Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Message of the Kansas Caucuses


Everybody knows that Barack Obamma and Mike Huckabee were the big winners in the Kansas caucuses last week, but there were some other winners and losers.

Big losers were citizens of Kansas who were denied the opportunity to vote in a primary. Secretary of State Ron Thornburg estimated that 800,000 would have voted in a primary. That's 20 times that number that took part in the caucuses. The projected cost to taxpayers was a measly $ 2 million.

Looking at the caucus data shows that Democrats may have been big winners and Republicans big losers.

Nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans caucused in Kansas--and the Democrats did it on a weekday night in the middle of a snowstorm instead of a warm-for- winter Saturday morning.

In raw numbers that was 37,089 Democrats versus 19,432 Republicans. The State GOP had predicted a turnout of 35,000. State Senator Phil Journey, a leader in the Republican right-wing went even further saying he expected a turnout of 50,000. This may have been more spin than real expectations; some caucus sites were overwhelmed and said they had many more than expected.

The contrast is even more striking when compared to party registration. 8.4 percent of Demorats participated as compared to 2.6 percent of Republicans. That's 1 of 12 Democrats and 1 of 38 Republicans.

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