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Democrats are claiming that Taylor Swift coming out as a Democrat caused a massive spike in new voter registrations in Tennessee.
There are a couple of problems with this claim.
First Taylor Swift tweeted the day before the voter registration deadline, which makes it tough to judge the impact she had:
The analysis Vote.org is putting forward here seems flawed. It’s akin to noting that a certain number of people filed taxes in March, that number surged on April 15, and concluding it must be because Carrot Top tweeted April 14 that people should file their taxes.
The far likelier explanation is that many people tend to put off things until the last minute.
The only slightly compelling evidence that Swift might be responsible for voter registrations comes from WaPo, which notes that “Among the new registrations since Sunday, more than half were by those ages 18 to 29.”
But even that doesn’t tell us anything without comparing the demographics on previous days.
My suspicion is the category of voters who have to register to vote in the first place—people who moved, changed their names, or didn’t vote in the previous four years—would tend to naturally skew young.
Millennials are probably also likelier to register on sites like Vote.org than older Americans given that they don’t understand how stamps work.
The correct way to judge the impact of Swift’s post would be to compare last-minute online registrations this year to the numbers in previous midterm years.
Even an increase would of course still just prove correlation; it’s possible voter registrations could be up this year for unrelated reasons, such as general enthusiasm, backlash/support to the weekend’s Kavanaugh confirmation, improving ground games and technologies by political parties, etc.
But journalists didn’t even bother with that basic step.
It’s of course entirely possible that Taylor Swift did lead to an increase in voter registration; it’d be shocking if an Instagram post from someone with 11 million followers had zero impact after all.
But that Swift’s post definitely had an impact and that that impact numbered in the tens of thousands is speculation, and it’s sloppy journalism to suggest otherwise.
Of course the left is all about making claims based on “belief” rather than fact as the Kavanaugh debacle clearly illustrated.
So while Swift endorsing the Democrat may have led to some additional new voter registrations, the claim that tens of thousands of new voters registered as a result of her tweet seems unlikely.