Ticket splitters

November 5, 2008

Hoosiers, as predicted, did a lot of ticket-splitting yesterday. They gave Barack Obama a razor-thin win over John McCain, then re-elected Mitch Daniels by a comfortable margin. Then there was this, in a race the polls said would be a lot closer:

Facing a well-funded opponent for his 3rd District seat, and with Libertarian Bill Larsen taking several thousand votes that might have gone to Souder, the incumbent still won by a larger margin than he did in 2006, nearly 11 percent this time with 98 percent of the county precincts reporting, compared with 8 percent two years ago.

Congratulations to Larsen, who pulled 5 percent. That’s a respectable showing for a third-party candidate and something to build on.

Not many people were willing to predict the outcome of the races for state attorney general and superintendent of public instruction, which featured four relatively unknown names. The two Republicans squeezed out a win, which some will say means Daniels had longer coattails than Obama. But maybe the answer is simple mechanics. If most of the vote-splitters were Republicans crossing to Obama, they underwent some trauma with their very first vote. Then, when they switched back to vote for Daniels, they were once again in comfort-zone territory and not likely to cross over again farther down the ballot.

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