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Curious pledge demographics

Posted by Richard on January 30, 2007

Last Thursday, I wrote about The NRSC Pledge, a grass-roots online protest — with teeth! — against the vertebrae-challenged Senate Republicans. The pledge is a promise not to contribute to any Republican senator who votes for a resolution disapproving the Iraq "troop surge" plan and not to contribute to the NRSC if it supports such a senator. Over 30,000 people have electronically signed it in the past five days, and this nice map shows the number of signers in each state. I’m amazed by some of the numbers.

California (population 36 million*) has by far the largest number of signers — over 6,000. Second is Texas (pop. 23 million) with about 2,500. Colorado (pop. 4.5 million) takes third place with over 2,200. Arizona (6 million), Florida (18 million), and Minnesota (5 million) all have around 1,300 signers — and no other state has over 1,000!

Look at some of the other big states — Illinois (13 million) has under 1,000, New York (20 million) and Pennsylvania (12.5 million) have fewer than 800 each, and New Jersey (8.7 million) has just over 400.

It’s not just a red state / blue state thing, either. Alabama is a decidedly red state with about the same population as Colorado, but one-tenth as many signers. North Carolina has twice Colorado’s population, but one-fourth the signers. The numbers for the smaller-population western states are pitiful: Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas have about 50 signers each, Idaho about 100, and Utah about 200.

So, how does Colorado end up hot on the heels of Texas, which has over five times our population, and far ahead of any comparable-population state? Are we that much more internet-oriented? That much more politically aware? That much less tolerant of hypocrisy and self-serving posturing? You got me.

And, yes, I most certainly do think these resolutions are self-serving posturing. The Senate just unanimously approved Gen. Petraeus. That so many senators are eager to go on record against what ought to be called the Petraeus Plan (he helped formulate it and strongly endorsed it in his Senate testimony) is an indication of how unserious and inconsistent they are. That they’re ignoring warnings by Petraeus and others about the harm their posturing does is an indication of how craven and contemptible they are.

So, have you signed the pledge yet? Why not do it right now? Oh, and if you have any theories about the participation rate differences, especially Colorado’s stand-out performance, drop them in the comments.

* All population numbers are rounded off from the 2005 figures at

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