Did Democrat Nancy Boyda beat Republican Jim Ryun because Kansas voters were turning away from the GOP, or was something else at work?
Siege Mentality raises that question with an interesting county-by-county analysis of Boyda's victory in the 2nd Congressional District. Good old Siege looked at the votes in 2004 as compared to 2006 and finds that low GOP turnout doomed Ryun. Siege notes:
From these numbers, it's clear that talk of a realignment in Kansas politics is premature. If enough Republican voters had turned out on Tuesday--if Ryun had been able to get within a few hundred votes of his 2004 totals--Boyda would have lost big. 2006 was an extraordinary election year, and it's unlikely that she will face the same combination of energized Democrats and dispirited Republicans in the near future.I agree that Boyda is only going to be a one-term member of Congress if she doesn't find a way to bring more voters to her side. Her margin of victory was simply too small for her to take that seat for granted.
I'm not certain, yet, what to make of the race, except that old ideas of who's who and what's what in Kansas need to be tossed. Unfortunately, our analysis is hampered by the fact that no one did any exit polls in Kansas (or at least, not as far as I know). I would have loved to have seen the results of such a survey.
Many thanks to Siege for doing the analysis.