Guess what’s going to swing the election

Charles Murray (the man who helped to bring you The Bell Curve and similar discredited attempts at science) brings you some more foolishness today in The New York Times editorial page. His column regards the recent law that tries to make online gambling much harder. It contains this pip:

In the short term, this law all by itself could add a few more Democratic Congressional seats in the fall elections. We are talking about a lot of people (an estimated 23 million Americans gamble online) who are angry enough to vote on the basis of this one issue, and they blame Republicans.

Please. He might as well have said, “We’re talking about a lot of people (Over 200 million people have heard of the game of poker), and they all hate Republicans enough to declare war and bring down the Republic.” 23 million people represents almost 8% of the US population, and almost 20% of voters. Reading this you might think that 20% of the voters have actually swung into the Democrat column. You’d think we’d hear about such a huge landslide change in the electorate like this. No? Hm, maybe 23 million isn’t the right number, let’s dig a little deeper.

How many of those 23 million are not active gamblers (one bet last year shouldn’t count)?
How many of them aren’t eligible voters?
How many of them even know about the new law?
How many of them aren’t particularly mad because they know how to get around the new law?
How many of them aren’t particularly mad because they believe it’s a good law?*

What’s left is people who are genuinely annoyed by this. Of those…

How many are so mad, it overwhelms any other political ideas they have? (I sincerely hope the answer is very low.)
How many of them ever vote? (If the answer is yes, doesn’t that imply they do have some pre-existing political ideas?)
How many of them actually blame the Republicans (the vote passed overwhelmingly by both parties, and was part of a big security bill)?
How many of them already vote Republican (so their vote doesn’t change)?
How many of them are in districts that are heavily tilted to either side (so their vote doesn’t matter)?

I don’t know what number comes out of the other end, but my guess is that it’s insignificant. Charles Murray is an idiot.

*I myself play the lottery once in a while, even though I think they’re immoral.

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