a Gallup poll taken on October 6 th 2008. Unfortunately for John McCain and Sarah Palin, when your party is tied to such lies, deceit and scandal, it is going to be hard to make a serious bid for reelection with the vast majority f the American people not happen with the current state of the economy and blaming republicans for it.
III. Findings Part III Count of President Age 18-24 25-29 30-44 45-59 60+ Grand Total
President John Barack Robert Ralph Grand McCain Obama Barr Nader Other Total 10.69% 85.53% 0.63% 0.63% 2.52% 100.00% 12.73% 86.36% 0.00% 0.91% 0.00% 100.00% 25.35% 72.81% 0.00% 0.46% 1.38% 100.00% 27.06% 71.18% 0.00% 0.00% 1.76% 100.00% 24.76% 74.29% 0.00% 0.95% 0.00% 100.00% 20.76% 77.27% 0.13% 0.53% 1.31% 100.00%
The table presented above is another one of my findings that I found to be very interesting and important. I find these particular statistics to be important because I personally believe that it is one of the main reasons for such a democratic victory, not only presidentially but also in the House and the Senate. Young people tend to be more liberal and vote more democratic essentially across the board, and when you are able to rally as many as Obama did in the primaries and carry them over into Election Day, it is a recipe for
success. In 2004 and Kerry was able to harness around 54 percent of youth voters between 18-29, while in 2008 Obama held 66 percent to McCainâ€™s 32 percent; what is so important about this is the fact that Obama won this category by over a 30 percent margin and more youth voted in this election than in any election in this nations history of the youth being able to vote. What shocked my most about these stats is that our poll shows that nearly 86 percent of the youth 18-24 polled voted for Obama; this surprises me because we polled just over 900 people and our statistics are so close to a national poll were almost 18,000 people were polled. I think this speaks to the overwhelmingly youth turnout and how it swung for Obama. Another important factor that needs to be looked at when it comes to age is how Obama literally dominated in every age category except for 60 plus, which happens to be the only category he lost by around 7 percentage puts says a CNN national exit poll.
III. Findings Part IV Count of President 2007 HH Income Under 15k 15k-29,999 30k-49,999 50k-74,999 75k-99,999 100k-149,999 150k-199,999 200k+ Grand Total
President Barack Robert Ralph John McCain Obama Barr Nader Other Grand Total 10.78% 86.27% 0.00% 0.98% 1.96% 100.00% 12.38% 85.71% 0.95% 0.95% 0.00% 100.00% 18.95% 79.08% 0.00% 1.31% 0.65% 100.00% 26.05% 72.27% 0.00% 0.00% 1.68% 100.00% 19.42% 78.64% 0.00% 0.00% 1.94% 100.00% 30.53% 68.42% 0.00% 0.00% 1.05% 100.00% 23.08% 76.92% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 100.00% 44.44% 51.85% 0.00% 0.00% 3.70% 100.00% 20.73%
Another finding that came out of our poll is what income ranges voted for who, I found this one to be interesting because of the fact that the higher the income the more of a republican stronghold that it is, but this wasnâ€™t the case this year. In 2004 63 percent of the
people who voted who made over 200k a year voted for bush; even with the threat of having to pay more taxes on their income, in 2008 Obama held a steady 52 percent of the people who voted who make over 200k a year. Once again, this is interesting because this isnâ€™t the usual story. People who make more tend to vote more conservative and usually republican strongholds. Not this year, in the Elections 2008 poll, nearly 52 percent of people make more than 200k per year voted for Obama which is exactly the same as a national poll conducted by CNN. Further more Obama stayed pretty consistent in gaining percentage points amongst all income brackets. This is just another one of the many themes this year where Obama seems to have an effect on all people and gain in nearly every category there was to gain on.
IV. Conclusion â€œIf there is anyone out there who doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dreams of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer,â€? said Barack Obama in his opening victory speech. With national appearances all over television and appearance after appearance where democrats never dared set foot before, Barack Obama and his campaign single handedly changed history in one campaign cycle. With never before seen tactics, text messages, e-mail, websites, a genuine effort to get the youth involved and most importantly get the youth to vote and feel cared for, with never before seen levels of volunteerism and get out the vote efforts, public financing policies that have never been used Barack Obama is a leader the Unites States of America has never seen before. With a dancing appearance on Ellen, and claiming he has good moves for a presidential candidate, Barack Obama had the
capability that no president has ever had before, and that is to literally connect to ALL people, democrat or republican, man, woman, young, old, people who make more than 200k a year and people who make minimum wage, all saw something similar in the most unlikely candidate, with the middle name Hussein and a father from Kenya. Barack’s presidency no matter how good or bad will be one of the most memorable and meaningful presidency’s in United States history, because of the doors it has opened for millions of unlikely candidates who never thought would have the opportunity to be president; worry no more Barack Hussein Obama II has laid the groundwork. Not only is Barack Obama the first AfricanAmerican president, but he is an American president, and no one says it better with a cheek to cheek smile on their face than Maya Angelou “I am proud.”
V. Appendix This poll was presented to a class of Political Science students as an option for a final exam and took off from there; with an unexpected number of people who wanted to participate it had the makings of a meaningful project. With a couple of meetings under everyone’s belts and poll questions ready to go, a group of around twenty us laid out a map of the most important places that needed to be polled and we then took to the streets. Our goal was to reach thirty polls per person and we ended up being able to get more than that, with a sample size of 915, a confidence level of 95 percent and a confidence interval of 3.24, our poll was fairly successful being the first of its kind. Things that were talked about in the poll in a focus to keep things fair and balanced were sampling strategies; one strategy was ask every person who came out or ask every three people. The class also did its best to spread people out all over the Denver area and surrounding suburbs in an effort to gain
access to all sorts of voters and demographics. Limitations I feel was one of the major set backs of this poll, no one in the group had been apart of such an effort before, so knowledge of how to go about conducting this was scarce. We only had twenty people volunteer so obviously it was a bit of a hurdle to decide what places were most important to cover and what places would have to fall to the back burner. The biggest problem this group faced was in the question design; being that no one had every designed these types of questions we were often accused of being biased or left leaning, which was far from the intentions of the pollers. My biggest suggestion for the next time this polling assignment is done would have to be testing the questions before we go out in the field. Rather than waiting start the assignment the first week of class, that way there would be time to do some test runs before the actually election day.
Works Cited (2008 November 4). CNN Politics. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from Election Center 2008 Web site: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/ (2004 November 3). CNN Politics. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from Election Center 2004 Web site: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html Barack Obama on Ellen. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from Youtube Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsWpvkLCvu4&feature=channel Larry King: Maya Angelou on Obama election win. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from Youtube Web site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF2opNn-qWY