Various theories have been promoted as to how Harry Reid was able to win despite polling that had him trailing by 4 points. Michelle Malkin cites the suggestion that pollsters missed Spanish speaking Latino voters, a bloc that went overwhelmingly for Reid. Fox Nation has a report on the extraordinary pressure Harrah’s Casinos put on its union employees in an effort to get them to the polls.

Neither of these explanations carries much weight. I used the NY Times  Election 2010 site to total the voters in each of the Utah Senate, Governor and House races.

Senate

Candidate Party Votes Pct.
Harry Reid

Dem.
361,655 50.2%
Sharron Angle

Rep.
320,996 44.6%
None of these candidates
16,174 2.2%
Scott Ashjian

Tea
5,805 0.8%
Michael Haines

Ind.
4,248 0.6%
Tim Fasano

I.A.P.
3,180 0.4%
Jesse Holland

Ind.
3,164 0.4%
Jeffrey Reeves

Ind.
2,494 0.3%
Wil Stand

Ind.
2,114 0.3%

Governor

Candidate Party Votes Pct.
Brian Sandoval

Rep.
382,350 53.4%
Rory Reid

Dem.
298,170 41.6%
None of these candidates
12,231 1.7%
Eugene Disimone

Ind.
6,403 0.9%
Floyd Fitzgibbons

I.A.P.
5,049 0.7%
Arthur Lampitt

Lib.
4,672 0.7%
David Curtis
Green 4,437 0.6%
Aaron Honig

Ind.
3,216 0.4%

 

The Senate race had 703K voters, the Governor 698K and the three house races, 589K.  The important comparison is between the Senate and Governor races. If the Reid campaign greatly inflated the Democrat turnout by pressure tactics, how come they didn’t break against Sandoval?

The exit poll data is interesting. In the Governor race, Hispanic/Latino voters broke 64% D, 33% R. In the Senate race, they broke 68% D, 30% R. That means Angle lost less than 5000 Latino voters compared to Sandoval. I don’t see a significant Latino backlash aimed at Angle.

What is surprising is that White voters overwhelmingly supported Sandoval (62% R, 32% D) but not Angle (53% R, 41% D). That’s where Angle lost the race. Around 9% of white voters voted for Sandoval and Reid, and that delivered Reid’s margin of victory.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Angle was perceived as a poor candidate by those white voters.

Update:

After thinking about it for a while, I’ve come up with another alternative explanation. The public sector – teachers, cops, firemen, administrators – went for Reid because he would deliver Federal pork, and Sandoval, because he would manage the state better than Reid junior.

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