Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Narrow, Easy Victory?

    Tuesday, Democrat Ron Barber won a special Congressional election in Arizona to replace Gabrielle Giffords, who gave up her seat a year after the horrific shooting in Tucson in January 2011 that killed six and critically injured Giffords along with 12 others.  Newsweek's The Daily Beast reports on the outcome of the election:
Former Giffords aide Ron Barber beat his Tea Party opponent in an election that was far less close than predicted...
Barber’s easy victory was a surprise in Arizona, where politicos expected a tight race...
And while the progressive Public Policy Poll had Barber leading Kelly by 12 points, on the ground in Arizona, both sides predicted the race would be a nail biter.
The entire 1300-word article manages to never actually give the final results from the "easy victory." The New York Times reports that the tally was 52% for Democrat Barber and 45% for "Tea Party Republican" Jesse Kelly (a third party candidate received about 2%.)  While "easy victory" is certainly true relatively speaking considering Giffords bested Kelly in 2010 by only about one percentage point, it is not exactly a landslide either.  Fortunately for comparison purposes, there was another recent election reported by The Daily Beast:  the Scott Walker recall-that-wasn't in Wisconsin.  Last week, Howard Kurtz reported Walker's win with the same margin of victory as the Arizona election as follows:
Scott Walker narrowly held on to his job as Wisconsin’s governor on Tuesday, surviving a labor-backed recall drive loudly trumpeted as a national showdown over public-employee unions.
So a Democrat retains the seat of a sitting Democrat who was gunned down by a lunatic and has been universally and justly lauded as a hero ever since and seven points is an "easy victory."  But a sitting Republican governor who implemented serious reforms fends off a fierce recall effort that was nationalized by the opposition and even drew the support (if somewhat tepid) of the sitting president, and seven points is a "narrow" victory of survival.  I'm an accountant, but even I cannot reconcile those statements.  It's almost enough to make one think there's a political agenda afoot at The Daily Beast.

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