Monthly Archives: November 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Fascinating stuff.

How to Get an Unpopular President Re-elected

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

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

Read the whole thing.

Losing Elections in 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Why So Many Failed to Predict the Reelection

Go Irish! Beat Trojans!

Go big or go home:

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

GOP Needs Better Message and Machinery

Gerald Seib interview with Karl Rove video at the link.

The Political Landscape Ain’t So Bad for the GOP

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

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

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

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

Lessons from 2012

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

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

Who didn’t show up:

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

How to fix it:

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

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

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

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

The D/R/I split –

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

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

Down Ballot Influence –

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

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

Reconciling the numbers –

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

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

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

— David Ramos

2012 National and State “Party ID”

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

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

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

Combatting the Polling Problem

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

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

What went wrong:

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

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

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

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

Solutions:

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

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

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

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

0.3% is the Difference Between President Romey and President Obama

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

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

Florida: 73,858

Ohio: 103,481

Virginia: 115,910

Colorado: 113,099

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

Obama’s margin in some other key states:

Nevada: 66,379

Iowa: 88,501

New Hampshire: 40,659

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

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

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

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

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

Go Irish! Beat Eagles!

No explanation needed:

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

Saturday Open Thread

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

Have at it and play nice.

More Reports of Project ORCA Fail

Here is a report from one of our own readers Tom in Arizona on the epic failure of the Romney Get Out the Vote effort:

I volunteered for the Romney campaign election day task force on 10/21/2012.  I received the following email on 10/22/2012:

Hi Tom,

 Thank you very much for your interest in being involved with the Romney-Ryan Election Day Task Force! Your help will be vital on Election Day. It will take up to 2 days to process you into our volunteer system, but we will be in touch with further information very soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at C********o@mittromney.com.

Thank you very much,

dc

To keep this short, after four days of no further contact, I started trying to contact the campaign myself over the remaining days before the election.  I tried the above email on 6 different occasions with no further replies.  I tried calling 3 different victory centers, most of which went to voice mail, and some of those voice mail boxes were full.  I spoke with “live” people twice, both of which said they’d get back to me.  Neither did.  I’m in AZ and I told them I could go to CO if necessary or help by making phone calls from home if they already had enough volunteers in CO.  I also told them I could do anything else they need, just let me know.  I NEVER HEARD BACK!  It failed before it began.

I saw your post on Gravity yesterday and why they wouldn’t use that is beyond me.  The private sector had the solution and Romney failed to use it.  How ironic.

Regards,

Tom in Arizona

The blame lies far higher than the Romney staffer in the above email but this is only the latest example of how Mitt Romney’s staff failed him at the least opportune time.  Considering there were 37,000 volunteers for Project ORCA, if each person gotten people to the polls across Colorado, Ohio, Virginia and Florida we would be talking about President Romney today.

Post 2012 Changes

You can’t lose the way Republicans did in the Senate and give away possibly the most winnable Presidential election in 40 years without changing a few things.  Ben Howe at RedState has some great suggestions:

The overriding problem that we as a party have is that we have two distinct camps. The Tea Party wing and the Establishment wing. Whether or not the names are fair, they basically summarize what people have come to know as the competing interests in the party. Unfortunately, both miss the most crucial part of winning elections: messaging.

Our rhetoric must change. It must stop only preaching to the choir. What our messaging must do is inform and educate. Not only the portion of the electorate that we currently aren’t winning, but our own base as well. Too often I’ve heard the angry tones deriding the welfare recipient for being a taker instead of a producer. And while I agree with the sentiment that entitlements are bankrupting our country, the problem isn’t solved by simply adjusting the numbers. We can’t fix things by addressing the fiscal problems associated with entitlements until we’ve changed the minds of the people that are entitled.

But instead of working together on this messaging, we’re at each other’s throats pointing fingers and declaring that one side is the problem. The principled vs the strategic. The conservative vs the moderate. The Tea Party vs the Establishment. Both sides are wrong and both sides are right. We must be strategic and we must be principled. But we must also be intelligent. We must also be compassionate. We must also be empathetic and we must also be clever.

Without those additional qualities we are doomed to continue failing to win while retaining our principles, or sacrificing our principles to achieve our victories.

I spent the last four years fighting. That much will remain the same but added to that list, and I hope for the Republican Party as well, will be working to craft our message so that it appeals to the people that don’t vote for us yet. Honesty and principles must prevail. If not then what’s the point of fighting? The cost of winning can’t be so high that we lose ourselves. But our ability to explain how & why others should agree with us must improve.

The Epic Failure That Was Team Romney’s Get Out the Vote Fiasco

If you care at all about the how and why the Romney campaign failed so miserably to turnout the vote, you have to read this entire entry by John Ekdahl at Ace of Spades:

What is Project Orca? Well, this is what they told us:

Project ORCA is a massive undertaking – the Republican Party’s newest, unprecedented and most technologically advanced plan to win the 2012 presidential election.

Pretty much everything in that sentence is false. The “massive undertaking” is true, however. It would take a lot of planning, training and coordination to be done successfully (oh, we’ll get to that in a second). This wasn’t really the GOP’s effort, it was Team Romney’s. And perhaps “unprecedented” would fit if we’re discussing failure. The entire purpose of this project was to digitize the decades-old practice of strike lists. The old way was to sit with your paper and mark off people that have voted and every hour or so, someone from the campaign would come get your list and take it back to local headquarters. Then, they’d begin contacting people that hadn’t voted yet and encourage them to head to the polls. It’s worked for years.

After giving you a blow by blow recount of this colossal failure that you must read, he concludes:

[T]he end result was that 30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc. We lost by fairly small margins in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado. If this had worked could it have closed the gap? I sure hope not for my sanity’s sake. The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.

Good Thing They Didn’t Air the Romney Bio Piece in Prime Time

Or air those personal testimonials when they had the nation’s attention at the national convention in Florida.

Idiot Eric Fehrnstrom has already been quoted as saying the Bain attacks were ineffective “like arrows bouncing off us” in the primaries.  No reason to give a full-throated defense or detailed endorsement of business success that will actually get people working again.   Thankfully Fehrnstrom can etech-a-sketch himself into oblivion now.

Team Romney said they were going to buy media time and run the bio in Battleground States.  Did anyone see it?  I have no reports of it airing.

Here is what I wrote in a private communication on September 28 to someone involved in the Romney campaign in Ohio:

Romney’s short-coming is he has yet to make the compelling case why the country should hire him (so far he’s really just been the not-Obama candidate).  In Romney’s corporate speak this is the longest job interview of his life and all he is doing is telling everyone he can [do] the job better (a losing interview strategy) when he needs to demonstrate he can do the job better (a winning interview strategy).

When the media cries for specifics, don’t dodge the question as he is doing or answer with policy specifics that will be used against him.  Launch into what it was like to create the companies he names in his speeches but doesn’t talk in detail about.  Talk about how many people have been employed over the life of the companies (not just the amount of employees today). Talk about late nights and tightening belts to make payroll and keep the lights on.  Talk about the sacrifices made to get to the next milestone to hopefully turn a fledgling company into a great success.  Demonstrate how these companies are doing great things in states A, B & C but he wants to bring that innovation and opportunity to Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin (depending on the location of the speech).  Beg the Obama campaign to bring up the steel mill where that guy’s wife died of cancer.  Talk about how the company was dying when Bain showed up.  Tell how many steel companies went under while Bain tried to retool and save the company.  Talk about how many more the years the company stayed open with thousands collecting paychecks because Bain kept the doors open as long as they could and this was 6-8 years longer than they would open have had Bain never been there. That’s thousands of people keeping paychecks and having an opportunity thanks to Bain not the other way around.  Demonstrate his great success and how it touched countless lives at every stage of his career. Demonstrate how he can do that for America instead of just talking about it.  We tried that last time.

Ads or Votes? You Decide

This is a lesson for candidates and organizations who want to win rather than consultants who want to bilk clients for millions in fees:

Judging by the current vote totals, Romney’s nationwide operation fell far short of McCain’s in 2008.  In fact, Romney currently trails McCain by around 2 million votes.  2 million!  That number is mind-boggling.  How did the Republican candidate facing the worst president in modern history manage to get 2 million fewer votes than in 2008? Granted, that number may narrow a bit as more votes are counted, but it’s astonishing that Romney’s votes are even in the neighborhood of McCain’s.

GOTV Fail

[T]he Republican party establishment’s micro-targeting of voters, from surveying voters to a get-out-the-vote, or GOTV, operation — if you can even call it an operation — was a joke.  Take Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, for example.  Had Romney won those states, he would be celebrating victory today.  The media would have you believe that he was trounced there.  That’s not the case. Romney lost all four states — and the presidency — by less than 400,000 votes.  He lost Colorado by 111,000, Florida by 47,000, Ohio by 100,000, and Virginia by 108,000.  That’s it. Romney was locked out of the White House by about 366,000 votes.

Ads versus votes

Now imagine an alternate universe in which the Republican party’s consultants, power brokers, and money men invested in legitimate micro-targeting and GOTV efforts with technology that works (like Gravity. . . not Orca). Instead, millions were spent on endless ads that not only failed to move the needle in the age of TiVo and DVR but will keep the lights on for many TV stations that are less than friendly to the conservative movement.

Priorities

According to news reports, American Crossroads — by far the best-funded force outside the RNC and the congressional committees — and its affiliates raked in $300 million during the 2012 election cycle.  Imagine if a fraction of that money had been spent on voter identification and GOTV efforts in the states mentioned above. It’s not like it was a secret as to where this election was going to be won or lost. It was a universe of no more than 9 states. Think about just $2M per state invested into GOTV. That’s $18M well spent. Instead, that money now pads the bank accounts of various individuals who, if not already millionaires before this cycle started, certainly are now.

It’s the difference between President Obama and President Romney

Team Romney GOTV Excuse Making Doesn’t Pass the Laugh Test

Per usual, Mike Murphy remains the very last person the GOP should ever listen to:

Must Read: Sean Trende Estimates ~7 Million Few Whites Voted in 2012

The numbers are all still fuzzy and incomplete right now which is why I’m holding off analysis and two smart people (Jay Cost and Sean Trende) can be looking at 2 very different numbers. Trende over at Real Clear Politics takes a stab at the remaining votes to be counted and looks at the Demographic changes (or lack thereof) in what drove the 2012 election results.  Read the whole thing at Real Clear Politics:

For Republicans, that despair now comes from an electorate that seems to have undergone a sea change. In the 2008 final exit polls (unavailable online), the electorate was 75 percent white, 12.2 percent African-American, 8.4 percent Latino, with 4.5 percent distributed to other ethnicities. We’ll have to wait for this year’s absolute final exit polls to come in to know the exact estimate of the composition this time, but right now it appears to be pegged at about 72 percent white, 13 percent black, 10 percent Latino and 5 percent “other.”

But that is just percentages.  The actual turnout tells a much different story:

[T]he 2012 elections actually weren’t about a demographic explosion with non-white voters. Instead, they were about a large group of white voters not showing up. As of this writing, Barack Obama has received a bit more than 60 million votes. Mitt Romney has received 57 million votes. Although the gap between Republicans and Democrats has closed considerably since 2008, Romney is still running about 2.5 million votes behind John McCain; the gap has closed simply because Obama is running about 9 million votes behind his 2008 totals. Of course, there are an unknown number of ballots outstanding. If we guesstimate the total at 7 million (3 million in California, 1.5 million or so in Oregon and Washington, and another 2.5 million or so spread throughout the country), that would bring the total number of votes cast in 2012 to about 125 million: 5 million votes shy of the number cast four years ago.

2012 actual vote estimates based on exit polls

With this base line, and armed with the exit-poll data, we can get a pretty good estimate of how many whites, blacks, and Latinos cast ballots in both 2008 and 2012. Assuming the 72/13/10/5 percentage split described above for 2012, that would equate to about 91.6 million votes cast by white, 16.6 million by blacks, 12.7 million by Latinos, with the balance of 6.3 million votes spread among other groups. Compare this with 2008, when the numbers were 98.6 million whites, 16.3 million blacks, 11 million Latinos, and 5.9 million from other groups.

Changes in non-white turnout:

In other words, if our underlying assumption — that there are 7 million votes outstanding — is correct, then the African-American vote only increased by about 300,000 votes, or 0.2 percent, from 2008 to 2012. The Latino vote increased by a healthier 1.7 million votes, while the “other” category increased by about 470,000 votes.

Change in white turnout:

This is nothing to sneeze at, but in terms of the effect on the electorate, it is dwarfed by the decline in the number of whites. Again, if our assumption about the total number of votes cast is correct, almost 7 million fewer whites voted in 2012 than in 2008. This isn’t readily explainable by demographic shifts either; although whites are declining as a share of the voting-age population, their raw numbers are not. Moreover, we should have expected these populations to increase on their own, as a result of overall population growth. If we build in an estimate for the growth of the various voting-age populations over the past four years and assume 55 percent voter turnout, we find ourselves with about 8 million fewer white voters than we would expect given turnout in the 2008 elections and population growth.

Demographics were not destiny in 2012

Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth. Put another way: The increased share of the minority vote as a percent of the total vote is not the result of a large increase in minorities in the numerator, it is a function of many fewer whites in the denominator.

Where did they go? It doesn’t appear to be the evangelicals

My first instinct was that they might be conservative evangelicals turned off by Romney’s Mormonism or moderate past. But the decline didn’t seem to be concentrated in Southern states with high evangelical populations.

Obama negative ads worked?

Where things drop off are in the rural portions of Ohio, especially in the southeast. These represent areas still hard-hit by the recession. Unemployment is high there, and the area has seen almost no growth in recent years. My sense is these voters were unhappy with Obama. But his negative ad campaign relentlessly emphasizing Romney’s wealth and tenure at Bain Capital may have turned them off to the Republican nominee as well. The Romney campaign exacerbated this through the challenger’s failure to articulate a clear, positive agenda to address these voters’ fears, and self-inflicted wounds like the “47 percent” gaffe. Given a choice between two unpalatable options, these voters simply stayed home.

Implications for 2016

But in terms of interpreting elections, and analyzing the future, the substantial drop-off in the white vote is a significant data point. Had Latino and African-American voters turned out in massive numbers, we might really be talking about a realignment of sorts, although we would have to see if the Democrats could sustain it with someone other than Obama atop the ticket (they could not do so in 2010). As it stands, the bigger puzzle for figuring out the path of American politics is who these non-voters are, why they stayed home, and whether they might be reactivated in 2016 (by either party).

 

~10,000,000 Fewer Whites Voted in 2012 Than 2008 (Jay Cost)

Jay Cost counts up the racial breakdown and finds 10 million missing White Voters.  The question remains why did they not vote?

One of my intuitions was that the Democratic non-white vote would not rise very much this year because of the big jump in 2008, in particular in non-competitive states like Illinois, Mississippi, and California. Looking at the hard numbers, that turned out basically to be correct (although the Latino vote looks to have increased modestly).

What I did not anticipate was a steep drop in the white vote. My back of the envelope calculation suggests that the white vote was off by almost 10 million votes relative 2008. [This is the primary reason why Mitt Romney will end up winning fewer votes than John McCain, but have a larger share of the total electorate.]

So, the polls that showed a big Obama edge, often due to a loose likely voter screen, were right for an ironic reason. Turnout was down, suggesting a tighter screen would have been better, but because turnout was down so substantially among whites, the actual electorate looked a lot like more like the broader population than it has in years past (even in 2008). Thus, a loose screen produced the better reflection of the voting public.

A tip of the cap to those who figured it would go the other way. Job well done!

You Can’t Win If You Can’t Get Your People to Vote

That had been the Democrats problem for decades.  It changed in 2008 and repeated itself in 2012.

The limits to running such an insular campaign out of Boston, Massachusetts reared its head at the worst possible moment for Mitt Romney.  The more numbers that come out the more it shows the GOTV effort was an epic failure that likely cost him the election. It sure seems like they etch-a-sketched enough conservatives out of the fold to prevent Romney from overcoming Obama’s greatly reduced vote from 2008.

Like I wrote on election night when I was still optimistic:

I’m watching the turnout % in Dem precincts.  We know Republicans will show up, the question is how many Dems are still left out there and will they show up.  Anecdotal things look really good right now but I know how the #s ebb and flow and then suddenly in a deep urban precinct 120% of votes come in and everything you were modeling goes out the window.  The only states I’m watching are Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — the acknowledge Obama firewall.

The fatal flaw is obvious now.  I’m incredulous.

This captures my attitude today every time I look at the data:

Colorado Post-Mortem by David Ramos

The below write-up is by one of our readers David Ramos:

An election wrap from Colorado …

The breakdown of voting patterns will roll out over the next few weeks. The keys for a Romney victory, that were outlined previously, quickly fell by the wayside.

Minding the gap – Based on early voting ballot returns, the Republicans did a good job on minding the gap in the swing counties and keeping the gap as close as possible in the Democratic stronghold counties of Denver, Boulder, Adams, and Pueblo. Of course, nobody knew how any ballot was marked until counting began after the polls closed. As the counting proceeded, the swing counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Larimer were swinging in Obama’s direction – which he eventually carried. In the Democratic stronghold counties, the margins in Denver, Boulder, and Adams established by the Democrats held. In Pueblo County, Romney did a good job cutting the 65-35 Obama lead by 10 points. One of the little electoral secrets here in Colorado is that reliably Democrat Pueblo County has been trending Republican since 2006.

Running up margins in Republican strongholds – In the stronghold counties of El Paso, Douglas, Mesa, and Weld, the margins the Republicans established in the early voting period were reduced. The 68-32 margin was reduced significantly in El Paso County to a 60-38 split. In Douglas County, the 71-29 margin  was reduced to a 63-36 margin. In Mesa County, the 69-31 margin was reduced to 65-32. And, in Weld County, the 62-38 margin was reduced to a 55-42 margin.  In each case, it may be fair to conclude Obama took away enough unaffiliated (independent) voters in those counties to reduce the Republican strength.

Win a majority of unaffiliated voters – The assumption regarding the voting pattern of unaffiliated voters voting similar to where they live is quite logical. Estimates suggested this group would break narrowly for Romney. With that said, Obama is one of those candidates in which conventional wisdom seems not to apply. PPP suggested that Obama had a six-point lead among unaffiliated voters going into Election Day. It appears PPP made a correct call, wiping out the R+1.8 to +2.6 advantage, and giving Obama his four-point win.

— David Ramos

The Difference

Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt said it best:

Those Pollsters Were Right; We’re a Much More Democratic County, at Least in Presidential Years

The exit polls indicate a 39 percent Democrat to 33 percent Republican split, only a percentage point behind 2008. I was incorrect in my skepticism that the electorate would be closer to D+3 or D+4. Nate Silver, take a bow. Public Policy Polling, your samples weren’t as wacky as I believed they were.

The Obama campaign has put together a fantastic get-out-the-vote machine. We saw in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009 and Massachusetts in early 2010 and all over the country in the midterms that Obama’s personal charm did not transfer to other candidates like Jon Corzine and Creigh Deeds and Martha Coakley.

Republicans need to confront the fact that because of demographics and a party infrastructure that has gotten very, very good at bringing out the vote in presidential years, Democrats are going to be very, very tough every four years. One of the strange aspects of this year is that I would have argued that Obama wasn’t all that charming. His favorable numbers dipped. He was dismissive in that first debate, snarky and combative in the second, constantly saying things that his campaign had to explain — “you didn’t build that,” “the private sector is doing fine,” “Romnesia,” “voting is the best revenge” . . . and he still won.

Ari Fleischer points out the silver lining is that so far, Romney is winning independents. That’s not a silver lining, that’s worse news: Democrats don’t really need independents anymore.

The Sun Came Up

Well it’s Wednesday, I still have no Internet and Obama is still President. So nothing’s changed.

It will be interesting over the coming days when the final data comes out to see where/how Obama did well and where/how Romney fell short.  The states I will be sifting through are Florida, Virginia and Colorado.  Each of those seemed to be trending away from Obama with enough room that the race ends in Ohio. Right now it looks like had Romney gotten as many Ohio votes as McCain he would have won.  Just incredible when you think about it.  It will take days (weeks?) to get reasonably accurate data so I’m going to refrain from too much campaign criticism at this juncture until I have time to dig into the numbers but between the apparent Romney prevent defense in a race they weren’t winning and Chris Christie’s over-the-top embrace of Obama down the stretch changing the narrative for Obama Republicans have to look at this race as one they let slip away.

Like I wrote last night, you have to give full marks to the Obama ground game.  They got enough of their people to vote to eek out wins in those above states by ~100k in each state — not that close in a race with billions available for the GOP to have done a better job finding and motivating their base. We know they are out there but either they didn’t show up or they didn’t pull the lever for Romney and that is a big problem. The only state Gary Johnson would have made a difference was Florida so it’s not a third party issue.  A lot of soul searching is in order.

The debacle for Republicans extends far beyond the Presidency.  In each one of the Battlegrounds Mitt Romney received little to no help from down ballot candidates.  For every honorable Senate candidate who went down in defeat (Josh Mandel or Tom Smith) Republicans fielded a party-insider retread the likes of whom the base has been rejecting every chance they can since 2010.  Is should be no surprise Tommy Thompson, George Allen or Connie Mack lost. Each of these politicians represent the failed Republican politics that galvanized the Tea Party in the first place.  The movement may have come together around Obama’s big government but it was frustration with Republican spending that drove them to that point.  Offering the public a replay of these failed politicians leaves the party exactly where they find themselves, out of power and in the minority.  By the way, has any party leader been worse than National Republican Senatorial Committee head John Cornyn?  He has failed more miserably between 2010 and 2012 than any party leader imaginable. Close scrutiny of his record reveals every Senate success is someone he didn’t recruit and his embarrassing failures only grow in number.

Which brings us to Todd Akin and Richard Murdouck. This blog doesn’t deal with social issues but talk about a wing of the party that needs soul searching…Each of these morons cut their noses off to spite their face. If you believe in the cause look what you did.  Each of you went a long way towards enabling Barack Obama to appoint more extrajudicial Supreme Court Justices like Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor who will make up law to further their left-wing ideology. Congrats. Todd Akin’s comments were disqualifying and only those who buried their head in the sand couldn’t see that.  The Mike Huckbees and similar who rallied to Akin’s defense share equal blame in that abortion of a campaign.

I’ve seen comments from people I respect like Glenn Reynolds saying,”If Obama wins, I’ll be as gracious and generous as the Democrats were in 2000 and 2004.”  I disagree. I know Glenn was only emoting in the moment, but never play down to their level. Republicans lost because they failed to harness the energy from 2010 and coalesce that into a national message for 2012.  Mitt Romney was the best of a very bad lot of Republican choices. He is an honorable and decent man but deeply flawed as a representative of the Tea Party energy and the desperate need for smaller government and entitlement reform. Republicans still control ~60% of the governorships and the reforms being enacted at those levels lay the blueprint for the coming reforms at the Federal level. That’s not a prediction.  We as a country either choose reform or reform chooses us in the form of austerity cuts. A reform Governor will be needed to fix this country in 2016 so that is what we have to look forward to.

We lost the battle yesterday but the war goes on.

I am Breitbart.

Congratulations to President Obama

I know Karl Rove is saying it’s not over, but if it is, I toasted you four years ago and I hope no matter what happens the next four years are better than the last.

If the turnout was unprecedented and in your favor I concede defeat honorably.

Super Quick Thoughts Before It’s Over

The bottom line is the Obama ground game was outstanding win or lose.  Full marks to them.  Even though at this juncture the inside straight of Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado are available for Romney the reality is Team Obama out-flanked Team Romney in the fringe Battlegrounds.  Everywhere I expected there to be insufficient Democrats to match the polls, Team Obama appears to have found votes to outperform Romney’s supposed advantage with Independents. We’ll see what the internals say over the coming days but no matter the national outcome, Democrats win in the Senate and Republicans win in the House means both sides need to better evaluate how best to move the country forward regardless of who wins the top of the ticket prize.

Guess the Blogger

My $0.02.  Everything is fine so far.  Stay off the ledge.  We’ll know a lot more in 30 minutes (9:00pm ET). I’m watching the turnout % in Dem precincts.  We know Republicans will show up, the question is how many Dems are still left out there and will they show up.  Anecdotal things look really good right now but I know how the #s ebb and flow and then suddenly in a deep urban precinct 120% of votes come in and everything you were modeling goes out the window.  The only states I’m watching are Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin — the acknowledge Obama firewall.  Biden chasing the RR planes is funny.  I love their bravado. Such phonies. I keep thinking Romney is stronger in Ohio than most realize and Obama’s early vote margin was surprisingly weak.  If the cannibalizing was true then it’s over in that state.  Iowa is going to be close no matter who wins.  And Wisconsin is round 3 of the Walker recall.  We’ll see how that plays out.  I loved that in Obama’s phone bank stop he was calling WI #s.

Below is the photo of the first drink.  We randomly picked up drinks to not give away identities, I’ll only promise I’m one of them: