“Innumeracy (in·nu·mer·a·cy [ɪnumərəsi], adjective) 1. unfamiliar with mathematical concepts and methods; unable to use mathematics ; not numerate.” (dictionary.com)
Every pundit that has looked at the recent special election in New York Congressional District 26 has focused on Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal as the reason Republican candidate Jane Corwin lost to Democrat Kathy Hochul. Only Karl Rove (of all people) seems to have noticed the actual numbers. Hochul got a plurality of 47% of the vote — exactly one percentage point more than President Obama got in the same district in 2008 (losing to John McCain in the process). Corwin got 44%. The remaining 9% is a story unto itself.
Perennial candidate Jack Davis ran for the same seat in the previous three elections, each time as a Democrat. This time he proclaimed himself the tea party candidate and managed to siphon 9% of the vote away from Ms. Corwin. Without his presence in the race (or if he had followed form and run as a Democrat), the Republican Corwin would have won going away. And there would be no story for the mainstream media. I’m quite sure they wouldn’t have trumpeted a Corwin victory as a win for Rep. Ryan’s reform proposal.