That’s what history tells us, anyway. Scott Rasmussen, at his new web site ScottRasmussen.com, offers some reassuring facts:
From 2000 to 2016, there were a total of 4,687 statewide elections in the United States, and 26 of them have been close enough to require a recount. Three of those recounts overturned the results declared on election night: a 2004 governor’s race in Washington, a 2006 state auditor’s race in Vermont, and a 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.
We remember that one.
In all three cases, the change in votes was very small, 440 or less. According to an analysis by FairVote, the average change was about two-hundredths of a percentage point (0.019%). In all three cases, a Republican was initially declared the victor and the Democrat won on the recount.
This year, the Florida Senate and governor’s races are both involved in a recount. The initial recount is scheduled to end on Thursday at 3 p.m. While the elections were very close, the leads currently held by Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis are much larger than the number of votes that typically shift during a recount.
By more than an order of magnitude.
Scott Rasmussen is an accomplished guy. He and his father founded ESPN back in the 1980s. They eventually sold out, and Scott founded Rasmussen Reports. I have long thought that Rasmussen Reports is the best of the pollsters, not so much on account of superior accuracy as because it is creative about asking interesting questions that often yield interesting answers.
Rasmussen sold Rasmussen Reports a few years ago and was out of the polling business for a while, I assume because of a non-compete agreement. But now he is back with ScottRasmussen.com, which is well worth checking out.
He has also just published a book, The Sun is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not. I plan to review the book when I have had time to finish it.
Yesterday, Scott spoke at an event sponsored by my organization, Center of the American Experiment. We billed the speech as an analysis of the 2018 election results, but it turned out to be more (and better) than that. Rasmussen offered an upbeat assessment of where we are as a country, and why the younger generation offers reason for hope, not pessimism. It was a much needed tonic, and Rasmussen, whom I also interviewed for our magazine, is a genuinely nice guy.
Yesterday’s program will be re-broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio tomorrow at noon and 9 p.m. Central. Sometime tomorrow or the next day it will be posted here if you want to listen. I recommend it.