The Secret Behind Mitt Romney’s Hawaii Landslide

By: inoljt,

It was late in the night of Tuesday March 13th, 2012. For most people it was just another normal day.

For Americans in three states, however, it was election day. The good folk of Alabama, Hawaii, and Mississippi were voting for the Republican 2012 presidential nominee.

Alabama and Mississippi voted first. Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney had a rough time in both primaries, coming third in both. Late at night, the returns from Hawaii started coming in. Romney did better there: he held a small but consistent lead as the precincts started trickling in. By 1:19 a.m. Pacific Time, Romney held 35% of the vote to second place Rick Santorum’s 29%. Things looked good, but not great, for Romney.

Then this came in.

Romney won an astounding 92.5% of the regular ballots in this precinct. His lead jumped to 46%. The Republican ended the night winning Hawaii by a landslide, taking 44.4% of the vote to second place Rick Santorum’s 28.1%

What happened?

The picture above indicates the caucus results in Laie, Hawaii. These were held in Laie Elementary School. You can actually take a look at list of caucus locations at the Hawaii Republican Party’s website; Laie is near the bottom. Laie is located on Hawaii’s main island, Oahu. Specifically, it’s on the island’s north shore.

Laie is one of the most conservative places in Hawaii. In the 2008 presidential election Republican John McCain won three precincts in Hawaii. One of these was Laie.

It was pretty close, however. John McCain took 50.0% of the vote, barely edging the 48.1% of the vote Obama took.

Laie is not the most populated place; 6,138 people live in the CDP that the Census uses for the area. 1,360,301 people live in Hawaii. So it’s about 0.45% of the population.

In the 2012 Hawaii Caucus, however, Laie dramatically overperformed its share of the population. In fact, the word dramatic is somewhat of an understatement. As the picture above indicates, 1,110 people cast regular ballots in Laie. In total, 10,288 Hawaiians participated in the caucuses. So Laie composed 10.9% of the votes cast in the caucus.

Without the votes from this one place alone, Romney would only have won 38.6% of the vote. His margin over Santorum would literally have been cut in half.

So why are the good folk of Laie so passionate about Romney, perhaps one of the least inspiring presidential candidates in recent history?

Well, I think most of you guessed the answer long ago: Laie is home to a Mormon temple. Indeed, the Mormon Church has had a long presence in Laie. The church writes:

Defrauded by Gibson of its property in Lanai, the Church purchased 6,000 acres at Laie, on the island of Oahu, on 26 Jan. 1865. Soon thereafter, a colony, school and sugar factory were started.

Mormons in Laie voted overwhelmingly for a person of their fellow faith. Their support for Romney was almost certainly also a reaction to the hostility Romney has encountered amongst other Christians. This recalls the 80% of the Catholic vote JFK pulled in 1960, when many Protestants opposed him on religious reasons. Since then no politician has ever come close to that level of loyalty amongst Catholics.


The Mormon vote in Laie is reminiscent of the margins that Democrats often pull in inner-cities. It’s pretty stunning.

This result, however, is not actually that unique in the wider context of worldwide voting patterns.  There is a long history of extremely polarized voting based on religious voting. For most of the 19th century in America, you could guess pretty accurately who somebody would vote for by their religion. In Nigeria Muslims in the north and Christians in the south consistently vote different ways. In Israel a similar divide occurs with Muslims and Jews.

In Hawaii, white and Asian Mormons in Laie ended up giving 93% of their vote to Mitt Romney. Put any group under a particular set of (usually adversarial) circumstances, and it end up giving 90+% support to a certain side in an election. Hawaii’s Republican caucus is a perfect example of this.



More Details on the Hawaii Civil Unions Vote

The Democratic sponsor of Hawaii’s civil unions may face a tougher than normal re-election fight in the wake of the April 29th vote to grant gays and lesbians the right to join civil unions. Still, State Rep. Blake Oshiro was heartened by the outcome:

There's more...

On Fatal Shores: American Excess and Recess

American Excess
Not having a television set, much of what passes for popular culture escapes me but when the chatter reaches a crescendo and begins to grace the pages of respectable broadsheets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, one can't help but take notice of social phenomenons. MTV, who invented the genre of reality TV, has scored again with a social anthropological study of a subset of American youth - that of East-Coast Italian-Americans - in a new program called Jersey Shore.

The reality TV show set on this fatal shore of our Atlantic coast began airing earlier this month follows seven deeply tanned oversexed twenty-something Italian-Americans who self-described as guidos and guidettes plus one cast member who is not ethnically Italian but just appreciates the finer points of guidoism. These eight, and trust me eight is more than enough with this group, whose ages range from 21 to 28 shared a house for the month of August in Seaside Heights, New Jersey with MTV recording their exploits where no alcoholic beverage is safe in their seemingly endless pursuit of casual sex. These are individuals for whom life seems to be an eternal collegiate Spring Break vacation. Theirs is a hedonism matched by few; theirs is a brazen debauchery that simply would exhaust most of us. It has to be seen to be believed.

Whatever guidoism happens to be, it apparently includes copious use of hair products (one buys gel by the case), frequent visits to tanning salons (good thing the healthcare reform bill is levying a tax on their use though the aforementioned cast member has a tanning bed at home), fist pumping bravado, sheenly glossed lips that accentuate them for pouting, cologne galore, minimalist clothing (shirts seem optional for men), gyrating hips, tight six-pack abs (one cast member calls his "The Situation" which now doubles as his nickname) and a penchant for clubbing as a lifestyle. It is certainly an attitude and one not necessarily limited to Italian-Americans but perhaps more reflective of a sub-culture that is not uncommon in parts of the Northeast. The self-descriptive moniker of guido is new to me but having lived in Rhode Island and New York, the type is recognizable even if it seems a parody on steroids. Though set in Joisey, the six of the eight cast members hail from New York (three from Staten Island alone) with Rhode Island and New Jersey contributing one cast member apiece.

Not surprisingly, the show has raised a ruckus. The show has angered the more mainstream and venerable Italian-American organizations, upset New Jersey tourism officials, and has caused a few advertisers to skip away. André DiMino, the president of UNICO, the national Italian-American service organization, was upset by the use of the word guido. "It’s a derogatory comment,” DiMino told The New Jersey Star-Ledger before the show first aired. “It’s a pejorative word to depict an uncool Italian who tries to act cool.”

Then again the moniker is embraced by our egotistical eight with relish and pride: “I am a good-looking, well-groomed Italian who’s very, very good with the ladies,” boasts one. And not really different from other communities who have converted epithets into boasts. There are certainly plenty of gay men who self-describe as faggots and queens, for instance. One of the cast members, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi - a 22-year-old from upstate New York - put it like this: “I don’t take offense to it. I feel we are representing Italian-Americans. We look good. We have a good time. We’re nice people. We get along with everybody. I don’t understand why it would be offensive.” And as I noted not everyone in the cast is an Italian-American. Jenni “J-WOW” Farley, 23, a nightclub promoter from Franklin Square, Long Island, finds that “guido” is a cultural phenomenon that transcends race or ethnicity (according to the NJ Star-Ledger, she didn’t phrase it quite so precisely). I suspect that she is right in that it is a 'cultural phenomenon' but what does it say about American culture?

Again not surprisingly, the show has spawned volumes of commentary. To Simon Maxwell Apter of the tabloid blog Huffington Post, the show represents "the triumph of the American Dream, pure and simple" adding that the Jersey Shore is a "positively American creation, a celebration of tawdriness and uninhibited egotism that would be unheard of anywhere else." I'm not quite sure when vapidness and narcissism began to be celebrated so overtly as American virtues. More on the mark is Joshua David Stein of the New York Times who finds the show "nothing more than American Kabuki theater, a refreshingly solipsistic aesthetic world, a temporary coastal community that's a bulwark against normative American youth style." Mr. Stein goes on to opine that the Jersey Shore is American "regionalism at its best." I would add that is also American provincialism at its worst.

But if America is about the pursuit of happiness, then what can one really say? Are they not entitled to the choices they are making in life even if many of us find them lacking in morals and substance? Moreover, these individuals seem genuinely happy. Still I cannot help but wonder if it is we who have failed them. What does this say about our country?

We are all not meant to be rocket scientists but seriously how does anyone not know in which year the country declared independence? And is it any wonder that if the American educational system is producing such less than stellar results that we find ourselves out-competed in the global economy?

Among adults age 25 to 34, the US is ninth among industrialized nations in the share of its population that has at least a high school degree. In the same age group, the United States ranks seventh, with Belgium, in the share of people who hold a college degree. Yet 20 years ago we ranked first in the world in both these socio-economic metrics. Where we once ranked first in the world in the percentage of high school graduation rates, we now rank 18th. Over one third of American teenagers that start ninth grade do not finish high school. We are falling into relative backwardness.

This year the United States will invest $543 billion in education K-12. At all levels of education, the United States spends $11,152 per student. That's the second highest amount worldwide, behind the $11,334 spent by Switzerland. But our results speak for themselves. Given what the United States spends on education, our relatively low student achievement through high school shows that our elementary and secondary school system is clearly inefficient. And it is about to get worse as the second part of this essay will show.

There's more...

CA Measure to Improve Youth Voter Engagement Goes to Governor

Cross-posted to Project Vote's Voting Matters Blog

The California Legislature approved a bill last week to extend voter registration privileges to 17-year-old citizens. If signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bill would help put California youth on the road to a lifetime of democratic participation.

There's more...

Celebrating Hawaii's 50th Birthday

With a small but significant portion of the country believing that Barack Obama is not a citizen despite also correctly believing that he was born in Hawaii -- the two beliefs, when combined, suggesting that there are at least some Americans who don't believe Hawaii to be a state -- I thought it worth passing on the President's proclamation honoring Hawaii's 50th year of statehood.



It is with great pride that our Nation commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Statehood for Hawaii.  On August 21, 1959, we welcomed Hawaii into the United States ohana, or family.  Unified under the rule of King Kamehameha the Great, it was Queen Lili'uokalani who witnessed the transition to a Provisional Government controlled by the United States.  As a Nation, we honor the extensive and rich contributions of Native Hawaiian culture to our national character.

Borne out of volcanic activity in the Pacific Ocean, a chain of islands emerged that would bear witness to some of the most extraordinary events in world history.  From Pu'ukohola Heiau and the royal residence at the `Iolani Palace, to the USS ARIZONA Memorial and luaus that pay tribute to Hawaiian traditions, Americans honor the islands' collective legacy and admire their natural beauty.  Home to unique and endangered species, active volcanoes, and abundant reefs, the Hawaiian islands actively conserve their distinctive ecosystems with responsible development and a deep-rooted appreciation for the land and surrounding ocean.

The Aloha Spirit of Hawaii offers hope and opportunity for all Americans.  Growing up in Hawaii, I learned from its diversity how different cultures blend together into one population -- proud of their personal heritage and made stronger by their shared sense of community.  Our youngest State, Hawaii faces many of the same challenges other States face throughout our country, and it represents the opportunity we all have to grow and learn from each other.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim August 21, 2009, as the Fiftieth Anniversary of Hawaii Statehood.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.


There's more...


Advertise Blogads