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.



Primary Precinct Problems Presage General Election Chaos Unless Addressed Immediately

Weekly Voting Rights News Update

By Erin Ferns

An increase in turnout among historically underrepresented voters Tuesday brings hope for outstanding voter participation that represents all Americans in November. Project Vote's Super Tuesday exit poll analysis found young and minority voters made a strong presence at polls in key states across the country, including record-setting turnout among Latinos in California. While voter participation appears to be on the rise in this critical presidential election year, polling place problems persist as some voters - and their precincts' poll workers - were unaware of state and federal voting procedures, creating the risk of intimidation and disenfranchisement. In order to maintain fair and open access to voting for all Americans, it important to prepare voters and facilitate effective poll worker training before November.

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Report from Mcnerney-ville

I thought I'd share this email I sent out to my family and friends at 2:30am last night when I got back from Tracy, California. A little context: My family has a long tradition of radical politics, communists, sixties revolutionaries, etc...This is my coming out email for going "mainstream"... :) also, much of what follows goes ditto for the netroots in a virtual sorta way...  

"Dear family and friends...

Spent all day today working out in Tracy at the Mcnerney campaign to unseat Richard Pombo (with my cousin Katie and friend Eric!) and I must say this was one of the more wonderful days of my life. It's hard to describe the feeling of tromping around all day in the beautiful weather, surrounded by SUVs, quiet neighborhoods, streets that are all named either Sycamore Way or Weeping Willow Lane, huge lines at the polling station, the ragtag band of rebels gathering at the home of Martha Gamez,  perhaps my greatest hero of all time--a woman in her sixties who hasn't slept more than 2 hours a night for a week organizing this vast army of eager but entirely clueless Bay Areans into an eager, happy bunch of door-knockers and still managing to give out hugs and laughs and wow Americans sure can be decent wonderful people sometimes. Today was the day the last smoldering coals of cynicism died in my Election-2000-encrusted-heart. As the sun went down on the vast flat aquamarine skies of the valley, and we stood at the poll watching a huge line of happy, talkative voters wait patiently for their turn and a little posse of sleazy-looking Republicans started snooping around and looking ominous and I thought "No, today, you are not going to do anything. Because we are here. For the first time, I am not watching you fuck this up on the news afterwards anymore. I am here, and so are thousands upon thousands like me. There's Jeb who sat (mostly stood) all day at the poll, that's  12 hours if you're counting, watching for problems. There's Lee who I became best friends with for a day as we got lost in the spiraling suburbs over and over, there's Carolyn who's been traveling across the country with her husband in their RV and they decided to stop here in Tracy for a month and get this election won. And more..."

From now on, anytime you hear me say anything bitter or angry about the American people, you remind me of this day. You remind of the folks in their seventies and the college kids who patiently knocked at doors and worked like their lives depended on it and shocked those little worms. The operatives who were flown in from DC by Pombo and the RNC were defeated by a mob of smiling seniors and housewives and berkeley students and painters and laborers. And then while I was standing there as the poll wrapped up and talked to my friend Eric who said it sounded like they were projecting  a 30 seat pickup for Dems a chill went through me. I thought, everywhere around the country in small towns in Nebraska and Colorado and New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, there were people just like me doing this very thing and it meant something. The Democrats hardly even matter in this equation, and they will probably do their best to squander this. But it's too late. People know that working hard enough and watching enough and caring enough actually do make the little guy win every once in a while. That's a very dangerous feeling to have. I've never worked a campaign before on the street, and I will never let one go by again without knocking on some doors. I saw this short, balding, rather quiet, decent older alternative-energy consultant start with a write-in campaign and finish by defeating one of the most powerful, corrupt and poisonous people in congress. And all we did was go door to door and talk to folks. I know I'm not the only one who's gone all-in on this process now. I live here, my beautiful niece and nephew live here, my wonderful parents live here, all my amazing cousins and uncles and the spirits of our grandparents and we honor them in this work. I'm tired of being angry at this place. Time to make some things grow that (my nieces and nephews) Orion and Ivy and Sebastian and the generation before them can tend when they get old.

If you ever want to see where this war is going to be won, walk out on those streets with these people some day. You might never be able to curse or generalize again."

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Help me write some campaign literature

Fellow political hacks,

I'm putting together some material for a lit drop and canvass in my home precinct. My mom is the democratic precinct chair and she's planning on going out and talking to people this weekend. This is a very republican district and we're basically starting from scratch in talking to people and building up our party. We're working especially hard for our local congressional candidate, David Gill. Anyway, I'm writing up a script/literature sheet for volunteers to use and hand to people in describing why they should get out and vote against Tim Johnson. This piece is directed towards Dems but especially independents since they make up the largest share of registered voters in the precinct. So I need your suggestions on how to improve what I've written so far.

Content is on the flip.

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