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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Mailvox: seriously, don't do this

Ken makes what I regard to be an inexcusable blunder:
I haven't looked as closely at the numbers as you have but if you subtract the female vote entirely, is it possible that the Nazis simply would have come to power earlier because prior to '32 the women were voting for parties other than the NASDAP?
Nothing against Ken, but I really dislike this sort of thing. Trying to come up with alternative explanations when you haven't even bothered to look at the data is the hallmark of the idealogue, the anti-intellectual. It is neither discourse nor analysis, it is almost always mere excuse-making.

In this case, the answer is simple. No, because a) they weren't even close and b) the dominant SPD was heavily supported by men. In 1928, the NSDAP was only the ninth-largest party in the Reichstag with 2.6% of the vote. Although they improved significantly in 1930, coming in second with 18.3% of the vote, they were still too far behind the dominant SPD with 24.5%, moreover, if Ken had paid more attention to what was already mentioned he would have realized that the SPD would have benefited even more than the NSDAP from the absence of the female vote, which tended to go to the Catholic parties prior to 1932.

In 1931, the NSDAP launched its campaign to win over female voters. A year later, in the first 1932 election, it won 37.3% of the vote to the second-place SPD's 21.6%.

There is certainly nothing wrong with coming up with an unusual or alternative hypotheses, but one should always check them against the readily available data before offering suggestions, especially when one is proposing them in contradiction to another's informed conclusions.

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