Did low turnout, poll statistics play a huge role in Fletcher's defeat?
For weeks, the polls predicted a double-digit loss for Gov. Fletcher, and that's exactly what happened.
Several Republicans and observers think that those polls were a self-fulfilling prophecy in that the dismal numbers caused lots of GOP voters to stay home.
We heard from one Republican activist in a staunchly-GOP county that went for Beshear. He said thusly:
"Every d--n Democrat in the county voted, but the Republicans just sat home on their @$$e$ and didn't turn out."
He placed part of the blame on the local party chair, who he said was not active in organizing the local party and getting the vote turned out in a county that should have overwhelmingly gone for Fletcher.
In another county, a very active community leader said she perceived that a lot of people who would otherwise vote for Fletcher took a look at the polls, said, "What's the use," and didn't go vote. This woman, whose family owns a newspaper, went as far as saying she thought polls should be outlawed because they unduly influence supporters of the trailing candidate to give up hope and not vote.
This is the equivalent of giving up when you're 20 points behind with 10 minutes to go in the second half, and quitting, and ending up getting blown out by about 35 points.
Preliminary observations we've seen in other Republican counties seem to bear this out; that Democrats turned out in force but Republicans, sensing a lost cause, skipped the election.
Had they voted, they may not have pulled it out for Fletcher, but they certainly could have made it closer, and made Beshear and his supporters sweat a little.