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November 03, 2004

Well Done The Guardian!!

As I sit here just before 8 am in Portugal the US Presidential race is still too close to call although it looks like Bush is leading and that Ohio is the deciding state. I've also seen that we might have to wait a bit for the definitive answer as provisional ballots in Ohio won't get counted for 11 days. So, if Bush's (current) margin is less than the number of said provisional ballots we might have to wait. All speculation of course.
However, there is one result that is solid. You might recall that the Guardian ran a campaign called Operation Clark County. The idea was to get varied Euro-lefties to write polite letters to voters in this swing county in a swing state and get them to vote for Kerry. (That's not what they said but is what they meant.) The original news can be seen here and you might want to notice some of the comments both at my place and at Tim Blair's. The essential feeling was that such letters to the famously ornery good citizens of the Mid-West might backfire. Given the content of the public letters from some of the UK's intellectual glitterati this might seem a fair assumption. They fairly reek of condescention.
Tim Blair then goes on to up the ante as I reported here by launching a letter writing campaign to the Guardian, something that provoked outrage, a flood of emails and the closing down of the whole thing. A sample letter was this:

To: Grauniad
cc: Jonathon Freedland

Dear Sir:
Fuck off and die.

So far all of this is just good clean election year fun (although your mileage may differ). Much more interesting is to look at the final effects. Clark County results are now out (100% counted) so what were those results?
Clark 100/100 %ge votes
Bush 50.96% 34,444
Kerry 48.56% 32,824
Badnarik .27% 183
Peroutka .21% 144

What were the results in 2000? I don't have access to comparable figures and the mocking of al-Grauniad does not merit further research so here are the figures that were given at the beginning of Operation Clark County:
In the 2000 election, Al Gore won Clark County by 1% - equivalent to 324 votes - but George Bush won the state as a whole by just four percentage points.

So, the County moved from a 324 Gore margin to a 1,620 Bush one. Further, more rigorous analysis (perhaps with more nuance) might show differently but at first blush that looks like Euro-weenie letter writing campaigns convert Democrats into Republicans to the tune of a two thousand vote shift in the margin. No doubt those at the Guardian who thought this up are simply hugging themselves with delight at the proof of their effectiveness. Or maybe it's Karl Rove doing the happy dance as the hunt for his deeply buried mole inside the Euro-left continues. Whichever.
It just doesn't seem to have been a very bright idea really does it?

November 3, 2004 in Politics | Permalink


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» TIM WORSTALL THANKS... from The Spoons Experience
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Tracked on Nov 3, 2004 8:39:48 AM

» Thank You, Guardian, For Winning Ohio For Bush from Say Anything
I was going to be the first person to do this, but Tim Worstall beat me to it. Remember a few weeks back when the Guardian newspaper over in Great Britain started a letter writing campaign to the citizens in... [Read More]

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» http://www.crankyneocon.com/crankyneocon/2004/11/economist_and_f.html from Cranky Neocon
Economist and former Monty Python cast member Tim Worstall brings good news about the "Operation Clark County" results.Further, more rigorous analysis (perhaps with more nuance) might show differently but at first blush that looks like Euro-weenie lett... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 3, 2004 9:39:22 PM


Yes, and I'm glad to have notified the local Clark County newspaper about the Guardian campaign.

Excellent work y'all. We've got some important elections in 2006, too, so they should try it again then. Perhaps the Repubs could pick up even more control of the House and Senate...

Posted by: Meep | Nov 3, 2004 9:22:13 AM

Yes indeed. My apologies for not noting your role more fully.

Posted by: Tim Worstall | Nov 3, 2004 11:39:30 AM

I had the same thought at 1:07 am:


Posted by: Kenneth Greenlee | Nov 3, 2004 12:39:39 PM

The real fun in 2006 will probably be the primary battles. Between the conservative, libertarian and country club wings of the Republican party, and between the moonbat, moderate, and libertarian wings of the Democrat party.

Posted by: triticale | Nov 3, 2004 1:20:20 PM

Thanks a bunch, Al-Guardian! I think it was Lady Antonia specifically who pushed Bush over the top!

Posted by: Irene Adler | Nov 3, 2004 3:25:11 PM

I'm tempted to write to the nine voters whose addresses the Grauniad gave me, to ask how they voted, and whether a letter from me would have swayed them either way.

Tim adds: Plesae do. I'd love to know the answer.

Posted by: Weasel Bearder | Nov 3, 2004 5:05:52 PM

Say, when does the Guardian plan on starting up their campaign to let us Americans write to U.K. residents to tell them how to vote?

I'm thinking a Robbie Williams/Posh Spice ticket to serve as Uberlord and Secretary Poobah of Englandia is the message that needs to be communicated to the confused citizens of Britainville or whatever it is they call their country.

Posted by: 2BrixShy | Nov 3, 2004 5:32:14 PM

Ted Kennedy still has a job. Any chances of convincing the Guardian readership to write obnoxious letters to the Massachussettsi and demand that they return Ted for another term?

Posted by: Irene Adler | Nov 3, 2004 8:38:22 PM

I had the same thought regarding Hillary, Irene. I'm sure she could use some Grauniad influence in New York in 2006.

Posted by: StinKerr | Nov 3, 2004 10:59:38 PM

It's just like Florida in 2000! See, this is why we should switch from the stupid, antiquated electoral system to a nationwide popular vote.


Posted by: Jim Treacher | Nov 3, 2004 11:31:35 PM