The Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model

Much of this blog is spent arguing — persuasively I hope — why the polling data and get out the vote activities favor Mitt Romney this election cycle.  But if President Obama wins re-election where could all of this analysis have erred?

Possibly the final remaining question that will determine the election outcome is whether Obama campaign manager David Axelrod is correct on the racial composition of the electorate being 72% White or whether he is fooling both himself and his acolytes in the media? President Obama regularly polls with national support among Whites as low as between 36 – 38%. If Axelrod is correct then Barack Obama has a good chance to eek out a close re-election. But if Axelrod is wrong on the electorate composition and Whites make up closer to 75% of voters then not only will Barack Obama lose this election, he could lose it badly with a final tally in the area of 338 to 200 electoral votes.

The entire Obama campaign is predicated on a voting public with a racial composition that in my opinion is highly unlikely to appear in 2012. The Obama campaign has revealed their assumption that White voters will only comprise 72% of the national voting public this year.  State percentages will vary but those models are not revealed publicly. The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) is the final arbiter on racial make-up of an election. For months following an election, they pour through every precinct and get an accurate read on election statistics before releasing their results which unsurprisingly tend to differ from election night exit polls.

The racial breakdown in 2008 election according to the Census Bureau was White 76.3%, Black 12.1%, Hispanic 7.4%, Asian 2.5%, Other 1.7%.
The CNN exit polls which are still used regularly in news stories reported: White: 74%, Blacks: 13%, Hispanics 9%, Asians 2%, Other 3%.

When you look at the differences, Whites are underrepresented by 2.3%, Blacks overrepresented by 0.9% and Hispanics over-represented by 1.6%. In the last election Whites voted Republican (55 – 43) while both Blacks (95 to 4) and Hispanics (67 to 31) voted Democrat. When national polls reflect the CNN racial make-up they are over-sampling Democrat groups and under-sampling Republican groups.

As outlined previously, 1.7 million White voters (who voted in 2004) did not vote in 2008. This means from a racial composition stand-point the 2008 demographic breakdown is over-generous to the non-White groups and somewhat of an anomaly due to the missing White demographic who voted in 2004 but sat out last time. This is not an argument against the decreasing percentage of White voters in election, because the overall increase in the non-White voting population is very real. The problem with Team Obama’s assumptions, however, is they decrease the White vote -4.3pp to 72% this election cycle when there is no evidence to support such a steep decline.

Before 2008, the average decrease in the White percent of the popular vote was -1.4 percentage points (pp) since 1988.  This was not solely because of decreased interest from White voters in Presidential elections but due to the increasing number of non-Whites both in the population and participating in Presidential elections. The rate of change from election to election was a decrease of -0.4pp in the White composition of the voting public and most of that coming between 1992 and 1996 in another election when white Republicans were less than enthusiastic with their nominee. Something dramatic, however, happened in 2008. The number of whites as a percentage of the voting population dropped -2.9pp to 76.3% from 79.2% (Pew Research, April 30, 2009).

The doubling of the average decrease in White participation was a combination of 2 competing factors: first, non-Whites were excited over the prospects of the first viable non-White Presidential candidate and White voters of the opposition party were unenthusiastic over their candidate and did not participate in the election.  Without the combination of these factors the White vote percentage of the electorate would still have declined but the decline would not doubled. Compared to the recent rate of change of -0.4pp, the change in the decrease of White composition from 2004 to 2008 was -1.4pp, 3.5x greater than the modern trend.

The folly of the Obama campaign’s election assumptions is the 2008 perfect storm that doubled the election-over-election decrease in White participation at a pace 3.5x as great as the norm will repeat itself with another -1.4pp rate of change resulting in a -4.3pp decline to 72%.

This type of assumption is the same as a football team that has a record first quarter outscoring their opponent 35-0 and then game-plans they will repeat that every quarter scoring 140 points.  That is clearly not going to happen.

In the 2012 election neither of the two major factors from 2008 that conspired to dramatically decrease White participation are evident.  Every survey consistently reveals meaningful decreases in enthusiasm among non-White voters while White voters appear substantially more enthusiastic than 2008. To take a record turnout model from 2008 and extrapolate it to the next election and expect a repeat record decrease from the unusually low 2008 turnout is folly bordering on delusional.

Regarding the macro-trend in the US of an increase in the non-White composition of the population, the return of an enthusiastic white voter coupled with the decreased non-White enthusiasm should strongly mitigate the macro-demographic trend of very real increases in non-White voters overall.

But David Axelrod’s entire campaign is predicated on the above assumptions that expect a “White flight” that exists in no poll nationally or in any state. At a state level, it is due to differences of opinion like the above that both campaigns are reportedly seeing dramatically different electorates in Ohio with each campaign completely confident they will win the state. One of them is very wrong.

National polls often use 74% as the representative White vote in this election, but from a historic stand-point 75% is the more reasonable level which would be a -1.3% decline from 2008. With polls today consistently showing Obama’s support between 36-38% with this segment of the electorate comprising 75% of voters, it is easy to see how a tight race can turn into a blowout rather quickly. As for David Axelrod’s turnout model, he is talking his book when every ounce of data says he is blowing smoke. If Axelrod is right on the racial make-up of the electorate, President Obama probably wins re-election in a close race.  But there is little evidence that the 76.3% of White voters in 2008 when combined with a probable return of the missing 1.7 million whites will make up only 72% of the electorate Team Obama needs to avoid a sizable Romney win on November 6.


  1. DAO
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    I would argue 1996 was also an aberration. Another low enthusiasm roll call for Bob Dole. And only in 200r was there a strong representation of evangelical (mostly white) Christians.

  2. William Jefferson Jr.
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    My predicitons for Romney:

    white: 64% of the vote
    black: 12% of the vote (Ras shows 12% identify as Republican)
    other: 48%

    With a racial model of 72/13/15, R-money still ends up with about 55% of the vote. The problem for Democrats who believe “demographics is destiny” is the fact that their only monolithic racial group is blacks, who aren’t growing. Any decrease in the white vote from this election forward will come at the hands of Asians and Latinos, two groups who are not closed off to the Republican message.

    • Peter
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If this is how the numbers end up – we can assume voter fraud…… 🙂

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        A segment of the overall population does not need to grow to increase their percentage of the electorate. An increase in participation by any segment of the population can increase the percentage of the electorate that they represent. Ie. if 2 million more “blacks” vote in this election you will see an increase in the “black” percentage of the electorate. That would not mean that the “black” population in America grew by 2million. That, my friend, is why the Obama campaign is focused on voter turnout and why the GOP was focused on voter suppression. Also, my wife and two of my friends which are ethnically categorized as “black” will be voting for the first time this year (empirical evidence despite statistical insignificance)., Therefore, it is possible that Axelrod’s plan may work out after all. 🙂 God Bless you

    • Drew
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think it is overly optimistic in the extreme to think that Romney will pull 12% of the black vote. That means that Obama would do as poorly among black voters as John Kerry in 2004. While it’s certainly plausible to suggest that fewer black voters will show up this time around than in 2008, it’s quite implausible to suggest that the first black president will post one of the worst showings for a Democrat among black voters. Even if overall black turnout is down, Obama is still going to pulling 92-95% of the black vote, minimum.

      • tecumseh75
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        He is saying that blacks made up roughly 12% of the vote in 08, not how many blacks will vote for Romney. He says that blacks are polling 95% for Obama.

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        I’ve heard black conservatives say that blacks may tell pollsters they still support Obama like they did in 08, but their disappoint in him is palpable. They won’t show up like they did in 08. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if they only voted 90% for Obama, which is the average level of black support for a Democratic candidate. Obama got extra votes in 08 because of the “historical moment.”

    • wholefoodsrepublican
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      yes — republicans need to capture more of the asian vote (really shouldn’t be that hard because of their strong work ethic) and more of the latino vote (should not be impossible because of their conservative catholic and family values)

      • wmart
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        On political issues (spending/welfare, etc) Latinos are as liberal, or more, than blacks. They are very few votes to be had therefor Romney.

      • Svigor
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

        Republicans are completely out to lunch when it comes to demographics in general, and mestizos in particular. They need to come to grips that the best Republican move is to stop immigration (particularly mestizo immigration), BOTH THE ILLEGAL AND LEGAL KIND and deport all the non-citizens.

        Until they do, I suppose they’ll still be in la-la-land.

        “Family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.” Pathetic.

      • DW
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

        “really shouldn’t be that hard because of their strong work ethic” – as an Asian, I find the implication that democrats don’t value hard work utterly ridiculous. Sometimes you guys are just so full of yourself.

    • Crovax236
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thats a best case scenario

      heres how i see it

      White 75% – Romney 61% of whites = 45.75%
      Black 11% – Romney 4% of blacks = .44%
      Latino 9% – Romney 35% of latinos = 3.15%
      Asian 2% – Romney 35% of asian = .7%
      Other 3% Romney 35% of others = 1.05

      total = 51.09% of the vote

      • Morgan
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Why is 35% of Asian and Hispanic vote a “best-case” scenario? He could easily exceed those. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t get at least 40% of the Asian vote. GWB got 41% and 44% of the Asian vote in his two elections.

      • Crovax236
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:25 am | Permalink

        I didnt say 35% was a best case scenario I said that “William Jefferson Jr.”‘s 48% of Latinos/asians/others was a best case scenario. 35% is about where mccain was and Im not sure Romney will get much more. people have become divided severely by party I dont see the democrat hispanics and asians crossing the isle

      • Posted October 31, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        Close. Asian number was off. Romney wins 52% to 45% – a landslide. Look for the first cracks in New Hampshire and then Pennsylvania – home of “gun and bible clingers” and a large amount of coal.

  3. Tom
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Keith, as usual excellent analysis. One of the things that no poll takes into consideration is the 2010 midterm turnout results. I know historically presidential elections always attract more democrats than the midterms do and that is the main argument most pundits make to justify polls taken with more dems. Even Rasmussen is still using D+3 nationally. In Rasmussen’s latest data from yesterday he claims 54% want obamacare REPEALED. How then can Romney only attract 49%? Everyone knows that the only possibility to completely repeal obamacare is to elect Romney and give control of the Senate to the GOP. So 49% for Romney and 54% for repeal of obamacare just makes no sense at all. Couple this with bits and pieces of evidence from different polls and you can see how the case for a mini-landslide for Romney comes into view. It just takes some detective work this cycle because of the flawed methods all of the polling firms are using. Mitt-Mentum

    • Drew
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s a mistake to think that everyone who wants to repeal Obamacare is voting on that basis. For example, you could be an old-school socially conservative Democrat that hates the Obamacare regulations on religious institutions but still basically agree with the Democrats on most other issues. The horserace number is the one to lookout, even it seems like it “should” be something different based on the issue questions.

    • Jimbo Williams
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      This assumes a person who says he wants to repeal ObamaCare (1) will only vote the way which maximizes the likelihood of a repeal of ObamaCare (but there are many competing concerns that voters weigh) and (2) understands that the way to maximize the repeal of ObamaCare is to vote straight R on everything (it’s not clear to me most voters have the slightest clue how they frustrate getting what they want when they vote for guys based on who they like personally etc.)

    • mike b
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      This article grossly underestimates the fact that both scenarios could coexist a declining white turnout and that Romney overperforms in this category for that reason. White defectors not voting on his side rather than voting for Romney they just stay at home. Secondly, these national polls to me is like a football team winning its first 7 or 8 games by two or three touchdowns each (this would be Romney’s overperforming in blood red states). Then losing the final games that matter most and have most weight by a field goal each. The election will come down to 7 or 9 states that matter astronomically more than the others and a handful of votes in each will tip the election. All the numbers on paper may look good on paper for the team that was 7-0 heading into the stretch average margin of victory total points scored vs allowed total offense vs total defense etc, etc but they wont get a bowl bid. Same with Romney. Keep in mind Obama has had 4 years to gameplan this with his policy and has 2 or 3 firewalls built into the electoral college Dream Act for Latino west states, auto bailout for midwest, and many other smaller and larger policies to keep based pleased in Blue states that have slim margins whereas Romney over played hand to win primary and overperforms in blood red states due to that and fact that voters in those states hate this president. Also, I predict both black and latino turnout will be up if not for support of Obama just out of anger to the hate spewed by republicans the last few years especially this cycle.

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Mike. Yours is about the only comment here based on reality.

      • Anonymous 977381
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Dude, you have it backwards. The hardcore right has never liked Romney at all. He barely made it through the primaries, for the second cycle in a row, after they seriously considered 5 to 10 other people, some more than once. They called him the “Massachusetts Moderate” in the primaries. This is not the guy you think he is. He’s more moderate than the president. He’s dominating with the independent voters. You better check the facts a little closer. This guy’s for real.

      • Amir
        Posted November 3, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        Most “Independent” voters are not in fact independent at all and exhibit a very strong lean one way or the other. This electorate mostly made up its mind at the beginning of the general election campaign. Current swing state and national poll numbers are remarkably close to where they were in June and July.

  4. Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    If this is going to be such a blowout for Romney. Why is he in Ohio begging for votes every day., and still getting beat in early voting.

    • William Jefferson
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

      “begging for votes”: uh, that outs you as a troll.

      “still getting beat in early voting”: Republicans vote on election day; Democrats in most states, for some reason, need a sizable window of at least a month to get to the polls. The only utility of early voting is election-over-election comparison. If Democrats are down compared to 2008, and Republicans are up, then it’s advantage Romeny.

      • Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        The reason that Democrats vote over a month period is that voter FRAUD is easier to do over a longer period. Not so easy to go to 4 polling stations on the same day … or have to remember which ID to use at which station (assuming they even ask for ID).

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Jason, “voter fraud” is a lie the GOP made up to cover up voter SUPPRESSION. You know who has had more cases of election fraud that resulted in convictions? Republicans. Look up Vermont in 2008.

    • margaret
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink | Reply

      Who was begging for votes in Ohio again?

      “”I want your vote. I want your vote. I am not too proud to beg; I want you to vote. And the good news is, you can vote in Ohio, right now. President Obama said at a campaign event in Ohio this evening (October 18).

    • Congress Works For Us
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink | Reply

      @jay – Democrats are 220,000 votes behind where they were in early voting 4 years ago, while the Republicas are up by 30,000 votes. Dems may vote early in higher numbers (skewed, btw, by the fact absentee ballots aren’t included here in any great number yet), but they are apparently voting in much fewer numbers…

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        Wrong. That would be absentee ballot REQUESTS, not votes. INplaces where actual early voting (not absentee ballot voting) has actually taken place, Obama by a landslide.

    • eric
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      actually, as of two days ago, Democrat early voting in Ohio was down over 200,000 from ’08, and Republican early voting was up 30,000 from ’08

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

        But voters in ohio are able to switch parties every time they vote. Many of them switched to Republican this year so they could vote in the Republican primary. So I”m not sure your numbers mean anything.

  5. DAO
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry 2004 not 200r

  6. Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    This clear-eyed assessment is the key to predicting Romney’s coming victory. It won’t be close. Sandy will discourage early/absentee voting in Pennsylvania,Ohio, and Virginia, which redounds to Romney’s benefit; the Democrats will vote in lower numbers on election day, while motivated Republicans and independents.will turn out regardless of the weather.

    • Drew
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That’s wishful thinking if I ever heard any. Sandy will have virtually no effect on Ohio. Pennsylvania is as safe for Obama as Arizona is for Romney–even if a bunch of Obama voters don’t show up to the polls. The idea that Republicans will turn out but Democrats won’t is, frankly, laughable.

      • A. Anderson
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Virtually no effect on Ohio … Really? The democrat stronghold of NE Ohio is getting hammered:

        Good news for Romney – the Republican areas in South Ohio are pretty much unaffected. You argument has no merit of fact – thanks anyway. The weather due to Sandy in NE Ohio will probably ensure a 3% to 5% win for Romney.

      • wholefoodsrepublican
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        the effect would be on early voting, which obama is relying on… makes it harder for them to work on GOTV for Tuesday.

      • DaveinDetroit
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        Drew, your cautions here seemed reasonable and well-reasoned — then you revealed yourself as a partisan, I’m afraid. True, the weather argument is a stretch. It’s hard to see Sandy hurting either side disproportionately. But if Keith’s analysis is right — and it seems sound — all bets are off, because the polls haven’t given us a clear picture of the electorate this time. In that case, weird things start to happen. Maybe not Pennsylvania, but perhaps Iowa or Wisconsin or even Nevada.

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You are probably right about Virginia and Pennsylvania. Ohio is a different animal. It will have some effect, no doubt, but I could see it really turning into a nightmare scenario for Obama in Philadelphia.

      • ohHIoh
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:12 am | Permalink

        IMO, any tragedy hurts the incumbent. I’m from Ohio and I’ll bet there are a lot of Ohioans really upset about Sandy; ie.the constant rain, flooding, uprooted trees, damage, and devastation. When the media spins that Sandy helps the President, I just don’t see it that way. Sandy was a Superstorm, on par with Katrina, and do you recall the public’s reaction to Bush after Katrina?

        What about another tragedy, Benghazi?

    • Mike B
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It will be interesting to see the fallout of the republicans far right policies in the next two cycles. Race bait to blacks and Latinos two ethnic groups with growing affluence that would naturally lean toward republicans but for the hate. Suppression of women’s rights and voting rights will also create irreparable harm to the party brand. I am black business owner and used to vote Republican locally and actually voted for Bush in 04 but I would never ever vote for this Republican Party again after the welfare ads and food stamp president and “illegals” rhetoric thrown out regularly. As demographics are changing and and at the same time republicans are becoming more racist in their rhetoric the party would have to have a cultural divide to survive meaning a Colin Powell/ Jeb Bush wing would have to form for them to ever have chance at national election again. They would otherwise have to pickup up some states that are growing older smaller and more skewed to working class whites (ohio penn and wisconsin) to buck the trend of states in the west and southeast becoming increasingly black and Latino and becoming more hubs for white collar jobs to college educated young people who typically vote democrat. I just don’t see Rick Santorum or Rick Perry winning a national bid.

      • Richard M
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

        “Suppression of women’s rights…”

        What women’s rights are being suppressed? The right to force me – and my church – to pay for their abortifacients?

  7. Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Guys I just did a mass amounts of deletes even of thoughtful comments by allthingsgeography. The guy who started it all “jay” is with us no longer. His trolling is exactly what I want to keep off these forums. He immediately took my academic dissection of the of the racial component of the electorate and turned into race-baiting. At that moment comments immediately left the topic at hand and became a discussion on race relations. That’s not what this blog, my post or this comment section will be about.

    • Jan
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Very good, people love this blog for the detailed analysis and information from the ground. It’s good you don’t let people ruin the attractiveness of the blog and keep the comment section from a 300+ comment chat session where chatter and racial slurs make it difficult to find sensible arguments and insightful information amidst the clutter. I’m sorry for the time that might cost you that could otherwise be utilized to blog good articles.

    • Kevin Paradine
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m sorry to hear that as the site is a really nice place to read as things stand. Allthingsgeography had generally made interesting posts.

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      To be expected. Folks shouldn’t bother even replying to them, as onces they get deleted so do all the responses.

  8. Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    allthingsgeography1, we may have different politics, but I always appreciate your posts.

    • fab4gal
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      ~ Brittany

      • allthingsgeography1
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        I just came back to check to see if there were any replies and read what happened. I can understand Keith doing what he did. I am happy he appreciates keeping a civil tone to the discussion and not letting trolling destroy it. I’m glad to be dealing with people interested in intelligent discussion instead of unless name calling and partisan bickering. Wish Congress could get along this well. LOL. I hope Obama wins, but if Romney wins, I will still disagree with his policies, but I will certainly hope for his success as President and that I’m wrong about his skills and policies (I even told my fiance, “If Romney wins, proves me wrong and succeeds, I’ll vote for him in 4yrs”). The President’s success is also America’s success. This country could use some sense of patriotism and supporting the President even in respectful disagreement is an important aspect of that, in my opinion. I think it was my Dad who taught me to think objectively and critically and I’m glad to be in a forum that respects that.

  9. john
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    There’s a story on the atlanta journal constitution can’t link it from my phone easily, but black voters in Georgia are exceeding their totals from 2008, in a state no one thinks Obama won (he won’t but McCain won by just 7, 52-45). If they aren’t downbeat here, why would they be in swing states?

    • john
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink | Reply here is the link

    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      that is 33% of THOSE that have voted thus far (257,000 out of 780,000 early votes cast)….in 2008 of the total 3.9 million votes cast 30% were african american.

      You can look at it as 1) african americans are voting early and come election day it will all even out 2) Afircan Americans will show up in equally large numbers on election day and thus increase their total of the vote.with the idea being african american population in Georigia growing by 3% is not outside the realm of normal especially in a southern state like Georgia.

      We will see on election day what the final tallies are. But for the most part the convential wisdom is democrats vote early, republicans vote on election day.

      • john
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        30 to 33% is a ten percent increase. I’m just saying, in a state few expect to be competitive, Obama looks he could again keep the loss in Georgia below 10%. I live in Georgia, we are seeing Obama ads. Not sure why I don’t see that as a story in the National Journal ad tracker things.

        I’ve never understood the whole Republicans vote late thing. Why vote late if you know who you wanna vote for? On the plus side Nathan Deal did blow out Roy Barnes in ’10.

      • Porchlight
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Because Republicans hold Election Day to be a national holiday of great significance, and wish to honor the event by only casting their vote on that day.
        At least this Republican does.

      • Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        ^ this. We take election day much more seriously. I personally like the feeling of showing up at the polls on the official day, waiting in line, voting at an official booth, and getting my “I voted!” sticker. 🙂
        ~ Brittany

      • Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        yeah yeah John what’s a little math error between friends LOL 🙂

        I don’t know why that happens that way D’s early and Rep day of. I think for years it was probaby based on Dems have a better ground game and taking advantage of early voting and absentees. Apparently it is also cultural in some areas for church groups etc to load up the week or so before and vote as a group.

        Be an interesting sociology study as to why dems tend to go early and repubs wait until election day

      • Peasley
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

        If you look at the actual final early voting statistics of 2008 you will find that almost 35% of Georgia early voters were African American. So if you look at the actual numbers you will find that the African American voter percentage in Georgia is down.

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Peasley, please. Your link shows that roughly 700K Black people early-voted in Georgia. AS of this past weekend, 780K had already voted. I guess in RobbedMe reality that means the “actual numbers” of African American voters are down. In the real world, John is 100% correct, and this article’s analysis is not worth the kilobytes used to post it.

      • Richard M
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 1:00 am | Permalink

        African-American early voting could well be up over 2008 – the Obama campaign has, after all, made it even more of a priority to get its supporters out to the polls as early as possible.

        The question is whether they’re genuinely getting more African-Americans to the poll sin the aggregate, or just cannibalizing their Election Day turnout.

    • Svigor
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Shane, my guess would be that the Dem core is more fanatical, so they’re always fired up to vote, and it’s that core you see voting early. Plus, the 47% have more free time on their hands…

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Better start worrying, then. That 47% is going to make itself heard.

      • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Fast Eddie you’re new here so you need to know a few things. I welcome a diversity of opinion. I do not, however, tolerate hair-pullers or trolls throwing out snide remarks that don’t further the discourse. Support your opinions with facts, data and reasoning and you’re welcome to join the community. Take pot shots at people or posts comments whose sole purpose is to antagonize and bring the discourse down and you won’t be around for long.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        This is crazy I live in a solid red good Christian hypocrite state in the deep south. And most of the republicans in my state live we’ll below the national poverty line and receive Medicaid , social security, disability farm aid, food stamps and other government assistance. While people in states that are more affluent and educated mind you like the northeast, New England and pacific coast are die hard Starbucks liberals. This is a fallacy and blacks don’t vote democrat for hand out either nor do Hispanics we vote for the party that stands for social justice. Most blacks and Hispanics are die hard Christians and lean on God and the Bible not the government so that stereotype is just some racist garbage that is perpetuated and regurgitated by narrow minded idiots. I am sure this will be deleted while the original thinly bailed racist comment will be viewed as quite sensible – though it plays to subtle racist animus views

  10. valleyforge
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keith, this is an excellent point but the evidence would be more robust if it relied on historical turnout rates by race and applied them to the current adult or registered voter population. Relying on incremental changes in the white vote obscures whether we are above or below the fundamental trend. For instance, was 2008 simply a reversion to mean of white turnout after a heavy 2004 turnout, or was 2008 the outlier?

    Something along these lines: from 1988 to 2008 average turnout among whites adults was 58%, blacks 55%, Hispanics 49%, etc, which applied to 2012 census projections would give us a universe of 76% white, 11.5% black, etc. Then you can tweak for black turnout being higher in recent elections than average would indicate.

    Another methodological point: if you apply CNN’s exit poll crosstabs to Census’ racial turnout figures you show Obama winning in 2008 by only 5.9% instead of the 7.7% you get using CNN’s racial weights. So Obama must have done better among whites or non-whites or both. Not sure what that says about this year, except that it might explain how he can have non-white support at 2008 levels if those levels were an underestimate to begin with.

    • Aaron B
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What we’re looking at here is really the percentage of the group that is voting. The white vote was not significantly different from the last few elections (meaning that approximately the same percentage of white Americans voted) while the percentage of black and latino voters increased about 4% per group. This is out of the whole demographic. The point here is that for Axelrod’s model to be true, the percentage of black and latino voters would have to increase another ~4% per group. Interestingly, if blacks indeed follow the Axelrod model, they would suddenly become the demographic with the greatest percentage of voters, assuming white voters stay constant. It looks like 2008 was either the outlier or the new normal. It would be difficult for 8% of a voting group to start voting over an 8 year span.

      In 2008, 66% of non-hispanic white voting-eligable citizens voted while 65% of black voting-eligable citizens voted.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        This completely ignores the old normal. Blacks felt completely left out of political process in prior years and now we are very much engaged aware and educated about the electoral process. This is the new normal anyone on here or any so called black conservative must have not been to a black barber shop or hair salon lately blacks are very much in tuned to what is going on and all the bs being spewed about us and our president. This is Pandora’s box, the cat out the bag, the genie out the bottle pick a riddle but its like when baseball first went under the lights for night games you can’t go back to the dark now baby Obama 2012 get ready!!

  11. Utah Libertarian
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats on another linky-loo Keith! What’s the lead in for the number 4? Fab Four? Four Tops?

  12. Mike
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I live in Northwest Ohio, near Toledo. My job takes me all over Ohio from Toledo to Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. I’ve talked to hundreds of voters prior to and after the debates. Romney will win Ohio by a MINIMUM of 5%.

    • Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Nothing like a good anecdote, I always say.

    • Mike B
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Doesn’t seem like great statistical data to rely on but rather reaffirmation of a desired result. I am sure if a democrat spoke to similar people within their circle who look like them or who they think share similar values etc the same would be said the opposite way. People tend to spark conversation with people they think share their world view especially on topics of politics unless you are just a natural antagonist.

  13. Jeff Bell
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting analysis. I think that the margin of error in many of these number is too large to be able to combine them and make a solid prediction. Therefore, I think that your argument is strong, but not conclusive, if you want to argue popular vote. (However, popular vote may be for the loser in this election, where the electoral college trumps all.)

    I am a white middle-class middle-aged independent male just waiting for a credible third-party candidate. Ron Paul had some good points. Gary Johnson has good ideas. Having established my political slant, I would say that the Republicans do have a path to victory, but not if they continue to be associated with “47% politcs”. You can’t dismiss 47% of the population as hopelessly irresponsible, and then expect to run winning national campaigns. Rather, Republicans need to project a positive message of opportunity and sell the 47% on the benefits of free enterprise. The current Republican campaign has been dismal in that respect.

    • DaveinDetroit
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:40 am | Permalink | Reply

      Correct, Jeff, but as a Republican leaner myself, I’d urge you to see this year in light of the true choice. Romney will match up with your small “l” libertarian streak about 50-70% of the time I’d reckon, while Obama’s big-government, big-labor-driven, statist progressivism matches up about 5% of the time (mainly on things that don’t really matter except as throwaways to politically important micro-blocs — like “marriage equality”). The problems with the 47% comment were (1) a lot of those 47% of non-income tax payers are young or in school, elderly and living on fixed incomes, disabled, etc. rather than simply not “responsible” and (2) it got the message *exactly* backwards: encouraging greater responsibility through opportunity is precisely the promise of free enterprise and any politician like Romney who supports it. So it was a dumb thing to say. And if he had a do-over, I honestly think he’d say what he believes — that good government creates the circumstances where the 47% do better for themselves, not through expansion of debilitating entitlements or redistribution but through economic vitality.

      Obama’s record is well established and a major disappointment. He’s been a divisive and angry demagogue. His policies have helped politically connected groups but not the majority of the 47% or the other 53% (those at the top are doing quite well; though he pretends to despise them, his political fortunes rely heavily on their funding). That leaves Romney, a smart, decent man who’s also had major success as a leader and manager. That tells you who I’m choosing, anyway. Best to you.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        Interesting Keith has not admonished this poster – how about some fair and balanced here. Anyway, Obama doesn’t have one angry bone in his body God I wish he did! But then he would be viewed as guess what ABM. I wish one republican could name one policy obama has created that has directly caused harm to the economy facts and data points appreciated. Whereas in my state I can firmly say Obama care will create several thousand of jobs in health care and education with its expansion of Medicaid and will ease much of the burden on the state budget to improve infrastructure and other much needed investments. Sad to say no matter the problem blame the nearest black man in charge. I invite anyone on this site to please name one policy and one actual negative result (solendra excluded as that one issue has been ran into the ground) can any one here please I would love to hear it rather than just baseless attacks of this man.

      • valleyforge
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        @Mike – Obama policies that have directly hurt the economy: Off the top of my head, denying the Keystone pipeline, long moratorium on Gulf drilling, steep reduction in new drilling permits, onerous EPA regs intended to run coal power plants out of business, a slew of taxes and mandates on businesses in Obamacare that in surveys have suppressed hiring, attacks on Boeing’s SC plant, Gibson guitar, and other individual businesses that has businesses and investors looking over their shoulders, an NLRB increasing union leverage over businesses, and on and on.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        ValleyForge That great pipeline final estimates can’t project any more than a couple thousand temporary construction jobs and the potential environment and long term concerns for this vital aquifer far outweigh any temporary jobs as most will be created on the Canada side for their residents using our land and cutting into American resources. Furthermore Obama has actually cut regulations and streamlined the permitting process he just has taken action to protect the consumer from multi national petro companies sitting on leases to keep production low to create artificial price gouging and inflated demand rather than a steady stable production – I would think most fair minded consumers would see this as a good thing but maybe not. Again obama has lowered taxes for small business and their employees I know I pay a lot of different taxes and I know they have been lowered and many beneficial deductions and credits added to the mix for capital investments in my business. Also cutting taxes on working classes stimulates local economies because these people shop locally because they do not travel or shop online with credit cards as much again a boon for local business. What actual facts do you have that are legitimate – with all respect?

      • Mike B
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        Those figures about obama care hindering hiring are laughable he is providing a 35% tax credit for this anyway. These polls are created by the chamber of commerce which is not non partisan they are mostly concerned with pulling the strings of government policy than providing any factual analysis. As far as the debt and deficit because I’m sure that’s your next thought and point again Obama has just put on the books the two wars Bush started but had no end game in sight and was putting on our long term true mortgage debt of 76trillion. Also he administered a bailout and stimulus authorized and caused by Bush and was handed a trillion budget deficit on his first day from Ws voodoo economic policies of starting wars cutting taxes and non paid for Medicare advantage goodies and hoping it all works out. Obama has had that to deal with with no help from republicans – romney promises more tax cuts more wars and more goodies for big business and super rich on our dime which will explode the deficit not responsibly manage it. Cutting spending in a recession is exactly what you don’t do in a recession. And why would you give more tax cuts to greedy unpatriotic a-holes with nearly 2 trillion sitting on the sidelines and building 100,000 square foot mansions that’s like 60 houses. And have the nerve to say if their taxes are raised one dime they will have to fire employees and go out of business. You don’t see that as the picture of greed and evil in America?

      • notsothoreau
        Posted November 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Regulatory burden under Obama:

        In my part of the country, we are replacing a bridge that connects Oregon and Washington state. We have to do an environmental impact study and a significant amount of the 3.1 billion dollar project is this study. Mind you, we are REPLACING A BRIDGE, not putting one in where there wasn’t one. If that isn’t a major impact caused by regulations, I don’t know what is.

    • Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply


      I voted for Ron Paul way back in ’88 and contributed to his primary campaigns in both ’08 and this year. I was also involved in the Libertarian Party for several years back in the ’90s.

      But, I agree with Dave in Detroit — Romney is looking better than we had any right to expect: e.g., his foreign-policy moderation in the third debate. Yeah, the “47 percent” comment, although based on a partially valid point, was artless and ill-considered, but everyone occasionally says something dumb (he thought it was private).

      Most importantly, your and my perspective is a rising force among younger Republicans — I myself am old enough to remember when “GOP” meant “Richard Nixon”! No more.

      So, while Romney is far from perfect, I’m comfortable with him as someone is who is trying to nudge the country in the right direction.

      Dave Miller in Sacramento

  14. Bob B
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I appreciate all the detailed research, and different opinions, and they are indeed interesting. Most I agree with. However, as for me the only thing I find most important is that WE ARE ON THE WRONG TRACK. We have borrowed too much money, we have too many people out of work, and Obama has broken too many promises. There is absolutely NO reason to even think that things will get better with him. That is why I am voting for ROMNEY. So should you.

  15. Jerome Barry
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    From day to day in my household, I observe the other voters with what I will call an unprecedented enthusiasm for an election over any other I’ve ever seen, and I saw 1980.

  16. Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    First of all, congratulations on all of the attention this particular article is getting…you have worked hard this year and deserve the focus!

    I have a question about your results, though. Why do you not take it a step further and plug in the potential loss of white votes for Obama? I am really curious why you wouldn’t extrapolate that data as well and apply to your model or even Axelrod’s.

    Here is the exit poll 2008 split for white voters

    O43 M55 which equals net R+8

    Here is the predicted support from today’s Pew Poll:

    O37 R57 which gives a R+20

    And here is predicted support from today’s ARG poll:

    O39 R57

    That is a potential 12 point gain in White voters. Wouldn’t that spell doom for even the Axelrod model?

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, especially considering that some liberal whites will not be voting, and conservative white voters who skipped ’08 will be voting. There’s a couple of turnouts here if Obama wins:

      1) The RDI, independents, voter makeup…. all that analysis we do here has changed drastically from what the polls have predicted nearly exact for the last 4 cycles, to something new and no longer predictable by such models.

      2) The partisan polls that have been released for the states (Mellman, Grove, Greenburg… ) do not have an agenda and are correct.

      3) The lower than ’08 Obama EV turnout is the result of Democrats having registered as Republicans in order to vote in the ’12 primary.

      4) Internet polls are the new thing, and Nate Silver is so ahead of the curve in using RAND and IPSOS to counter the traditional polling.

      I could go on but it’s already gotten to the point of absurdity…

      • Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, No Tribe.

        I was actually reading my post again and thinking that exact same thing: that due to the predicted loss of both white votes and indie votes, it would take a huge electoral shift for O to even tie this race. If you look at the pew poll internals from this morning…Obama is below his 2008 results in EVERY (!) sub group except black voters. To be confident of an Obama win you said…absurd.

      • Congress Works For Us
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        NPR’s poll this morning (Tuesday) has Romney +1 with a D+4 sample…

  17. tall guy
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I am interested in your blog. I’m a math geek and a big fivethirtyeight fan. Lately a lot of conservatives are making a lot of anti-math noise like anybody with a calculator is biased. Its not true. I am very objective.

    You have a reasonable point that white participation is likely to return to 2004 levels, but I think you might be overstating how much it will help Republicans. If you assume that McCain would have won the white non-voters at the same rate he won white voters (55-43), he would have netted an extra 204k votes in a race that he ultimately lost by 10,000,000. Even this is a dubious assumption. Nearly every poll shows Republicans always doing better among likely voters than registered voters. This is because unlikely voters (ie the 2004 voters that sat out 2008) have a distinct Democratic lean. I haven’t seen a poll that breaks unlikely voters down by race, but I think at the very least, you can’t expect white non-voters to be more Republican than white voters.

    I saw you did another post where you said about Ohio “Give 80% of the stay at home vote to Republicans (76,172) and you’re ~30% closer to flipping the state”. That is absurd and if Nate Silver ever did anything like that, you would have a very good bias claim. Smart stats people use realistic assumptions, whether they benefit them or not. How can you possibly claim that white nonvoters supported McCain by an 80% margin when white actual voters supported him by only a 12% margin?

    You also seem to totally ignore the fact that while white participation percentages were down relative to 2004 and minority participation was up, white participation percentages were still far higher. The story of 2008 wasn’t really white voters staying home (65% voted down from 66%). The story was that minority participation was higher (43% up from 40%). There is very good reason to believe that minority participation will remain high. Blacks remain proud of the first black president. Latinos are even more annoyed with Romney (self-deportation, etc) than they were with McCain. As you mention, minority population has continued to grow. White non-hispanics represent only 66% of the overall population now.

    Another issue is that you do not make any attempt to talk about the huge variety of white voters there are in the country. Obama is dismally unpopular with Southern whites, but he will win Northeastern whites by healthy margins. Exactly what happens in the midwest will help to decide the election, but I think you might be overlooking the fact that he isn’t as unpopular as you might think in some of the swing states. Applying a nationwide white rating to individual states is a huge mistake.

    Finally, let me point out that you took great pride in saying that the exit polls were wrong on the racial composition. The census bureau proved that more whites than you thought voted in 2008. I’m not entirely sure why you believe this is a good thing for Romney. Simple algebra says that means that Obama must have done better with whites, nonwhites or both than the exit polls said in 2008.

    • Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

      There are far too many factual errors and erroneous assumptions in this comment for me to respond at length. But here is where you should start:

      The Reality of 2012 Voter Turnout: The White Voter

      Here is what I explain in the linked piece why so many of the missing votes would have gone to McCain:
      If John McCain achieved a white voter turnout rate equal to George Bush in 2004, that would have meant 1.7 million more White votes. While all of these votes would not have gone to McCain (nor were they all in battleground states), a super-majority of these voters likely would have voted Republican considering the make-up of the missing voter (white male — Obama’s worst demographic) and the motivated nature of the Obama voter in 2008 (i.e. if they were Obama supporters, only a scant few percent would have stayed home).

      • tall guy
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Well, I guess that is the key argument over your entire thesis. You assume that McCain would have won all 90% of the nonvoters (80% margin = 90-10). I think this is absurd. You have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these people were Republican leaning. You put in the line “if they were Obama supporters, only a scant few percent would have stayed home”, OK…I buy that. But the flip side is also true “If they were McCain supporters, only a scant few percent would have stayed home”.

        The bottom line is that people that don’t vote, don’t vote because they feel like it isn’t worth their time and effort to vote. They feel like they are relatively ok with either, or perhaps they are relatively not alright with either. Bottomline, they just don’t care enough about politics to bother.

        You make a fairly common mistake in politics, assuming that nonvoting members of a demographic are similar to their voting counterparts. People make the same mistake on the left. You make it far worse, because you don’t just assume that they are as Republican as white voters, you assume they are far more Republican.

        BTW, I think I adequately described the “factual errors and assumptions” in your post. You claim they are present in mine, but don’t have the time to figure them out. Whatever…

    • No Tribe
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The “anti-math” brings up something that I’ll just point out about the flaw of the 538 model. And that it, it ignores the political timing of polls. Nate Silver doesn’t have much of a political history, so he wasn’t around during the ’02 polling, but perhaps you were. If you’ll recall, Democrats were up in the generic through the summer, and then voted on Iraq, mostly in favor. There were a few ‘lack of motivation’ hints in the polls after that, but it wasn’t clear from a state to state polling perspective that the Democrats were going to get creamed. In fact, it was just the opposite mostly. And that was because, internally, Democrats knew it was getting bad, so a bunch of public polls were released by partisan firms intentionally showing the Democrats up. Obviously, this is all in hindsight.But at the time, it was very difficult to believe the Democrats, going straight by the top-line polling, were about to get creamed. And that is exactly what happened.

      Nate Silver has a very similar flawed strategy going on with 538. Using polling done by Lisa Grove, Mark Mellman, Stan Greenburg? And a study internet poll by RAND? A Google Survey? I realize he takes Republicans too, but that’s not an even score. The team that is up is not going to go out and get their hacks to prop them up in the aggregates to boost team morale. That he doesn’t realize this is his own error. Actually, he does, and admitted in an article that if his model is wrong, it’s due to biased state polling. Duh.

      • No Tribe
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        And that biased polling would include the pollsters that Axelrod and Plouffe have personally harangued into going with a repeat of the ’08 turnout model, despite ’10 results, despite the RDI analysis, and despite the enthusiasm gap evident in polling.

      • tall guy
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        1998 was sort of the opposite of 2002. There is something to be said for the “election might change” issue. There is also something to be said for the “all the polls might be wrong” issue. Frankly, thats why fivethirtyeight has Obama as 75% likely to win and not 100% likely to win. 25% is actually a fairly big number. Another way to think of it is that there is a 50% chance that Obama will hold on and the swing states won’t swing enough to change from where they are now. There is a 50% chance they will swing enough that if they swing in Romney’s direction he wins. Of course, there’s also a 50% chance they swing that much in Obama’s direction. .5 x .5 = .25.
        If you think about it like that, you’ll realize what Nate Silver is saying.

        There are Democratic leaning polls in his model. You underestimate the extent to which there are also R leaning ones. Rasmussen has a big lean and it puts out far more polls than anyone else.

        The bigger question is what would you do about it? How would you design a model that accurately estimated the odds? I think what he has done (include everything but weight for house effects and overall accuracy) makes a lot of sense. I’ve heard Rep criticism but never heard anything different. When Reps try to do this sort of thing, they always end up saying obvious bullshit like I think the GOP would have won 90% of the nonvoting white population if they had voted.

      • Congress Works For Us
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        @tall guy – Rasmussen and Gallup weight by party ID as part of the weighting. Others do not, refusing the whole importance of this factor. One of the two is right. The problem when you weight by party ID and a chunk of (R) voters stays home (2008), is that you look foolish in State polls. The problem when you don’t weight by party ID and you base your models on the previous election, is you miss the surge from the other side.

        Worse — these polls are not just oversampling Dems, they are undersampling Independents. But if you look at the polling internals, Independents are breaking heavily for Romney, even in polls showing Obama leads. This is Math 101, and it doesn’t add up. Anyone who wins Independents by 7-21 points (depending on which OH poll you look at) is NOT LOSING THE STATE.

        Nate Silver’s model has issues, but he is generally pretty good. But, statistical analysis is only as good as the data points; which, mark my words, will be Nate’s “mea culpa” on Nov 7.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        These so called independents are really just shame republicans in the first place so that’s a real misnomer. With the R party being so low in favorable most folks in soft support of them don’t want to self identify. Democrats have always been strong majority in this country at least in last 25 years. They just are apathetic because the powers that be have still controlled them once they get to office. Obama has thrown giant middle finger to the super rich and powerful because he has network of 4 million plus small donors to supplement. We will see Tuesday night though. The sleeping giant is definitely awake now and will turn out for the one that at least will put up a fighting chance against the billionaire A-holes that run this country with their ill gotten money off the backs of labor and the 99 percent. The rest are sheep that the uber rich know they can control with prejudice and fear. We will once again rise and America will for once be a nation truly for the people and by the people as our creed states!

    • rcl_in_va
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m a bit of a math geek too; not such a big fivethirthyeight fan. I will make a wager with you though (if it’s legal of course), that if you let me forecast state by state who win’s and who loses on the night before the election I will miss three or fewer. There are only a handful of states in play and early voting takes away most of the uncertainty. It ain’t that hard. So, fivethirtheight got 49 out of 50 right last time. It was a landslide; I mean what state was even close on election day (except the one it missed)? This election is much closer, and fivethirthyeight just gives us its probabilities of win/loss. Who is to judge their daily accuracy? With early voting he closer we get the easier it is. Guess I don’t impress easily.

      • tall guy
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        Were you impressed that he said that the Chicago White Sox would win only 72 games two years after they won a world series? This was widely mocked and turned out to be dead on accurate.

        Were you impressed that he said that the Tampa Bay Rays would finish 8 games above .500 when they had just finished 30 below and had never had close to a winning season. Again, widely mocked right up til they went to the World Series.

        Were you impressed that he predicted Obama would easily beat Hillary in Indiana and North Carolina when all the pollsters and pundits were predicting a big Clinton victory in both?

        What about the fact that early in the gen election campaign, he predicted both In and NC would be competitive when no Democrat had come remotely close in either?

        I agree that his 49 out of 50 stat is quite misleading and not as impressive as it might initially seem but he knows what he is doing and has gone out on a limb and been right many times before.

      • No Tribe
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Actually tall guy,

        Baseball is more his thing, I agree it’s damn impressive and he deserves wide spread praise there. In politics, he’s working with a flawed premise– that outcomes can be gleaned from biased samples, and it only works when the bias he is aligned with is the one that has everything go its way to be right. That’s not that tough in the short-term.

        I was not impressed with was how wrong he was about West Virginia and got South Dakota wrong about Obama vs Clinton. Or that he thought the Liberal Democrats were going to be the massive winner in the UK elections, or that he was talking about there being a good chance that the Democrats would hold the House in the last week of the ’10 election.

      • Congress Works For Us
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Baseball and politics are not the same.

        In Baseball, Silver was dealing with actual numbers. In politics he is dealing with polling….

    • rcl_in_va
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      My son and daughter live in the Tampa area and I’m a huge Ray’s fan. Joe Maddon gets more with less than pretty much any manager I can remember. I wasn’t impressed with Mr. Silver’s call in ’08, but only because I wasn’t aware of it. I certainly would have been. I was both impressed and delighted with the Rays that year despite their WS loss.

      • tall guy
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 2:08 am | Permalink

        I live in Tampa now too and I used to live in Virginia.

        If you read his blog closely, I think you’ll be more impressed with him. He really does know his stuff. Its not intended to be a Democratic pep rally. It really is intended to be a realistic estimate of the probability. I’ve read it very closely and I’ve never once seen him do anything remotely what the clown on this site did with this projection. McCain would have won 90% of the non-voting white population if they had just voted. If you really are a math geek, you should have been able to spot the absurdity of that a mile away. The fact that Karl Rove would actually link to this site really just tells you something about Karl Rove and whether he is even remotely trying to analyze the election or just spouting off bullshit facetious numbers.

        I’m not saying Romney won’t win. He’s got a very good shot at it. His odds are better than the odds of tossing two heads in a row. Thought of a different way, Obama’s odds are only slightly better than if he was playing Russian roulette with two bullets in his gun. There really isn’t anything here for the Democrats to get overexcited about. Sure, they are the favorite but its still very close. A couple of breaks and Romney will win.

        I’m not even sure I understand why you guys don’t just embrace your underdog status. America loves underdogs. Instead, you just make up all sorts of bullshit to show a situation that just isn’t there.

  18. No Tribe
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Axelrod may be right too though Keith.

    I think the other consideration here is the white flip. There are going to be white progressives who don’t vote, replaced by white conservatives who do vote, that were the opposite in 2008. So though the white vote stays at 74% there’s been a flip away from Obama toward Romney both in existing repeat voters and new voters, and Obama loses voters to non-participation.

    • tall guy
      Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I actually think the opposite will happen. Slightly. The WWII generation was one of the most conservative in history and the main reason why Nixon and Reagan won so many races. They are dying off and the new millenial generation is shaping up to be one of the most liberal. I feel like this shift is one of the less covered ones of the whole demographic issue.

      Clearly, there are other issues going on and the economy might eventually swing the election to Romney, but Republicans should be wary that it looks like they are going to lose what should be a very winnable election. If that does happen, they need to ask themselves honestly why and realize the demographics are likely to get worse by 2016.

      • No Tribe
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Death rates are over exaggerated by the youth. In actuality, the over 65 population is the fastest growing one in the US right now. The drop off for progressives will be bigger in the blue states, especially in the big blue cities on the west and east coast. In the battlegrounds, it will be in places like NoVA. And it’s not a dropoff among the Millennial gen as much as it is on the 1/4 baby boomer voters, though I think the 20-30 will be lower too.

      • tall guy
        Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        I think you are missing my point. Its not that young people are intrinsically Democratic and old people are intrinsically Republican. Its that these young people are more Democratic than previous young people and these old people are more Republican than previous old people. If you look at previous elections, you’ll see that the WWII generation was always very conservative, even when they were young and middle age.

        The senior population is growing but only because more boomers are turning 65 than WWIIers are dying. It doesn’t change the basic equation that a conservative generation is being replaced by a liberal one. In 1980, Republicans benefited greatly from a conservative generation of 18 year olds replacing New Deal Democrats. The opposite is happening today. Look closer at the data and you’ll see it.

      • Matthew Schultz
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

        The opposite is happening today. Look closer at the data and you’ll see it.

        What data? The youngest of adults are now more conservative than liberal. Didn’t you see the story in the AP?

      • tall guy
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 1:40 am | Permalink

        The story you referenced talked about fiscal conservatism…not overall conservatism. It even strongly made that point. Young people’s responses on social issues and foreign policy issues are overwhelmingly liberal and young people voted heavily for Obama in 2008 and every poll says they are going heavily for Obama this time.

        Look at the historical exit poll data and you’ll see that while the young normally favor the Democrat, there has never been anything near the 40 point gap there was between young and old votes that there was in 08. (replace 76 with all the other years)

      • Evan3457
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 4:56 am | Permalink

        The Baby Boomer generation will become more conservative, fiscally, as it ages, having more property to protect. This is anecdotal, but my brother-in-law is a classic example of a 70’s liberal college student becoming a moderate Republican, and voting his pocketbook.

      • Matthew Schultz
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        The story you referenced talked about fiscal conservatism…not overall conservatism. It even strongly made that point.

        You act like this is somehow important. And the rest of your comment is focused on a group I wasn’t discussing. I suppose you’re just interested in reinforcing that absurd narrative of inevitability–that somehow the electorate is going to be thoroughly liberal for the rest of our days. No one knows what it will look like, even if we have some trends that show it is going in the opposite direction.

        Back to the data. If the youngest of voters are trending fiscal conservative, do you think they will enthusiastically vote for any of the current Democrats? Money is everything in politics, and for the liberal/conservative divide the question has increasingly been whether government gets the money or individuals keep the money. Liberalism will not survive without an electorate willing to feed it unsustainable sums of money through aggressive taxation and the raw printing of cash. This is why the blue social model is currently in decline around the country; even the New York Times had a piece recently on the crushing debt burden of Illinois on its people. Pragmatism has a way of pitting mayors of even the bluest of cities against labor unions and their pension plans.

        Also, I suspect the rise of Rorty’s pragmatic pluralism will translate to a desire for more states rights over federal rights, which plays directly into the coercive liberal social agenda, dependent as it is on unchecked federal power. People are increasingly coming to believe that smaller communities are better, and that locals aware of the particulars of situations should be responsible to govern their own interests.

        If the youngest of rising voters are fiscally conservative while still being “liberal” on foreign policy and other matters (it’s not obvious how you’re using the term there; none of the current crop of Democrats are non-interventionist in any meaningful way), the best you could say is that they are now leaning libertarian: small government, non-interventionist, open preference on more social issues.

      • UncleFred
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Tallguy You are conflating liberal and conservative with Democrat and Republican. While the WWII were very conservative they were also very strongly Democrats. That was when both parties contained conservative and liberals and moderates. Nixon won, not because of the lack of Democrats among the electorate, rather because the Democrats ran a radical. Remember “Democrats for Nixon”? Reagan won heavily because of the failures of Carter which caused conservative Democrats to vote split their ballots for Reagan.

        In 2012 Obama’s edge among young voters comes solely from massive margins among minorities, he actually loses young white voters by about 5%. These voters are VERY worried about the long term issues the massive spending holds for them. While you are correct about the libertarian appeal of young voters, including college educated young blacks by the way, who is closer to Ron Paul, Romney or Obama? That won’t matter to minorities, but it does matter to young whites.

      • Brad
        Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        The younger generation will eventually be the most conservative generation in American history. The polls show them as basically “liberal” on gay marriage, as pro-life as seniors and non-interventionist on foreign policy (but not UN-firsters like Obama or pacifists). On economics, they are extremely fiscally conservative (those that aren’t will be fiscally conservative eventually once they mature a little). Basically, Ron Paul’s views are the views of younger voters and they will eventually be the views of the majority of the Republican Party. The GOP has already moved largely in their direction over the last 4 years (but not far enough yet for the hardliners) and that is why Republicans are on the verge of victory.

        This year, Republicans put the hawks in the background and Mitt Romney actually spent an hour and a half in a debate claiming not to be an irresponsible hawk. Already, Romney focused on the economic message and kept his social conservatism in the background. Romney did miss an opportunity by not more aggressively pushing back against Obama’s pro-abortion extremism and attacks on freedom of religion (and the whole “War on Women” BS in general).

        After Herman Cain got slandered out of the race last year, I basically was for Ron Paul and nobody else. I only began to consider supporting Romney because of the Bain Capital attacks and the attacks on Romney’s efforts to protect his private property. It also helped that Romney’s most serious opponents were 2 1950s-style liberals (socially conservative, hawkish and liberal on economics) while I figured Romney was an opportunist who would be open to fiscal conservatism, if Congress were to “nudge” him in that direction. I was actually still considering voting for Gary Johnson in November unless Romney chose the right VP until Obama began his class warfare campaign and his “War on Women” nonsense. When I realized that Obama’s whole 2nd term agenda consisted of a tax increase that would send us to depths not seen since 1932, I knew it would be reckless and irresponsible not to vote for Romney.

        By the way, crosstabs on the polls now show that voters 18-29 are more likely to vote for Romney than voters between the age of 30 and 44. The Obama anomaly of 2008 will baffle future historians who weren’t alive at the time, but it is wholly understandable when you consider that John McCain was basically a hawkish liberal while many people thought Obama would be a non-interventionist liberal. Older Conservatives really shouldn’t lament McCain’s defeat in 2008 because McCain was a far-left RINO who supported a Global Warming tax (look up McCain-Lieberman) and because McCain’s defeat gave birth to the Tea Party, which brought the GOP back to its senses.

        If Obama somehow wins next week (and I believe Romney will take about 60% and white turnout will be just below 80%), there is one silver lining to take away from it. Obama is going to wreck the economy so bad over the next 4 years that a Democrat won’t be able to get elected for a generation and it will be generations before a liberal gets elected again. We should take the opportunity, if Obama is re-elected to finish the job of cleaning up the Republican Party by removing the rest of the RINOs. Frank Rich, the former NY Times columnist (who used to be part of that gang of leftists that basically wrote the same column for different papers), wrote a great article in New York magazine recently explaining why his side (the pro-government) is doomed and why the side of liberty will triumph eventually.

        If you know history, you know that the “Progressive” error in his history was a total fluke. Grover Cleveland, the last libertarian president, lost the 1888 election because of a fluke. The statist side (the “Billion Dollar Congress”) wrecked the economy and the worst recession in American history to that point began as Grover Cleveland took office for his 2nd term in early 1893. William Jennings Bryan turned the Democratic Party upside down in 1896 because of this fluke of history and then the assassination of the moderate President McKinley put a crazed far-leftist named Teddy Roosevelt in the White House. We got a moderate back in the White House in 1908 and Roosevelt tried to get “his” nomination back in 1912 but lost to Taft. Roosevelt was a sore loser and purposely ran 3rd party to elect the proto-fascist white supremacist Woodrow Wilson (“sore loser” laws were passed by many states to prevent this from happening again). In 1920, America repudiated “Progressive” tyranny when Warren Harding won the White House in a record landslide (still the biggest ever in a contested election) without campaigning at all. Harding cut taxes and cut spending by a bigger margin (both by gigantic amounts), helping the economy recover from a crash worse than the 1929 crash. America was back on the right track until leftist Herbert Hoover won the White House, crashed the economy and kept it from recovering with Obamaesque tax increases (what Obama proposes to do next year is what Hoover did in 1932 and what European countries have done in response to this crisis). FDR got elected on reducing the size of government and cutting taxes and then did basically kept taxes the same and ran up a massive deficit, which made things slightly better than Hoover’s policies, but prolonged the Depression compared to a Harding approach or a “do-nothing” approach. We were fortunate that we didn’t have somebody worse than FDR, as Argentina did (and Argentina was around as prosperous as America until the Great Depression). Since then, America has gone permanently to the left. When conservatism rose 40 years ago, America and Sweden had around the same size of government. Conservatives did not reduce the size of government (yet), but they did prevent us from becoming Sweden. The reason why we have yet to return to the libertarian America intended by the Founders is because the media and the education system indoctrinate many people into pro-government views and engineer enough voters to keep the left afloat (and because RINOs have nominated almost every Republican presidential candidate for decades). America is fundamentally a libertarian nation and has always been fundamentally a libertarian nation. The only reason we have been a welfare state for a century or so is because of the influence of the institutional left, an influence that will be eradicated in the coming years by technology (already, schools are becoming obsolete and alternatives to the leftist media are emerging).

        Frank Rich’s article doesn’t go where I just went, but it is interesting that a leftist would come to the conclusion (just as I did) that Americans “loathe government” and have always loathed government. In the late 19th century, libertarians (the Democrats of that time) believed that demographics were destiny after the more statist Republicans had held power for many years due to the Civil War. The libertarian coalition was only defeated in 1860 because they were divided on the slavery issue (arch-statist Henry Clay, like his ideological predecessor Alexander Hamilton, could never win the White House, but his protege Abraham Lincoln did by using slavery as a wedge issue). The Civil War was no longer an issue by the late 19th century and demographics were back on the side of the Democrats due to immigration (the Republican base consisted of evangelical Protestants, while the Democrats had a base of Catholics and Lutherans and most immigrants were from Ireland and Germany). The key thing to keep in mind was that evangelical Protestantism was different in the 19th century. It was a leftist faith that pushed something called the “Social Gospel” rather than the conservative faith known by that name today and it eventually became secularized into the modern leftist faith (it was no accident that the far-left William Jennings Bryan was the defender of Creationism at the Scopes trial). For a while, the statists were trying to counter demographics by pushing for women’s suffrage (the women that supported women’s suffrage were the anti-alcohol activists while the women who were against prohibition and the wives of the immigrants were believed to be uninterested in voting). When the Democrats became the left-wing party, the Germans switched to the Republicans (who dropped their opposition to alcohol and the gold standard, the 2 big issues for German-Americans). Eventually, prohibition and women’s suffrage were added to the Constitution at the same time by Woodrow Wilson’s administration. Public education (which was originally intended to indoctrinate kids in evangelical Protestantism until the left went secular in the mid-20th century) and the “objective” (pro-government) media eventually created a statist majority for a while. Civil Service “reforms” that made the federal bureaucracy permanent (instead of the jobs being given out to campaign volunteers under the so-called “Spoils System” advocated by Jefferson and Jackson) also contributed. In 1887, it was likely that the statists would be out of power permanently in the near future. The unlikely occurred and we ended up in the leftist nation that is present-day America. This time around, the demographics are a red herring and the real America will soon be reborn. This will happen eventually regardless of the outcome of this election because America is a nation founded on libertarian principles and America is only temporarily not a libertarian nation because of an accident of history that will eventually correct itself. It is up to those of us who believe in America’s founding principles to restore the real America and defeat those who defend this counterfeit America.

    • valleyforge
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink | Reply

      If discouraged white Obama supporters stay home the same will apply to discouraged black and Hispanic Obama supporters. And since the latter are a disproportionate share of their respective races, that will actually increase the white share of the vote.

  19. rcl_in_va
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congrats! Great work Keith. What’s next; “Keith Backer, the early years” book tour. Just kidding of course. Seriously though, your blog is battlegroundwatch for good reason. Stating the obvious, we have 50 simultaneous elections, not one, and about 40 of them were over before they started. Wasn’t it Tip O’Neill who said all politics is local. I’m not telling you what you don’t already know. The national picture is interesting, but the campaigns today are laser focused on districts, counties and even neighborhoods within each of these 40 or so simultaneous competitive elections. What does your thesis say individually about how the racial turnout demographics Ohio, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada will play out? PS: If GA matters, we (REPs) are walking dead anyway.

  20. Jon
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink | Reply


    I’ve been on this blog since August, and you, my friend, provide one of the best analysis throughout this election. On Nov 6th, you will be one of the few vindicated bloggers. You called MN in play a month ago. Your data on Nevada seems like you are Team R/R boston staffer.

    If we ever meet, then I owe you a beer, for you are a keystone in dismantling the MSM narrative.

  21. David
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    If historical trend keeps, the white should be -2.3 after 5 elections and 0.6 bigger than 2008 = White 76.9% in 2012.

  22. harvey rich
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting analysis but it is a version of demographics is destiny. There are too many other factors to take this too seriously. For example, there’s the hidden Rodney tape that showed up prior to the debates. Then there’s the poor Obama first debate; then there’s all that money in the super PACs. There’s also the small matter of the electoral college. And on and on. I’d rather put my money on the aggregation statistical models of Nate Silver and 538. Right now he is showing an electoral college victory for Obama, but that could change in the final week.

  23. GodsCountry
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    For years back in the 70’s and 80’s I watched Axelrod on Chicago’s PBS station WTTW as he engaged in punditry. Smoke is all the man knows.

  24. Ta111
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is the bottom line. If Obama gets 40% or less of white vote he loses pretty biga and the dems know this. He probably needs around 43% to have a chance. Whites will make up a slightly larger percentage of the electorate this cycle. Remember, there are some 15 million white evangelicals who stayed away last election who are going to definitely vote this time around. That’s why the Billy Graham endorsement was so important.

    • Mike B
      Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Again you guys here miss the larger point obama could squeak out some wins in massive electoral dem leaning states and get hammered in virtually all the sure red states and still win by large electoral margin national polls aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit. Romney has a lot of ground to cover even with white men in post industrial states that are the new swing states and a party brand drag in the new west battle ground. It doesn’t matter if he wins by 20 million in popular vote its the EC that matters and Obama team are real pros and know every key county and precinct they need to turnout. It comes down to machinery and competence and Obama has the best of the best of Clinton Gore and Kerry’s team as well as his originals – if Mitt had more of Roves team they could match but they are just flat out out classed and you will soon see.

  25. Posted October 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    you must also remember that Obama’s support of same sex marriage has an impact on the vote in the African American community of people who identify themselves as Christians. Although they will not vote for Romney, it is very likely they will choose to vote for no one or not vote at all. Axelrod is putting all his chips on a model created by an economic meltodwn and candate with charisma and no record and a boogeyman to blame. None of those factors are present this year and Obama has a record of failure. I feel bad for them because they are headed for a very stratling reality.

  26. Posted October 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So Ezra, are you and your man throwing in the towel?

  27. Life5678
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You are using demographics for the entire US when you need to break it down by state. Look at Ohio VS US demographics as an example:

    Black persons . . . . . .12.40% vs 13.10%
    Asian persons . . . . . . .1.70% vs . 5.00%
    Hispanic or Latino . . . .3.20% vs .16.70%
    White not Hispanic . . .81.00% vs 63.40%

    Then you need to look at how this breakdown votes in Ohio, because blue collar white vote much differently than other whites.

  28. Leimankeinan
    Posted October 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    On why Obama ads would be running in a state like Georgia where Obama has no realistic chance of carrying…. Simply to increase the turnout for the down-ticket races.

  29. tpaine1
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting. In Tennessee, Obama lost by 14% in ’08. An MTSU poll last week, has him losing 59% to 34% this year or a whooping 25%!! Early voting is UP among GOP and down among Dems.

  30. latag
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    how anyone can believe that after 4 years of failed leadership, boarded up businesses, and staggering unemployment that Americans will vote for more of the same simply astounding. They must be a Julia type who wants Barry Obozo to take care of them from cradle to grave.

    • Mike B
      Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink | Reply

      So I guess Obama created this financial disaster right. He has done all he can to patch a floor on this economy and stimulate private sector growth with no public employment to supplement (govt employment is not even keeping up with population growth mainly teachers police and fire fighters in metro areas). If he had a net growth here instead of cutbacks we would be at 6.5% at least and this still with a House who in the face of a Great Depression level financial crisis main goal when they came to work every day was to defeat this President and obstruct his every move. I guess in your mind these are wise and noble statesmen huh?

      • Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Mike, I’m going to start deleting your comments unless you clean-up your act. Antagonistic statements are the fastest exit out of here. I welcome diverse opinions but not name calling or hair pulling. You are offering fewer reasoned arguments for your view and more partisan hair pulling. Decide whether you want to stay and choose your comments accordingly.

      • Mike B
        Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        You are completely one sided and this is bogus. You have people posting on here about democrats being lazy and that’s why they need early voting and all other types of innuendo that play into stereotypes. I could care less that you try to censor me. I offer a different opinion and am equally as strong in my delivery as the people on here calling Obama’s presidency a failure with no factual support. So go ahead and delete me but you can’t delete the facts and reality. Live in this bubble you want to create of like minded Obama haters and see what that gets your blog. Review the comments on here and try to look from the viewpoint of a black Latino liberal or moderate you have comments on here about mestizos and other racial slurs but no comment on that. You can delete me but it is selective policing – if you really wanted to create an environment of diverse opinion you would look at the comments from vantage point of someone other than a white male that hates this president and speak on those prevoxative remarks as well

  31. ALEX
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink | Reply

    I spent last weekend monitoring the elections as a poll watcher for GOP candidates in South Florida’s early voting precincts (3 different ones). What I saw is the following (observation over three hours time in the 3 precincts):

    On Saturday 2 hour-lines
    On Sunday 45 minutes lines (notice the drop already more than 50%)
    (compared to 2008 monitoring experience very low turnout in the same early voting precincts)
    No show of African-american voters and No show of Youth voters. To me it looks like a completely different electorate from 2008. No DEMS’ excitement.

  32. Posted October 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The best analysis on the vote I’ve seen including why the polls are all over the place (skewing party and race % one way or another)–losing 4+% of the white vote is not going to happen thanks to firing up the Catholics and just about every Republican

    Does anyone know what Gallup samples at? If it’s 74-75% white, this is over given R’s huge lead. Even if it’s bit lower (which seems unlikely based on the 2008 anomalies), Oblame-O is toast.

  33. Aaron
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You say that “national polls often use 74% as the representative White vote in this election”–that is, the figure based on exit polling. You then go on to claim that “from a historic stand-point 75% is the more reasonable level which would be a -1.3% decline from 2008.” I believe you mean that it is 1.3 percent lower than the census department’s projection of the adult population in 2008 (the census itself of course did not take place until 2010. Since the voting population does not overlap with the adult population, I wonder how you picked this figure as “reasonable” — it seems quite arbitrary. Why not 72%? Or 70%? or 80%? Since your entire argument hinges on this proposition it sounds a bit like the “unskewed poll” business — and that is none too persuasive I’m afraid.

    • Posted October 31, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Aaron, thanks for visiting. However you are reading it wrong. The real turnout of White voters in 2008 was 76.3% of the electorate. That is not a forecast or based on a poll. That is the actual % of White voters in 2008. A change from 2008 (76.3%) to 75% is reasonable based on the historic average decline of -1.4pp.

      • Posted October 31, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        If we ever needed to vote! Very powerful video here guys Rev Dr William J Barber of North Carolina I smell a swing state sweep coming on!

        For those saying blacks won’t turn out or black Christians won’t turn out for Obama watch this!

  34. Posted November 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    President Obama Football Analogy

    Coach Obama took over the reins of the football team last year and
    guided his squad to an 8-8 record. Some of the team’s fans were not very
    happy about this record and felt that Coach Obama should have and could
    have done more. Some even want to fire the one year coach. The owner
    however did not fire Coach Obama, citing the fact that he took over a team
    that was only 2-14 the year before. The owner has asked the fans to be a
    little more patient. Coach Obama promised continued improvement next
    year saying that the team must continue to move forward. The coach also
    advised that it would be a huge mistake to fire him and hire someone who
    has the exact same philosophy as the coach who went 2-14.

    Larry Blong

  35. Sylvie Baxter
    Posted November 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I hope so much that you are right. Keep up the good work! We need more clear thinkers in this country.

  36. Matthew
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    CNN just posted 72% white (almost like they were quoting Axelrod).

    • Mike B
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Watching Fox boy you guys on right don’t get it. Still saying minorities won’t free stuff for their vote great outreach offend the majority of electorate. Republican Party is dead RIP put a fork in it if you guys still don’t et the message and hear how crazy and ignorant and offensive you sound. You guys lost because majority of country doesn’t like Republicans as people based on your world view. No humility think the country is yours entitled and expect a president who won by a landslide to humble himself to you and beg and plead for you to do your job. Losers – you can delete me with this final post Keith. By the way I told you so. Hopefully one day you guys will wake up out of fantasy land and come into the real America!

      • Posted November 8, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        We got it. The parasites in this country now outnumber the producers who actually work for a living instead of having their hand out all the time. We got it, but we don’t have to like it.

      • Mike B
        Posted November 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        So who are the parasites exactly the blacks and Latinos waking up at the crack of dawn doing back breaking and humiliating work for slave wages? The women earning 70 cents on every dollar as men for the same work. Or the got it made guys that look like you who get positions they didn’t earn or deserve just because of the good ole boy network and can be fresh out of rehab or jail for that matter and still have better chance getting a job than black or Latino counter part with college degree? Who are you kidding if anyone is getting handouts it is your kind!

  37. Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink | Reply

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  38. Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

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12 Trackbacks

  1. […] Read the whole story at BattlegroundWatch  […]

  2. By Polls are wrong and Romney will win - Page 5 on October 29, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    […] I saw this article on RCP toady. It just adds further insight as to why the GOP is so confident that Romney is winning big. The Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model […]

  3. […] Read the Article […]

  4. […] via The Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model « Battleground Watch. […]

  5. […] The Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model « Bat­tle­ground Watch. […]

  6. […] 4. Basic assumptions are incorrect.  Whether it is David Axelrod’s math, where he says that there is not enough white vote to oust the president, and no I am not kidding.  I have the link, and read the article.  I invite you to the same. […]

  7. […] Related Links: Romney, GOP suddenly plunging onto Democratic turf Poll: Romney closes gap on Obama in Michigan The Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model […]

  8. […] there is this clinching argument in Keith Backer’s blog Battleground Watch. Backer makes a very convincing argument that most polls and the Obama team’s numbers are based […]

  9. […] Related Links:Romney, GOP suddenly plunging onto Democratic turfPoll: Romney closes gap on Obama in MichiganThe Folly of David Axelrod’s Turnout Model […]

  10. […] read this whole piece by Reid Wilson in the National Journal.  It addresses my exact point in the David Axelrod Turnout Model take-down. My post was on the national numbers but the same story applies at the state level. This column […]

  11. […] exist for Obama: stubbornly awful economy, eroding trust on foreign policy, formidable opponent, enthusiastic opposition and potentially fatal concerns with the turnout of key demographics (Hispanics and youth) for him […]

  12. […] exist for Obama: stubbornly awful economy, eroding trust on foreign policy, formidable opponent, enthusiastic opposition and potentially fatal concerns with the turnout of key demographics (Hispanics and youth) for him […]

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