"Ask the political answer man": What the heck's a vote "shift"?

Friend and reader Linda K. emails me with…

Could you please explain to me how the heck John Kerry could have become President but for a shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio? By all counts, Bush won Ohio by 120,000+ votes…so where the hell does this “shift” of 60,000 votes enter into anything? I have had several arguments lately, the worst being a couple of days ago with a local judge that stops for coffee every morning at my husbands shop…. he’s a diehard democrat and makes some of the most ‘off the wall’ claims! I need a comeback to that argument (about Ohio) that will shut them up once and for all.


When they lose elections, they call it a “shift” of votes. There is no “shift”. More people voted for Bush than Kerry. Period. Nobody ever says “Candidate Smith won the election by 5,500 ‘shifts’.”

What the guy is trying to say is that Bush won by 120,000… so… in other words, if Kerry would have gotten 60,001 of those Bush votes, Kerry would have won by one.

Big deal… if the Eagles got a “shift” of one touchdown they would have won the Super Bowl. The point of ludicrousness in that football analogy being that there is no “shift” after the fact. You either score the points or you don’t. Your judge friend is saying, in essence, “If the Patrots scored that touchdown, but four of those seven points were put on the board for the Eagles, Philadelphia would have won!” Implying that the Eagles somehow got screwed because the guy operating the scoreboard wasn’t crooked. Make sense? Me neither… but neither do they.

They use the word “shift” because it implies there’s somebody doing the “shifting” (i.e. sneaky Republican). They just won’t accept that they and their antiquated candidates with their fossilized ideology are just plain unpopular.

Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. MichelleMalkin.com alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: WriteDoug@Live.com.