Since I’ve spent a good hunk of my free time over the last week or two working on this year’s Off on a Tangent political endorsements, I thought it might be interesting to look back at my endorsement history and do some statistical analysis (yes, I am that nerdy). I thought it might give me (and you) a broader insight into my political views and produce some interesting tid-bits.
For this analysis, I looked at all political endorsements made on this site from 2004 (my first time making formal endorsements) to 2010. This year’s elections are excluded for now because they haven’t happened yet; part of what I’m looking at is how often my endorsed candidates won, and I won’t know that until November for this year’s endorsements.
Over the 2004-2010 period, I have written endorsements in races for 32 elective seats, and have reviewed the positions of 85 candidates for those seats—an average of 2.66 candidates per seat and 4.57 seats per year. In total, I have endorsed Democrats 16 percent of the time, Republicans 53 percent of the time, and third-parties or independents 6 percent of the time. The remaining 25 percent of the time I have either made no endorsement or endorsed abstention due to a lack of acceptable candidates, lack of differentiation between candidates, or utter pointlessness of the office.
It would appear that the voters tend to agree with me, on average: In races where I have made an endorsement, the outcome of the election aligned with my recommendations over 62 percent of the time.
Additionally, I have made endorsements on 20 ‘yes/no’ ballot issues—8 Virginia constitutional amendments and 12 local bond referendums. I have split my endorsements exactly 50 percent ‘yes’ and 50 percent ‘no’ on ballot issues, although there is a significant difference in my endorsement trends between the two types of referendums. For constitutional amendments, I have endorsed a ‘yes’ vote 87 percent of the time and a ‘no’ vote 13 percent of the time. For bond referendums, I have endorsed a ‘yes’ vote only 25 percent of the time and a ‘no’ vote 75 percent of the time. This reflects my reluctance to take on large government debts except when absolutely necessary.
The voters agreed with my referendum endorsements only 50 percent of the time. Again, this differs drastically between the types of referendums—the voters agreed with my endorsements in 88 percent of constitutional amendment ballots, but only in 25 percent of bond referendums. I continue to believe that this is largely because people don’t understand that bonds are government debt. Many voters simply vote ‘yes’ to support the agency that stands to get the money (schools, fire, police, transportation, etc.) without considering whether the actual proposed benefits justify taking-on that debt.
Anyway, I’m glad to see that the actual statistics back up what I’ve always said—I’m an independent, and am not beholden to any party line. Yeah, I definitely tend to the Republican side of the spectrum, but I don’t hesitate to endorse Democratic, third-party, or independent candidates when they deserve it . . . or to withhold endorsements all together when there are no worthy candidates, or when a particular office is so pointless as to be unworthy of attention (e.g., the non-regulatory local Soil & Water Conservation District Boards . . . which apparently only exist to produce pamphlets and take up space).