Friday, July 11, 2008

Guam: Why Frontload in the Primaries When You Can Do it in the General Election?

Not content with merely being noticed during the presidential primaries this year, the Guamanian legislature has passed a measure to frontload its general election vote (technically a straw poll anyway) to coincide with its primary election on September 6. As Guam goes, so goes the nation. Well, maybe not, but if that were true, it would be the shortest general election campaign ever. The official general election season traditionally kicks off following Labor Day and the primary in Guam falls on the Saturday after Labor Day (September 1 this year).

The good folks in Guam must have missed the fact that college football will have begun by that point. They can't compete with that. Then again McCain will be competing with the first NFL game with his Thursday night acceptance speech at the GOP convention. Who said sports and politics don't mix?

Seriously though, this is an interesting move by the legislature in Guam. They aren't going to get any attention in November anyway (since their votes don't officially count toward the eventual winner of the presidential race), but they may at least get a mention in the media with this move. I wouldn't put this on par with the Iowa straw poll that the Republicans hold in the late summer before primary season begins every four years, but the media will be looking for signals of who will win this election in November. And even a straw poll in Guam will be something different from a convention or what will, by then, be a steady stream, if not torrent, of poll numbers. If you're among the powers that be in Guam, why not not make the move?

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the link.

Recent Posts:
Bob Barr Through the Lens of the Zogby Polls

The Electoral College Map (7/9/08) [Update]

Polling Alert


Jack said...

I'd love to see the results of past elections in Guam, if you have them. Given the fact that, according to the article you cited, the US media never reports the results, it may be hard to find.

All things considered, this seems to be a sensible move for Guam - why not at least get some attention?

Josh Putnam said...

In 2004:
Bush 64%
Kerry 35%

A high proportion of military personnel likely helped Bush in 2004.

The Guam Election Commission doesn't have anything on their site for elections prior to 2004. I'll poke around and see what I can come up with though.

Jack said...

Bush beat Gore in 2000, 51.6%-47.2%:

Clinton beat Dole in 1996, 59.7%-38.8%:

In 1992, Clinton beat G. H. W. Bush, 9184-6086:

Can't find the results any further back but for a meaningless vote, that is enough data.

Josh Putnam said...

Here are those links from Jack:


Seeing that Guam has gone with the winner in each of these elections makes me wonder: When do they vote? The island is across the international dateline from us. It is 3:23pm now on the east coast and 5:23am in Guam now. Do they vote on the actual election day (my guess) or do they vote on the day after and thus after the election has been decided.

If they vote on election day, and thus way ahead of the rest of the US, Guam seems to be an interesting harbinger of things to come once the sun rises on election day in the continental US. That would mean the move the legislature made could be a potential bellwether in September.

If they vote after everyone else, they already know the results and are merely an echo. In that case, I don't really blame the legislature for the move.

Thanks for the links Jack.

Jack said...

Glad I was able to find them. How do I post links in a neat fashion like you did?

Even if Guam has been a bellweather lately (and I'm a liberal Democrat, so if you ask me, Bush didn't really win in 2000), I wouldn't read too much into it. It's a small territory far from the mainland with a different interests, demographics, culture, etc.

One thing that does suggest the voting is after the US voting (for lack of a better phrase) is that the only year the Guam vote was close was 2000, which was the year that the result wasn't immediately known. In the other years, if voting in Guam was after the voting that counted, the Guam voters may well have been confirming the results, while that was not the case in the disputed (and stolen - had to get that in) 2000 election.

All this, though, is just speculation ...

Josh Putnam said...

That's an excellent point about 2000. I may have to actually contact the Guam Election Commission to check on the timing of their vote. I was in the process of doing that yesterday when your comment with the results came through. Sadly, their email link is dead. And I'm not calling Guam. Surprise.

To add the links like I did you have to write in the actual html code. I covered this in a post before, but it didn't appear to be too terribly effective. Have a look at it and see if you can get it to work. Otherwise, I'll find another way.

Jack said...

Thanks. I should have checked this post before. I wasn't using the site at the time but no excuses - I could have found the post.

Good luck getting in touch with Guam.

SarahLawrenceScott said...

I know I'm drifting off-topic, but will convert a long url into a short one for you. Good to know if you need to post somewhere that doesn't allow html.

Jack said...

Thanks. I actually thought about using it when I was posting the long links but decided not to for some reason.

Josh Putnam said...

Tinyurl is a good alternative, but the main problem when this issue arose was that even the shortest url got truncated in the blogger format. It was more a comment against blogger than anything else. As the de facto moderator here, I don't have a problem with linking those things myself. The traffic here isn't at a level that I can't simply take those blogger-truncated urls that commenters add and link them through html myself. Now, if US News comes calling again, we may have that problem. I'm just glad people are stopping by and adding to what I've begun.

And Jack, my comment wasn't directed at you in any negative (ex post facto) way. We tried the method in that post out in the old days--before the maps and heavier traffic--and it didn't work out for whatever reason. I was in a hurry this morning when I posted that. So all tact may have been thrown out the window in my rush to get the point in before I hit the road yet again. Geez, Athens, GA where are you?

Josh Putnam said...

One more note:

I've written a piece for e-International Relations on the international communities response to the US presidential race that I will post here as well when the time comes. I want to give them first dibs on the traffic though. Hopefully I'll have that up either tomorrow or Monday.

Jack said...

Josh, don't worry, I didn't take anything you said as tactless or offensive in any way.

Josh Putnam said...

Ah, poor blog moderator. Reading into things again. I sent off for some thicker skin but it's taking longer to get here than I expected. Maybe it's coming from Guam.

A Guam voter...... said...

Hey there! I saw this blog through a google search and I was deeply intrigued. To answer the questions posted on the comments, yes.. Guam does vote a straw poll during election day..... but... as Guam is a day ahead of the mainland US (hence the term, "Where America's Day Begins," we actually do this voting almost a whole day before the US Mainland does their General Election. I myself am privy to this fact as I, being a Liberal Democrat, was part of the 33% Guamanian minority who voted for Kerry in 2004. As I am currently on Hawaii, I plan on making this vote "count" for Obama (As if that matters in this solidly blue state... har har). This year we may see a break of this pattern though (i.e. the Guam straw poll being predictive of the US General Election results). Guam is a peculiar territory.... deeply rroted in Catholic beliefs. If anything, I would brand the electorate there EXTREMELY socially conservative (even the Democrats there are Pro-Life), yet EXTREMELY economically liberal (even the Republicans there support HUGE governement spending on social programs and hiring their close family friends to run them). Obama himself won the island by 7 votes..... and counting the super-delegates in the island, Hillary pulled ahead (you see, Hillary was a symbol to Guam voters as a "What can you do for ME" kinda politician). Obama, does not seem to play to this pandering as much as Hillary.... this may in turn hurt him in the Guam straw poll, but may very well help him in the US Mainland GE. Here's to a hope of broken PATTERNS!!!