What Voter Fraud? Florida 2012

Remember, the Democrats against voter ID laws and supporters of IRS harassment of “True the Vote” say none of this exists:

The top staffer for Florida Democratic Rep. Joe Garcia resigned this weekend after being implicated in a voting-fraud scheme. Chief of Staff Jeffrey Garcia resigned Friday after taking responsibility for the plot and being asked by the congressman for his resignation.

Authorities are investigating a sophisticated scheme to manipulate last year’s primary elections by submitting hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests.

Isn’t it funny that nearly every incident involves one party in particular?

What Voter Fraud? Ohio 2012

Nothing to see here, keep moving. More voter fraud in all-important Hamilton County, Ohio:

Margaret Allen, 65, Ernestine Strickland, 75, and Andre Wilson, 50, are all indicted on 1 count of Illegal Voting (Felony 4) in violation of Ohio voting laws. If convicted of the charge, they face the possibility of 18 months in prison. Allen is charged with attempting to vote in the 2012 Ohio General Election by requesting an Absentee Voter Ballot even though she is a resident of Florida. She has not been an Ohio resident since 2009.

Strickland is charged with registering to vote and voting by Absentee Voter Ballot in the 2012 Ohio General Election even though she is a resident of Tennessee and has never lived in Ohio. Wilson is charged with registering to vote and voting by Absentee Voter Ballot in the 2012 Ohio General Election by using a fictitious Ohio address.

What Voter Suppression?

John Fund, a true expert on voter fraud, nails the voter suppression efforts of Obama acolytes:

“It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.

Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.

The Post-Motems Continue to Roll In

The exit polling data around election day has a notoriously wide margin of error, so as the “final” data comes rolling in, most notably through the Current Population Survey, more accurate inferences can be drawn from an election it is still hard to fathom that Barack Obama won.  This AP news write-up draws more of the same conclusions many of us already know: white people stayed home, african-americans voted in droves, wash, rinse, repeat:

America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press.

Census data and exit polling show that whites and blacks will remain the two largest racial groups of eligible voters for the next decade. Last year’s heavy black turnout came despite concerns about the effect of new voter-identification laws on minority voting, outweighed by the desire to re-elect the first black president.

William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, analyzed the 2012 elections for the AP using census data on eligible voters and turnout, along with November’s exit polling. He estimated total votes for Obama and Romney under a scenario where 2012 turnout rates for all racial groups matched those in 2004. Overall, 2012 voter turnout was roughly 58 percent, down from 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

The Battlegrounds:

Romney would have erased Obama’s nearly 5 million-vote victory margin and narrowly won the popular vote if voters had turned out as they did in 2004, according to Frey’s analysis. Then, white turnout was slightly higher and black voting lower.

More significantly, the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida and Colorado would have tipped in favor of Romney, handing him the presidency if the outcome of other states remained the same.

What Voter Fraud? (C. 2008)

This is just to remind everyone that voter fraud is neither new, limited in nature, nor a fabrication of the Right:

The trial is underway for a former Democratic official and a Board of Elections worker who are accused of being part of a plot that has raised questions over whether President Obama’s campaign — when he was a candidate in 2008 — submitted enough legitimate signatures to have legally qualified for the presidential primary ballot.

The two face charges of orchestrating an illegal scheme to fake the petitions that enabled then-candidates Obama, and Hillary Clinton, to qualify for the race in Indiana.

Former longtime St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. faces multiple felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe is charged with nine felony forgery counts and one felony count of falsely making a petition of nomination. The proceedings began Monday in South Bend.

Morgan is accused of being the mastermind behind the plot, by allegedly ordering Democratic officials and workers to fake the names and signatures that Obama and Clinton needed to qualify for the presidential race. Blythe, then a Board of Elections employee and Democratic Party volunteer, has been accused of carrying out those orders by forging signatures on Obama’s petitions.

Two former Board of Elections officials have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme and could testify against Morgan and Blythe.

Former board worker Beverly Shelton, who allegedly was assigned the task of forging the petitions for Hillary Clinton, pleaded guilty in March to charges of forgery and falsely making a petition. The board’s former Democratic head of voter registration, Pam Brunette, pleaded guilty in April to felony forgery, official misconduct, and falsifying a petition.

The alleged scheme was hatched in January of 2008, according to affidavits from investigators who cite former Board of Registration worker Lucas Burkett, who told them he was in on the plan at first, but then became uneasy and quit. He waited three years before telling authorities about it, but if revelations about any forgeries were raised during the election, the petitions could have been challenged during the contest. Any candidate who did not qualify with enough legitimate signatures at the time could have been bounced from the ballot.

The Indiana trial has raised questions about whether in 2008, candidate Obama actually submitted enough legitimate signatures to have legally qualified.

Under state law, presidential candidates need to qualify for the primary ballots with 500 signatures from each of the state’s nine congressional districts. Indiana election officials say that in St. Joseph County, which is the 2nd Congressional District, the Obama campaign qualified with 534 signatures; Clinton’s camp had 704.

Prosecutors say that in Obama’s case, nine of the petition pages were apparently forged. Each petition contains up to 10 names, making a possible total of 90 names, which, if faked, could have brought the Obama total below the legal limit required to qualify. Prosecutors say 13 Clinton petitions were apparently forged, meaning up to 130 possibly fake signatures. Even if 130 signatures had been challenged, it would have still left Clinton with enough signatures to meet the 500-person threshold.

An Indiana State Police investigator said in court papers that the agency examined the suspect Obama petitions and “selected names at random from each of the petition pages and contacted those people directly. We found at least one person (and often multiple people) from each page who confirmed that they had not signed” petitions “or given consent for their name and/or signature to appear.”  The case was charged citing 20 forgeries — not the total number of possible fake entries — because that was considered a sufficient amount to prosecute.

Numerous voters told Fox News that they never signed the petitions.

Battleground Watch 2016

This is who I am keeping a close eye on for the future of the party:

Scott Walker follows path familiar to presidential hopefuls

Wisconsin governor to speak to key Iowa GOP gathering

By Jason Stein of the Journal Sentinel
March 30, 2013 5:04 p.m.

Madison - In a few weeks, Scott Walker will head to a Sheraton hotel just outside Des Moines, following a path already traveled by Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.

The Republican governor from Wisconsin will fire up a partisan crowd in the very heart of Iowa, the state whose caucus will open the 2016 presidential race. The Polk County Republican fundraiser is an event that doesn’t just draw big names in conservative politics – it draws presidential contenders.

It’s just one of several signs the first-term governor is looking beyond his 2014 re-election to a bigger potential prize – the Republican nomination for a president. Walker is crisscrossing the country to speak to conservatives, holding open a possible run, and overseeing a high-profile book that will introduce his life story to the rest of the country this fall.

It’s a long way off and 2014 is more important due to the calendar, but since 2013 is so boring (NJ gov? cakewalk for Christie; VA gov? Cuccinelli is a surprisingly easy (to the media’s wholly-biased mind) victory; NYC mayor? who cares (and I live here); LA mayor? who cares (the city/state are collapsing). So we kill time until 2014.

What voter fraud?

Remember all the opponents of photo ID laws say this doesn’t happen:

Milwaukee County prosecutors Thursday filed voter fraud charges against 10 people, including two accused of double voting in 2012 elections and two felons ineligible to vote.

Also among the fraud cases: a Milwaukee woman who is accused of signing a recall petition against Republican Gov. Scott Walker three times; and the petition circulator who collected those signatures.

Leonard K. Brown, 55, is charged with voting more than once, providing false information to an election official and four counts of voting as a disqualified person for ballots cast April 5, 2011; and Feb. 21, April 2, June 5 and Nov. 6, 2012. The double voting and false information counts relate to the November election.

According to the criminal complaint, Brown voted in person in Milwaukee on Nov. 6, and by absentee ballot for that election in West Milwaukee, and his several prior votes in West Milwaukee occurred when he was not qualified to vote there because he lived in Milwaukee. He faces up to 24 1/2 years in prison and $70,000 in fines, if convicted.

Do we even need to speculate which party they support?

Unwrapping the Election Loss

The biggest take-away I have from the November loss is that there was no one reason why Mitt Romney lost an incredibly winnable race. Rather than citing the numerous “death by thousand cuts” reasons Romney lost, what strikes me most is that enough of the public rejected the deeply tarnished Republican brand to re-elect a President who didn’t do a very good job in his first term.    The messiness of Bush’s mis-handling of Iraq (before snatching victory from the jaws of defeat), his irresponsible and profligate spending (massive government expansion, highway and farm bills that were nothing more than payoffs to politicians) as well as the corrupt nature of the elected officials (actual criminals like Duke Cunningham as well as the politically corrupt like Trent Lott, Dennis Hastert, Don Young, Jerry Lewis et al.) conspired to destroy any trust the American public had with the Republican party.

Only through the organic efforts of the Tea Party were Republicans able to gain a foothold in the government levers of power but it was not enough to overcome the deeply tainted brand of their predecessors. Into that maelstrom walked Mitt Romney: decent man, mediocre campaigner and a flawed campaign.  This was not enough to overcome a public perception of a party viewed as: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Hypocritical.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” by Battleground State voters.

In a fantastic piece on the youth movement looking to transform the Republican Party, Kristen Anderson nee Soltis held a few focus groups in Ohio to gain a sense of public perception on the GOP:

One afternoon last month, I flew with Anderson to Columbus, Ohio, to watch her conduct two focus groups. The first consisted of 10 single, middle-class women in their 20s; the second, of 10 20-something men who were either jobless or employed but seeking better work. All of them voted for Obama but did not identify themselves as committed Democrats and were sufficiently ambivalent about the president’s performance that Anderson deemed them within reach of the Republicans.

The all-female focus group began with a sobering assessment of the Obama economy. All of the women spoke gloomily about the prospect of paying off student loans, about what they believed to be Social Security’s likely insolvency and about their children’s schooling. A few of them bitterly opined that the Democrats care little about the working class but lavish the poor with federal aid. “You get more off welfare than you would at a minimum-wage job,” observed one of them. Another added, “And if you have a kid, you’re set up for life!”

About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said…Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”

The session with the young men was equally jarring. None of them expressed great enthusiasm for Obama. But their depiction of Republicans was even more lacerating than the women’s had been. “Racist,” “out of touch” and “hateful” made the list — “and put ‘1950s’ on there too!” one called out.

“There is a brand,” the 28-year-old pollster concluded of her party with clinical finality. “And it’s that we’re not in the 21st century.”

Despite the author’s unhelpful interjections of his own opinion, this piece does a fantastic job of laying out many of the problems and opportunities for Republicans.  When you look at Mrs. Anderson’s focus groups, remember Romney only needed on average one person out of either focus group to switch their vote and he carries Ohio.  The same would have held true for Florida, Virginia, and Colorado.  And that’s the election.

What Voter Fraud?

This surprises exactly no one on the right:

Democrat Melowese Richardson has been an official poll worker for the last quarter century and registered thousands of people to vote last year. She candidly admitted to Cincinnati’s Channel 9 this week that she voted twice in the last election.

This is how Channel 9′s website summarized the case:

According to county documents, Richardson’s absentee ballot was accepted on Nov. 1, 2012 along with her signature. On Nov. 11, she told an official she also voted at a precinct because she was afraid her absentee ballot would not be counted in time. “There’s absolutely no intent on my part to commit voter fraud,” said Richardson. . . . The board’s documents also state that Richardson was allegedly disruptive and hid things from other poll workers on Election Day after another female worker reported she was intimidated by Richardson. . . . During the investigation it was also discovered that her granddaughter, India Richardson, who was a first time voter in the 2012 election, cast two ballots in November.

Richardson insists she has done nothing wrong and promises to contest the charges: “I’ll fight it for Mr. Obama and for Mr. Obama’s right to sit as president of the United States.”

Sobriety, Thy Name is Barone

The only people who are always right are the people who never have opinions until after-the-fact.  Anyone dismissing Michael Barone for erroneous election day predictions will do so at their own peril.  His latest in the Washington Examiner is a sober reminder about the political realities for both parties:

Neither of our two political parties is going to be annihilated. Both have suffered far worse defeats than Mitt Romney and the Republicans suffered in 2012. Both have figured out how to adapt and win over voters who used to vote against them. Or at least to position themselves to win when the other side’s president is seen to have massively failed. The 2008-2012 Obama campaign — it never really stopped — did an excellent job of turning out just enough voters to win 332 electoral votes. But Obama carried just 26 states to Mitt Romney’s 24, which is relevant when you look at future Senate elections. As for House elections, Obama carried only 207 congressional districts to Romney’s 228. That’s partly because Republicans had the advantage in redistricting after the 2010 census.

Core constituencies:

Obama core constituencies — blacks, Hispanics, gentry liberals — tend to be clustered geographically in central city neighborhoods in big metropolitan areas. His big margins there helped him carry many electoral votes but not so many congressional districts. [But] Obama’s in-your-face liberalism, so apparent in last week’s inaugural speech, antagonized some groups in a way that may hurt Democrats for some time to come.

Changing constituencies:

The Obamacare contraception mandate helped Mitt Romney carry 59 percent of white Catholics — probably their highest Republican percentage ever — and 78 percent of white evangelical Protestants. These groups total 44 percent of the electorate. That’s a counterbalance to Obama’s 93 percent among blacks and 71 percent among Hispanics. They were just 23 percent of the electorate, and while Hispanics will be a growing percentage, blacks probably won’t.

Don’t get too comfortable in that “permanent majority”:

George W. Bush’s 51 percent re-election, with 11.5 million more votes than four years before, got his strategist Karl Rove musing about a permanent Republican majority. That didn’t happen. Now Barack Obama’s 51 percent re-election, with 3.5 million fewer votes than four years before, has Democrats talking about annihilating the Republican Party. That’s not likely to happen either.

Top 10 Counties That Hate America

These are the inverse of Battleground Counties.  Coincidentally I grew up in County #4 (PG 4 LIFE):

Following are the 10 counties or county equivalents where President Barack Obama took his largest share of the vote. Most are black-majority areas that historically are staunchly Democratic and were eager to re-elect Obama, the first black president in the nation’s history.

1. Shannon, South Dakota (93%): included within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the southwestern part of the state.

2. Bronx, New York (91%): about one in nine residents in New York City’s northernmost borough is non-Hispanic white. Bronx has been the most pro-Democratic New York City borough in five straight presidential elections.

3. Petersburg, Virginia (90%): a black-majority area about 25 miles south of Richmond.

4. Prince George’s, Maryland (90%): a black-majority area that abuts Washington, D.C.

5. Jefferson, Mississippi (89%): a sparsely populated, black-majority area by the Mississippi River south of Vicksburg.

6. Claiborne, Mississippi (88%): a black-majority county that abuts Jefferson to the north.

7. Baltimore city, Maryland (87%): more than three in five residents are black in Maryland’s biggest city.

8. Macon, Alabama (87%): a black-majority area that includes Tuskegee, the birthplace of Rosa Parks and the site of a university founded by Booker T. Washington.

9. Menominee, Wisconsin (86%): includes the Menominee Indian Tribe about 45 miles northwest of Green Bay.

10. Starr, Texas (86%): about 96 percent of residents are Hispanic in this low-income area on the Mexican border in south Texas.

Go Irish! Beat Tide!

This one is for all the marbles:

Go Irish! Beat Tide!
Peter King, Notre Dame ’68 George Wallace, Alabama ’37
Father of Erin (’95, ’98) and Sean (’99), Chairman of House Committee on Homeland Security
Governor of Alabama, notorious segregationist, shot in Laurel, MD (PG in the house!)

Tea Party Continues to Save Republican Party from Itself

Considering none of the best hopes for Republicans in 2014 and 2016 come from national party supported elected officials, it’s unsurprising to sober observers that the Tea Party remains the last best hope for the GOP:

For Republicans who believe the tea party is responsible for the GOP’s struggles, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s decision to choose Rep. Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate would have come as a stunner. The nation’s second Indian-American governor appointed the only African-American who will be serving in the Senate come 2013. And not only are they both Republicans, they are tea party-aligned conservatives who took on the party establishment and won.

It’s ironic that at a time when party strategists are publicly panicking over the party’s need to diversify or face extinction, they’re blind to the reality that if it wasn’t for the much-maligned tea party, the Republican Party would be even more homogeneous than it is today.

Haley, a little-known state senator before being elected governor, would never have had a chance at becoming governor against the state’s good ol’ boy network of statewide officeholders. Scott would have been a long shot in his Republican primary against none other than Strom Thurmond’s youngest son. Marco Rubio, now the hyped 2016 presidential favorite, would have stepped aside to see now-Democrat Charlie Crist become the next senator, depriving the party of one of its most talented stars. Ted Cruz, the other Hispanic Republican in the Senate, would have never chanced a seemingly futile bid against Texas’s 67-year-old lieutenant governor, seen as a lock to succeed Kay Bailey Hutchison.

But all those upset victories–all of which at the time seemed shocking–took place because of the conservative grassroots’ strong sentiment for outsiders who campaigned on their principles, and not over their past political or family connections.

The Fight Lives On

The Tea Party handed the majority back to the Republicans in the House of Representatives in 2010 in no small part to their pledge to reduce spending:

[From Dec 2010] Republicans, who captured the House from Democrats in the November election with a net gain of 63 seats, campaigned on a pledge to decrease government spending to 2008 levels. That would require Congress to find $100 billion in cuts next year.

Of course, 10 seconds into his term as Speaker of the House John Boehner began walking away from this pledge and never did cut $100 billion in spending, so the Tea Party abandoned the national politicians and went to work at home changing local offices and state legislatures across the nation.  Michael Barone writes of the latest sea change at the state level, this time in deep blue Washington state:

Early this week two Democratic state senators announced that they would join with Republicans to control the state Senate…The new education committee chairman is a supporter of charter schools and school choice; a Republican will head the health care committee charged with responding to Obamacare. This looks like a rebellion against the left liberalism that has generally prevailed in Olympia…fter Barack Obama’s big victory in 2008, Democrats controlled the Washington state Senate by a 31-18 margin. Republicans gained 4 seats sin 2010 and reduced the Democratic edge to 27-22. After Obama’s littler victory this year Republicans gained another seat this year to reduce the Democratic edge to 26-23, leaving Democrats vulnerable to two defections.

Barack Obama may be holding most of the cards in Washington, D.C. But his party isn’t doing so well in the state capitals.

Hear, hear.

Women, Youth and Hispanics = President Obama

The Winston Group identifies key areas where the Romney campaign came up short in November:

There were three key groups that were problematic for Romney: women, younger voters, and Hispanics.

  • Women made up the majority of the electorate (53%) and Romney lost them by 11, 44-55. That was slightly better than McCain, who lost by 13, 43-56, but worse than Bush, who lost them by the slim margin of 48-51. In contrast, House Republicans in 2010 carried women by 1, 49-48.

  • Younger voters increased their turnout again this year. In 2004 they were 17% of the electorate; in 2008 they were 18%, and in this election they were 19%. Romney lost them by 23 points, 37-60, which was an improvement over McCain, who lost them by 34. However, Bush did much better in 2004, losing young voters only by 9.

  • Hispanics have also increased as a percentage of the electorate, going from 8% in 2004 to 9% in 2008, and 10% in this election. Romney lost them by the very large margin of 44, 27-71. In 2008, McCain lost Hispanics by 36, 31-67. In contrast, Bush lost Hispanics by just 9, 44-53. Additionally, House Republicans in 2010 did much better than either Romney or McCain, losing Hispanics by 22, 38-60.

Conclusion:

Despite an electorate that thought the economy was not doing well under Obama, Romney and many Republicans were unable to effectively win the economic argument. This was the case even though many of the policies Romney supported were viewed favorably by the electorate. But the bottom line was that Romney could not counter the Obama narrative that he wanted to go back to the policies that got the country in trouble in the first place. This was largely due to his campaign’s strategic decision to try to make the election solely a referendum on Obama. As a result, there was little clear rationale for a Romney presidency, other than that he would not be Obama. That was not enough to win, as the electorate was looking for solutions and an explanation of how each candidate would govern.

Obama achieved 93.5% of [the vote] he got in 2008. While there are still some additional votes to be added, at this point, Obama got about 4.5 million fewer votes this year than in 2008. Those voters did not vote for Obama this time, but they did not move to Romney either. They were a huge pool of voters that were obviously unhappy with Obama but did not have a reason to vote for his opponent. The inability to identify and reach these disillusioned voters was a significant problem for the Republican campaign.

The Internal Polls That Made Mitt Romney Think He’d Win

Turns out the bad polling was the internal Romney polls not the publicly available polls:

It’s no secret that the Romney campaign believed it was headed for victory on Election Day. A handful of outlets have reported that Team Romney’s internal polling showed North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia moving safely into his column and that it put him ahead in a few other swing states. When combined with Ohio, where the internal polling had him close, Romney was on track to secure all the electoral votes he needed to win the White House.

The numbers include internal polls conducted on Saturday, November 3, and Sunday, November 4, for Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, and New Hampshire. According to Newhouse, the campaign polled daily, then combined the results into two-day averages. The numbers for each day along with the averages are displayed in the chart below, followed by the actual result in each state:

Together, New Hampshire, Colorado, and Iowa go most of the way toward explaining why the Romney campaign believed it was so well-positioned. When combined with North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia—the trio of states the Romney campaign assumed were largely in the bag—Romney would bank 267 electoral votes, only three shy of the magic number. Furthermore, according to Newhouse, the campaign’s final internal polls had Romney down a mere two points in Ohio—a state that would have put him comfortably over the top—and Team Romney generally believed it had momentum in the final few days of the race.

Fascinating stuff.

How to Get an Unpopular President Re-elected

The Heritage Foundation takes a look at a story that has been percolating around ever since President Obama achieved surprising success in his voter turnout efforts:

More than 4 million people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 did not vote this year. But by applying new voter science, Obama nudged enough replacements in key states — many who were rare or first-time voters — to give him his margin of victory (leveraged even larger by the Electoral College). Years of stealthy multimillion-dollar efforts paid off for America’s left in the 2008 and 2012 victories by President Barack Obama. Using new voter science to get rare and first-time voters to go to the polls, the races have changed America’s electorate — those who make the country’s decisions by showing up and voting. Aided by $5 million minimum from George Soros, plus millions more from others, at least two secretive institutions were created to enable this effort by focused research on behavioral science. Their results are made available only to liberals and their causes.

Read the whole thing.

Losing Elections in 2012

The post-mortems continue with Erick Erickson weighing on on cripples, bastards and broken things …errr I mean consultants, donors and SuperPACs:

When consultants told rich donors who were funding them that they were not making money off the Super PAC’s that the rich idiots . . . er . . . donors funded, they were being honest. They probably were not.

But ad heavy Super PACs outsourced the ad buys, the mail, the data collection, etc. to other groups that got commissions and you can be sure that a lot of these supposedly noble consultants working for free were making a killing off of commissions, referral fees, etc. through their relationships with the commissioned vendors doing the actual work. Read this old post of mine for a sampling of how these consultants can make money without actually making money.

Just as important as making money for these guys was control over the data. In fact, in singular importance this campaign season has been the buzz word “data.” But what the hell is that data and why is it so important?

Read the whole thing if you want to learn how the GOP failed so miserably earlier this month.

Why So Many Failed to Predict the Reelection

Go Irish! Beat Trojans!

Go big or go home:

Go Irish! Beat Trojans!
Condoleezza Rice, Notre Dame ’75 Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayyat, USC ’82
Former Secretary of State, Future NFL Commissioner?
Islamist president of Egypt, self-appointed Pharaoh

GOP Needs Better Message and Machinery

Gerald Seib interview with Karl Rove video at the link.

The Political Landscape Ain’t So Bad for the GOP

As usual, Sean Trende provides invaluable sober insights into the post-election self-flaggelation by Republicans as well as the “adapt or die” dishonest counsel from Democrats and weak-kneed Republicans. There are problem with the party, no doubt,but they also have a great many successes.  As a party we need to build on these successes and coalesce around a unifying message that brings Americans together rather than pitting one group against another.

Trende lays out the current post-2012 landscape and Republicans are in far better shape than the media dirge would have you believe:

  • Republicans are still almost at a postwar high in the House of Representatives, with only 1946 and 2010 resulting in a larger share of the chamber going Republican.
  • The Senate picture does show some signs of decline for Republicans, although it is still nowhere near the depths it plumbed from the late 1950s through the early 1970s.
  • Republicans have steadily increased the number of governorships they have held since their debacle in the mid-1970s. In fact, since 1876 there have only been six years where Republicans held a larger percentage of our nation’s governorships
  • If you look at the number of individual statehouse seats held by the party, once again, Republicans are near postwar high
  • These last two data points are especially important for the Republicans, since governorships and statehouse seats represent the “farm teams” for statewide and national office.

Keep fighting the good fight because there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful in 2014 and 2016.

Lessons from 2012

Karl Rove breaks down the lessons from the 2012 election defeat. In short, don’t believe the hype:

The media’s postelection narrative is that Democrats won because of a demographic shift. There is some truth to that, but a more accurate description is that Democrats won in a smaller turnout by getting out more of their vote. Turnout dropped by 7.9 million voters, falling to 123.6 million this year from 131.5 million in 2008. This is the first decline in a presidential election in 16 years. Only 51.3% of the voting-age population went to the polls. While the Democratic “ground game” was effective, President Barack Obama received 90.1% of his 2008 total while Gov. Mitt Romney received 98.6% of Sen. John McCain’s vote. Neither party generated a higher turnout nationally.

Who didn’t show up:

According to exit polls, turnout dropped among white and black Americans (by 8.3 million and 1 million, respectively) but rose among Hispanics. They added 850,000 votes to Mr. Obama’s total compared with 2008. Millennials (those aged 18-29) were a larger share of the turnout than in 2008, but 176,000 fewer in number. They cast 1.5 million fewer votes for Mr. Obama than last time and 1.1 million more votes for Mr. Romney than they did for Mr. McCain. To win, the GOP must do better—much better—with Hispanics and millennials, and also with women voters.

How to fix it:

Tactically, Republicans must rigorously re-examine their “72-hour” ground game and reverse-engineer the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort in order to copy what works. For example, a postelection survey shows that the Democratic campaign ground game was more effective in communicating negative information. It would be good to know why—and how to counter such tactics in the future. Republicans should also emulate the Democratic “50-state” strategy by strengthening the ground game everywhere, not just in swing states. It will be important for the GOP to erase the data advantage Democrats may have in their targeting of potential supporters for their candidates. And local GOP organizations must persistently focus on adding to the voter rolls the millions of people likely to vote Republicans if they were registered. Strategically, Republicans will need to frame economic issues to better resonate with middle-class families. Mr. Romney had solid views on jobs, spending, deficits, health care and energy. But even among the 59% of voters for whom the economy was their top concern, he prevailed by only four points (51% to 47%).

Colorado GOTV: Reconciling Election Results & Exit Poll Data by David Ramos

This is a look at the aftermath of the Colorado GOP ground game by reader David Ramos:

The pundits have had their two cents commenting what the election results and exit polling data says and does not say. In this case, a summary of how Colorado voted in the election using exit polling data available at Fox News and election vote numbers available at the Denver Post. Please note exit polling data and actual vote data may have changed over the past few days.

The D/R/I split -

In the 2008 election, the party split on election day was Democrat 30%, Republican 31% and Independents 39%. If the election were based strictly on these numbers, Romney would have carried the state. Both sides did very well in keeping their core voter bases. If there was any crossover voting, it was pretty much a wash. Neither gained much from these type of voters. The unaffiliated (independent) voters, according to exit polling, went for Romney by a 50-45 margin. This would indicate unaffiliated voters in Colorado essentially returned to their conservative-leaning roots. Following the party ID D/R/I split, it appears Romney was the preferred choice.

This poses the question on how Romney, then, could not carry Colorado by leading with unaffiliated voters by a 5-point margin. Brit Hume on election night alluded to “moderate” voters. Hume surmised many who call themselves “moderate” are actually reliably liberal Democrat voters. They don’t view themselves holding extreme positions, or consider themselves to ever vote for a Republican. When the exit poll asked “how you view your political alignment, liberal-moderate-conservative”, moderates in Colorado broke for Obama by 8-10 points. That alone, Obama was able to negate whatever vote advantage Romney may have had with the D/R/I split.

Down Ballot Influence -

With no statewide offices or contentious initiatives on the ballot, there was very little or no influence that could sway the presidential race in one direction or another. The congressional races were pretty much tame, with the incumbents expected to hold their seats. In the Republican held congressional districts, it appears some voters may have split their ballot – keeping their Republican congressmen and voting for Obama.

The most serious challenge the Democrats made was in CD 6, a district that has reliably voted Republican since the lines were first drawn. Reapportionment had shifted more Democrat voters into the district. As such, the Democrats thought they may have a chance of beating popular Republican incumbent Mike Coffman. Coffman held his seat by a 50-45 margin, even narrowly carrying Arapahoe County, a swing county that was carried by Obama. In CD 5, the Republicans had no Democrat challenger, allowing incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn to handily win re-election. Yet, one county in CD 5 was carried by Obama and two counties were narrowly won by Romney. Lamborn won those same counties by comfortable margins. In Republican stronghold El Paso County, the centerpiece of CD 5, apparently there were unaffiliated voters who chose Obama over Romney. Romney won El Paso County by a 57-43 margin, slightly improving on McCain’s 55-45 win in 2008. For a Republican to strongly compete for Colorado and help offset the Democrat margins in the Denver Metro area, El Paso County needs to be carried by at least a 65-35 margin. In 2000, Bush 43 carried the county by a 68-32 margin. In 2004, Bush 43 won by a 75-25 margin (best-ever).

Reconciling the numbers -

With reports of widespread failures in the Project Orca GOTV, it might be quite fair to say Colorado slipped away from the Romney column in the same way. Heading into election night, Team Romney believed it would be able to flip Colorado into their column. There was good optimism and high enthusiasm based on the huge Red Rocks rally and the Fiddler’s Green rally (Nov 3). But, then again, large rallies are not good indicators of election results. George McGovern, for example, was drawing large rally crowds at the end of his campaign. And, John Kerry drew a crowd of 80,000+ in Madison, only to win Wisconsin in 2004 by a narrow margin.

Shortly before the polls closed in Colorado, Team Romney believed their numbers pointed to a win. With 1.9 million early votes cast, a possible 800,000 votes could be cast on election day. As noted previously, no one knew how anyone voted in the early voting period. PPP suggested Obama held a 6-point lead among unaffiliated voters, giving him a slight lead going into election day. From exit polling, unaffiliated voters were breaking for Romney 50-45. It appears unaffiliated voters actually broke for Obama instead, and not Romney.

It appears, though, the difference between the Romney and Obama campaigns is the turnout model. The Obama campaign thought they would be able to recreate a portion of their 2008 turnout by getting the turnout they needed from the groups they needed. The Romney campaign turnout model was based on turnout levels would return to historical norms. Dick Morris, Karl Rove, and others on the conservative side believed turnout levels would return to historical norms. While Obama lost half of his victory margin in Colorado compared to 2008, a reduction in victory margin was likely calculated into their turnout model.

– David Ramos

2012 National and State “Party ID”

The Winston Group is updating the early results from this past election for party ID nationally and at the state level:

We’ve updated our charts of national and state Party ID and Ideology breakdowns to include 2012 numbers, and is presidential-level data. There are two items to note: 1) states with a (P) label means the data from that still is still preliminary and is subject to change and 2) not every state has exit polls, so some states’ charts only go up to 2008.

Access the updated .pdf here: National Exit Polls: Party Identification and Ideology Breakdowns

Combatting the Polling Problem

In addition to fixing a clearly broken brand and attracting more voters, Republicans need to address getting blind-sided by their own internal polling:

In the weeks before Election Day, both Republicans and Democrats were nervous about their poll numbers. Both sides of the aisle have smart pollsters, they reasoned, so how could the numbers that Democrats were seeing diverge so sharply from the numbers the Republicans were seeing? Deep down, I wrote at the time, both parties secretly worried that their side was missing the boat.

What went wrong:

“Everyone thought the election was going to be close. How did [Republicans] not know we were going to get our ass kicked?” lamented Rob Jesmer, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “I don’t understand how we didn’t know. That’s the part that’s most puzzling and frustrating and embarrassing.”

The underlying causes of the errant numbers are the assumptions that the pollsters made about the nature of the electorate. Most pollsters believed the electorate would look something like the voters who turned out in 2008, just with slightly lower numbers of African-Americans, younger people, and Hispanics heading to the polls.

But exit polls actually showed a much more diverse electorate than the one forecast. Black turnout stayed consistent with 2008, Hispanic turnout was up, and younger voters made up a higher percentage of the electorate than they had four years ago. White voters made up 72 percent of the electorate, according to the exits, down 2 points from 2008 and a continuation of the two-decade long decline in their share of the electorate.

That meant that even though Mitt Romney scored 59 percent of the white vote — a higher percentage than George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004, higher than Ronald Reagan in 1980 and matching George H.W. Bush’s 1988 score, when he won 426 electoral votes in 40 states — it wasn’t enough to overcome the 80 percent support that Obama scored among nonwhite voters.

Solutions:

Pollsters should fix voter screens, used to weed out of their samples irregular voters who aren’t likely to vote. Including only likely voters often leads to a more Republican-heavy sample. But in an era of fine-tuned turnout machines and get-out-the-vote drives, even those irregular voters are likely to show up. Polling all registered voters, rather than those most likely to make it to the polls, would at least give Republicans an idea of the worst-case scenario.

Pollsters should also control more for age, gender, and race than for party identification. One prominent party pollster pointed to a late survey conducted for Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock that showed him leading Democrat Joe Donnelly by 2 points. That survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, showed that 56 percent of Indiana’s electorate would be over age 55. Exit polls revealed that number to be vastly overstated; only 43 percent of the electorate was over 50.

The party-identification question gets to the heart of another misperception that pollsters make. Tell almost anyone that Romney would have won self-identified independent voters by 5 points and logic would dictate that Romney would win a clear victory. But Democratic pollsters say that metric is flawed, and that many Republicans remain so disaffected by their own party that they refuse to identify with it. Instead, some say that pollsters should look at self-described ideology, rather than party identification. Indeed, Obama beat Romney among the 41 percent of voters who call themselves moderate by 15 points.

Pollsters also recognize that Americans’ daily routines are changing, something that has an impact on their surveys. About one-third of all households do not have a landline, according to the National Health Interview Survey, meaning that a significant swath of the electorate is available to pollsters only by cell phone. The percentage of younger Americans who don’t have a landline is almost double that. Pollsters who don’t include a sufficient number of cell-phone respondents in their surveys risk missing out on younger voters — voters most likely to back Democrats, thus skewing polls to the right.

0.3% is the Difference Between President Romey and President Obama

A strategic shift in 0.3% of the vote changes the President of the United States. Of course it matters greatly where those 0.3% are located as Team Obama knew from Day 1 while Team Romney keeps smacking their forehead saying “Now they tell us!” Jim Geraghty keeps up with the turnout math:

[H]ere is an updated set of numbers, according to the results this morning on the New York Timesresults map:

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

Those four states, with a collective margin of, 406,348 for Obama, add up to 69 electoral votes. Had Romney won 407,000 or so additional votes in the right proportion in those states, he would have 275 electoral votes.

Obama’s margin in some other key states:

Nevada: 66,379

Iowa: 88,501

New Hampshire: 40,659

At this hour, 120,556, 279 votes for Obama and Romney have been counted nationwide.

More Project ORCA After-Action Reports by the Appropriately Named “Disaster”

This is from our comments section two days ago from someone who volunteered in the Boston headquarters. The wonderfully named “Disaster“:

I volunteered for Project ORCA for a while now in the Boston HQ. Please do not attack or take shots at me. I only did it so that I could help get Mitt elected our next president. The idea was conceived long ago before I joined. When I signed up, the concept seemed like a great idea to me and it was described as the wave of the future and a high tech solution to the outdated GOTV efforts of the past. I am not a campaign veteran nor am I a high tech guy, that said, I started noticing problems right away. There was poor organization and communication. The task force that I was on, had a responsibility for vetting and training volunteers on the ground in the battleground states. The internal system that we were using for tracking folks in the field was very poor. It was inefficient and poorly designed. It crashed on us many times. I felt like it was designed by amateurs. In fact, we saw lots of young interns involved in this project. They are smart and passionate but they have no real life expereince and they should have been managed better. Things were going well for a while and we met and even exceeded our numbers in terms of the field volunteers. Original goal was 17K volunteers, but we doubled that. There were about a 100 of us giving as much time as we possibly could and eating Domino’s pizza every single day. We were constantly told that things were going great and this is going to make the difference on the election day. However, as we were getting closer to the election day it was becoming more and more clear that the communication was handled poorly, volunteers on the ground did not know what to do, they had no idea when they would get an app, and the list goes on and on…We were told that there would be a test run before the election day, looks like it never happened. I was also at the TD garden on the election day, 1 of about 900 volunteers. It was a complete disaster from the moment I got there. Complete lack of organization, internet connection was very slow, phones were malfunctioning, and most importantly we heard nothing but frustration from the volunteers in the states. The system crashed all the time and the 900 people at TD Garden really had very little to do. We stopped getting calls, however we were told that ORCA is working and we are getting good information. They promised to us to put up the numbers on the TV screens so that we can track what is going on with the voting but that never happened. Our guess was that they either do not have the numbers or they don’t like what they are seeing. The entire state of NC was closed off to our volunteers because the campaign failed to work together with NC GOP (How can that possibly happen???). We were divided into state specific section and NC folks had absolutely nothing to do all day long. By early evening most of us felt like we are in a bubble. While we were at the command center, we had less information that anyone at home who had access to TV, and so we turned to internet to get the information. As more and more bad information started coming in, the whole place got quiet and some folks started leaving early. The whole day was surreal and very depressing at the end.

I feel that I did my part in helping get Mitt elected. I made financial contributions and worked with about 100 volunteers many late nights to do everything we possibly can. I was hoping that the system will work and there are competent folks on the organizational side of this project who would get us across the finish line. It did not happen. Whoever runs in 2016 should pay careful attention to this disaster…

Go Irish! Beat Eagles!

No explanation needed:

Go Irish! Beat Eagles!
Bob McDonnell, Notre Dame ’76 Luke Russert, Boston College ’08
Governor of Virginia, President in 2016?
MSDNC correspondent

Saturday Open Thread

Ladies and Gentlemen, I haven’t been off Manhattan island in 9 months due to a series of back injuries and other bizarre ailments.  This has meant giving up tickets to Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland and 50-yard line seats to the Irish drubbing of Miami in Chicago.  So for the first time since this blog started I will be unplugged for the next 24+ hours.

Have at it and play nice.

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