It’s good to matter on national scene

Published 12:01am Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Our exits were worth polling Tuesday, and that means something special for our great state.

Four years ago, as the Mississippi presidential primary rolled around, there was little interest in what happened in Mississippi. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were still in a close race, but Mississippi wasn’t expected to matter all that much. John McCain had already clinched the Republican nomination before the first Mississippi voter headed to the polls.

But Tuesday, as a slow trickle of Mississippi voters left their precincts, some were met by people conducting exit polls for national media agencies. Some locals working for the networks were polling outside the Adams County Courthouse late in the day. Others were doing the same in Wilkinson County.

News agencies use exit polling as a means of predicting the winner of an election, among other things, before the final vote tallies are available. And the fact that they were polling in Mississippi meant the nation’s eyes were on us.

With three Republican candidates seriously in the running for the nomination, Mississippi’s relatively small number of national delegates are coveted. The candidates proved that in the week before the election, making visits to Mississippi cities and eating “cheesy” grits, as Mitt Romney mistakenly called them.

Mississippi has 40 delegates to the Republican National Convention. Three of those delegates are party officials who can choose their candidate. Voters in the primary determine the votes of the remaining 37 delegates.

Being a small state during election season can easily be disheartening. Our nation’s electoral system means that we little guys often don’t count for much of anything. Dozens of small states can go red; but blue may still easily win.

Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Texas and California, those are popular states regardless of the popular vote.

But — just like you learned in elementary school — when the race is tight, every vote counts.

Rick Santorum was happily counting our delegates Tuesday night, as election returns showed he was winning Mississippi.

It’s too early to know whether our 37 delegates will make a difference at the convention, but seeing a few people conducting exit polls should serve as a reminder that our state had a voice, and we must use it.

Voter turnout was predictably low Tuesday, only 14 percent of registered voters went to the polls. Such turnout numbers are always disheartening, but those who do cast their ballots are quick to tell you why.

It’s a duty, a right, a responsibility, they’ll tell you. It’s just what you do.

To those who voted, thank you for realizing that — despite the final delegate count — your vote matters.

This could be the year Mississippi makes its mark, and you’ll be among those who were counted.

Louisiana voters will have their chance to speak soon. Presidential primaries in that state are on March 24. With a number of local elections on the Concordia Parish ballots, voter turnout should be better.

And after Tuesday night’s results, the exit polls will likely find their way to Louisiana soon.

 

Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or julie.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.

 

 

  • Anonymous

    Only 14% turn-out is quite disheartening, but the voters that cared enough to vote, proved that money can’t buy everything. The ‘white obama’ has learned that Mississippi has a strong voice and sampling our ‘cheesy grits’ just didn’t help his campaign.    

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Truthfully the republican party don’t have a contender of any competion to run against President Obama for the whigs are the do nothing party that shouldn’t accept their paydays for they definately didn’t earn it??!! Cockran and Wicker are pitiful for leaders of Ms. for nothing!! Wicker I see that the ND likes to publish his opinion which is beside the point of nothing!! GOP party is making fun of our southern heritage and should be called down the first day that Bryant didn’t say a word-shame on you Bryant and others!!!

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the
    candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in
    presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters
    and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of
    the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the
    electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all
    the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the
    presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and
    DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in
    the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President.
    Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the
    President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial
    property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have
    come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported
    the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the
    presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with
    about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote
    is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as
    every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in
    closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO –
    70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and
    WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –
    75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT -72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK –
    81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in
    Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%,
    OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV -
    81%; and in other states
    polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR
    - 76%, and WA –
    77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes
    should
    win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small,
    medium-small, medium, and large
    states. The bill has been enacted by 9
    jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to
    bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

    Follow National Popular Vote
    on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

  • http://twitter.com/oldgulph s e

    “Being a small state
    during election season can easily be disheartening. Our nation’s electoral
    system means that we little guys often don’t count for much of anything. Dozens
    of small states can go red; but blue may still easily win.

    Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Texas
    and California, those are popular states regardless of the popular vote.

    But
    — just like you learned in elementary school — when the race is tight, every
    vote counts.”

     

    State size isn’t the issue.
     

    12 of the 13 smallest states
    are evenly divided between voting reliably red or blue in presidential
    elections.

     Illinois, Texas, and
    California voters are also not up for grabs, and are ignored after the
    primaries.

    Every vote does NOT matter to
    the candidates.

    Now political clout after the primaries comes
    from being among the handful of battleground states.  New Hampshire, New
    Mexico and Nevada get a disproportionate amount of attention, while more than
    2/3rds of states and voters are ignored, like Mississippi.

     

    In
    the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that, at most,
    only 12 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all
    laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who
    receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. At
    most, 12 states will determine the election. Candidates will not care about at
    least 76% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and
    medium small states, and in 16 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX.  2012 campaigning could be even
    more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. In 2008, candidates concentrated
    over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states.  Over half
    (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). Candidates have
    no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the
    voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly
    behind.  More than 85
    million voters have been just spectators to the general election.

    Now, policies important
    to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states – that include 9 of the
    original 13 states - are not as
    highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes
    to governing, too.

    Now with
    state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned
    in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population
    states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential
    elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6
    regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential
    elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter.
    Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Support for a
    national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent
    polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every
    demographic group.  Support
    in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE –75%, ID
    -77%, ME – 77%, MT- 72%,  NE
    - 74%, NH–69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%,  SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV-
    81%,  and WY- 69%.

    Of the 22 medium-lowest population states (those with 3,4,5, or 6
    electoral votes), only 3 have been battleground states in recent elections–
    NH, NM, and NV. These three states contain only 14 (8%) of the 22 medium-lowest
    population states’ total 166 electoral votes. 

    Minority party votes
    in each state are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate. 

    And
    now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for
    winning candidates in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates.  Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8
    small western states, with less than a third of California’s population,
    provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry
    (1,235,659).