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).



  1. mdc
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t know if this has been brought up in an earlier post…what happened to Orca?
    Was it hacked, did it crash?

    • MikeN
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It crashed. The backup of calling in data was overwhelmed because the software crashed.

      • spottedreptile
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        It not only crashed, it appears to have been a unmitigated disaster from start to finish. Ace has a post on it:

        Simply horrible to read.

  2. Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    This is how the lack of the diversity kills Republicans, not because minorities don’t vote for them but Republicans are completely clueless about them and thus can’t strategize effectively:
    “We didn’t think they’d turn out more of their base vote than they did in 2008, but they smoked us,” said one Romney operative. “It’s unbelievable that that they turned out more from the African-American community than in 2008. Somehow they got ‘em to vote.”

    Did they have any Black people on their staff? They could have given me a call and I would have told them Black turnout would be there. Heck just listen to Tom Joyner, Joe Madison or Steve Harvey this month all were extorting their listeners to vote because, “Obama needs you.”. That’s why Obama was doing all of these interviews with Hip Hop Urban stations in the final weeks.

    It’s becoming clear Axlerod, Messina and Cutter simply cleaned the Romney campaign’s clock.

    • William Jefferson Jr.
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink | Reply

      So true. This is why the Party needs to diversify up and down the hierarchy. Not just jump aboard a bandwagon issue or push a minority candidate to the top of the ticket. Those are band aids. We need more diverse people at all levels of the party who actually know what is going on.

    • live_free290248
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink | Reply

      They live in a bubble.

    • Angelina Joseph
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I am from India, and a die-hard republican/texan.

      In the beginning stages of the election cycle, I wasn’t sure about Romney. He didn’t seem to be tough enough. I wanted Rick Perry. Over the last few months, I saw Mitt’s compasionate side. He stole my heart. Mitt and Ann are like story book couple; White, handsome, beautiful, and real ! A week before the election, I was worried and even wished that he didn’t win so that he won’t have to take this heavy burden for his beloved country. All he will get in turn would be tons of insults, and bashing by the lefties and the right and the MSM. I know what W went through. W is a Texan and he can take it. Romney seems to be a too nice of a guy. May be God didn’t want his favorite child to go thru that. Tears.. Right now, I am happy for MItt and Ann ! Let them have a happy life with each other , their 5 boys and the grand children.

      Now , back to us. We waited painfully for four years. D-rats ran a Trashy compaign, R/R ran a Classy compaign, The trash won. Alas! Our big dream got shot down one more time on Tuesday. I could not watch the concession speech. I was in pain like the rest of the 55 mil people who voted for Romney. Then came denial, anger, sadness, mourning, and finally here we are to deal with the facts rather than the fantasy. .

      Why the white vote disappeard is beyond my comprehension. Can some one start a data-mining project specifically for the white votes in the battleground states?

      As for the minorities, by default, they identify themselves with democrats. The perception of the Republican party is that it is only for the white and the Repub politicians are only for the rich and the corporations. Though most immigrants are conservative in their belief system, because of this wrong perception, they vote democrat. It takes an informed immigrant to change his/her position to become a republican.

      Got to run. Going out for Indian lunch. Could not sleep or eat yesterday. Love you all from TX !

      • Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        What’s odd too is if you look at exits the states with relatively few minorities Romney actually does worse with the White vote than in states with more minorities. I mean he won the White vote decisively in CA, NJ and PA but loses it in Iowa and New Hamspire. PA could have turned red simply with Romney’s margin and ’08 turnout. It’s just bizarre and the only uptick was among Hispanics by 2 pts in the state. I know Hispanics have moved some into PA into the Poconos and Lancaster but here again I think it’s more of a drop off of white voters.

      • MikeN
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        Why does that surprise you? Being around minorities is more likely to make you racist. That is why it was plausible Pat Buchanan got those votes in Palm Beach County. Obama did better in the primaries in states with more whites, like Wisconsin, Iowa. I think these remain the only times a white Democratic electorate has voted for a black candidate in a primary. Obama lost whites nationally to Hillary, so I’m not sure if it should count.

  3. rcl_in_va
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    This blog is named battleground watch for a reason. There were only perhaps 10 states in play. How did the white vote turn out in these states individually? Was the GOP GOTV focused on these only and, if so, how well or poorly did that perform. Does anyone have a handle on that?

  4. Derclaw86
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    I just read Sean Trende’s RCP article. He has a colored-coded map of Ohio illustrating the differences in voter turnout by county. Bright red counties were ones of greater increased turnout, blue counties had significant decreased turnout. I then looked at my atlas and noticed that almost all of these counties has a college or university in them. I think this was due to white college-aged voters staying home and not being engaged in the process like 2008. However, Obama probably more than made up for this loss by recruiting new minority voters as they come of voting age. In general, I think voters of both sides were turned off by the negativity of both campaigns and the lack of excitement from either side. The Dems were able to make up for this by recruiting young, minority, and single voters to their rolls and getting them out. The GOP never really caught on to this.

    • rcl_in_va
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

      A reasonable theory.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I saw Athens, but if you go further Southeast you are in very blue collar areas.

  5. TPK
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    “Where things drop off [with White turnout] are in the rural portions of Ohio, especially in the southeast.” Well, I guess that’s one more area where I was wrong – I fully expected Romney’s “War on Coal” ad campaign to pay off big here. I guess I was wrong, which is rather embarrassing since I was born in this area and this is where my family is from.

    How this area could not have turned out to vote against Obama absolutely mystifies me, though perhaps Romney could have done a better job articulating just why Obama’s policies – particularly his environmental policies – will be devastating to places like southeast Ohio. Ohio has a golden opportunity to experience an industrial renaissance with all of the natgas from the Marcellus Shale, but Obama’s proposed fracking regulations will squelch that potential economic miracle in the cradle right at the same time that Obama destroys the coal industry.

    Ohio is going to end up looking like 1990s Yugoslavia because it kept Obama (and, therefore, his EPA) in office. Too bad Romney couldn’t get this idea to sink in there.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Probably because Romney is an environmental liberal. It was his administration that sued for global warming CO2 controls. He put his state in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that raised energy bills in Massachusetts. How much could he sell things?
      I would have liked them to run an ad with Jennifer Granholm’s convention speech, he saved the American Auto Industry, then explain how the MPG mandates would force you into smaller cars, more expensive cars, which means fewer cars and fewer jobs.

  6. Eric
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    I think I can bring some insight into this mystery of who didn’t vote and why….

    I know 3 different friends who voted for McCain in 2008 but did not vote in 2012. All 3 of them are very poor white voter. Their situation has deteriorated the last 4 years. I asked them why they didn’t vote (I was working on trying to get them to vote before the election). They said they weren’t voting because they believed that all politicians were the same. No one could do anything about their horrible situation. All 3 happen to be pretty moderate on economic issues but very conservative on social issues. This election hinged on the economic issues, so the passion to vote for the social issues wasn’t there for them this year.

    Just looking at the exit polls it’s apparent that there was a big increase in the % of people with degrees and decreases in the % without degrees. We haven’t suddenly become a more educated country over the past 4 years. A lot of the people who didn’t vote were poor white people who have given up hope that their situation is ever going to improve. My one friend who didn’t vote told me that Romney and Obama were both liberals so why bother voting? The economy doesn’t motivate him to vote because he sees that the economy will be a disaster no matter who wins (in his own personal life). His motivation for voting comes from defending the social issues that matter to him. He didn’t see much difference between Obama and Romney on those issues, so why bother? Not saying that reasoning is correct, but I think this is what happened.

    • allthingsgeography1
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with you assessment. I was in the politco bubble, but am starting to realize there were a lot of people pretty apathetic about this election. It’ll be interesting to see what the final voter turnout it…probably pretty poor by standards of recent elections.

    • FabianNightmare
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with most of your statements. The spinmeisters will frame this as a racial issue. It is not. It is apathy on the part of conservative leaning voters. The republican party has diluted the small government conservative creed to the point it is unrecognizable. We have government party A and government party B.

      • William Jefferson Jr.
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Well if the focus on race has finally jogged the party hierarchy into reaching out to non-whites, it will be a good thing. They need to look to Canada, where the Conservative party has had success reaching out to new immigrants. They didn’t “pander”–they took an aggressive “makers v. takers” meme to these populations and peeled off the conservative voters who were horrified about too much government spending.

  7. rcl_in_va
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink | Reply

    The vote totals in Ohio in 2012 were Dem 2,686,609 and Rep 2,586,467. In 2008 they were Dem 2,708,685 and Rep 2,501,855. The difference was about 21.9k fewer Dem votes and 84.6k more Rep votes in 2012. In 2008 the Dems won Ohio by a full 4.0%. In 2012 DEMs won by 1.9%. I don’t see how these numbers (unless I’ve messed them up) support abnormally low white turnout in Ohio, but granted this is a very superficial look.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Lots of white voters in Ohio are registered Dems.

      • MikeN
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Who tend to vote Republican. Not as much as in Kentucky or West Virginia, but they are there, especially in those counties that saw the big dropoff, which borders both of those states.

  8. Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    i think on Obama’s side it was an act of no confidence for those that voted in 2008 to not show up. Perhaps they thought I won’t vote against him, I just won’t for him.

    On Romney’s side I think all of the above makes sense…he is a rich, white guy mormon. Rich white guys don’t seem to do well on the Republican side. To the average joe blow the only rich people allowed are liberals, because you know they care about the workers and people they employ and sponge profits off of but Republicans don’t.

    Here is my main theory for why 2.5 million REPUBLICAN voters stayed home. Sorry but McCain/Palin were not great candidates but they pulled more votes but lost bigger. My theory is that Romney’s destruction was 1) the primary and the fact he ran against TOTAL AND COMPLETE nut balls like Bachman, Santorum, etc that the right wing talk radio pees LOVED. and 2) Talk Radio. With McCain I can remember they didn’t want him, hell they advocated for Romney over McCain. But they didn’t bash him to death. And the second it looked like he was going to win they went Both Barrels for McCain. I never got that with Romney. They were all in love with Bachman and Santorum who would have lost by 15 points to Obama. They always half assed caveated If he gets the nomination I will support. But I would scan around to see what they would say Levin, Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh all just bashed Romney. Their endorsements were basically “he’s not conservative enough, he’s not a real republican, he won’t support our agenda, he’s not a Reagan Conservative (most have seemed to forget Reagan was not a hardcore right winger)….oh but he’s not Obama so Yeah that” I think right wing radio and Fox were pissed that Romney didn’t bow to them and plead to come on their shows. In the end their half assed, backhanded support of Romney I think turned out to be, in Chris Matthews words, a dog whistle to the right wingers that he was not worth supporting. That he would be another Bush and just sell out the conservative movement, etc.

    That is why I agree our issue was GOTV program that was not…period end of story Keith is right we have to get past this 1980s era of tv and print ads and go more modern and go where voters are and spend the cash to invest in a REAL GOTV SYSTEM over the next four years and then just plug the candidate in. And secondly the GOP has to has to has to divorce itself from the hardcore religious right wing that is talk radio, Fox news, and the evangelicals or we will never win the demographic game.

    • Kevin Paradine
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Going against the majority social grain in this country is a kamikaze strategy, as I said yesterday. Give up the lost battles over abortion and gay marriage. They are unwinnable. They put almost a majority of the country completely out of reach for the Republican party. Just be a party of religious freedom and then full stop, no social agenda.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        And I say they are unwinnable because the loss the other day just put the Supreme Court out of reach for another generation for Republicans. Yay, Romney! For that matter, look at Mourdock and Akin. Both of those guys would have won with 60% of the vote in the 1980s, after their statements. In Missouri and Indiana, that mainstream religious conservative view from the 1980s no longer plays. Whack yourself on the head with a 2″x4″ if you have to. Get it through your head: Christian conservative values have lost. Give it up before we all go down in flames. Or do we need more lost elections to prove the point?

      • TPK
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I agree with the sentiment, but that will be easier said than done. There are still a large number of Republican voters who won’t show up and vote in November for a candidate who doesn’t toe the line on social issues – economic issues be damned. Those same voters hold a whole lot of sway in the primaries and in electing members of the House.

        It may well be that the GOP needs to divorce itself from social issues in order to regain its place as the majority party, but lets certainly not kid ourselves into thinking that will be anything other than a very painful, messy, drawn out process that will result in at least one lost election.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        I’m fully aware of that – also fully aware that on the day it starts, it’ll be half a generation before you will see results.

      • William Jefferson Jr.
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        What’s our “battle” over abortion, though, in Presidential elections? Romney said “I will not pass new abortion legislation.” He also said he would appoint judges like Scalia and Thomas, but Scalia and Thomas are not just conservatives on abortion. What is he supposed to say when asked about judges? “I will appoint judges like Thomas and Scalia but demand they are pro-choice”??

        This sounds like the inevitable circling fire squad after every election loss where different pieces of the coalition say “if only we didn’t have THAT OTHER member we would win.” I don’t think you’ve established at all that abortion and gay marriage contributed to Romney’s loss.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        I have for you are anecdotes about people in Minnesota and New Jersey. You’ll dismiss them as anecdotes, but the numbers don’t lie. What I do have are the lopsided figures about women voting for the Democrats over the GOP by 60:40 ratios in light blue states. Ask yourself why. Then, ask why women are trending Democrat even in deep red states when confronted by Republican candidates touting basically the view of the R platform?

        Romney saying “i’m not like them” is a silly argument. Do you think the average voter differentiated between Romney’s view of abortion and gay marriage and the view of the party as a whole? You assume way too much nuance. Bottom line: the social issues put the Midwest and Northeast completely out of Republican reach. If you are ok kissing off 200+ electorals, more power to you.

      • MikeN
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        Pro-life sentiment is increasing.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        No, it isn’t. You can say “polls tell me this” but I can tell you that any attempt to restrict abortion will provoke backlash that will erase whatever phantom gains you might be seeing. That issue is done anyway because of the loss of the Supreme Court.

      • JC
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        I’ve not commented before, but want to thank Keith for maintaining this site, and for the good comments from so many.

        From the data I’ve seen, evangelicals did in fact come out to support Romney (if with limited enthusiasm), so I don’t think it’s fair to lay the blame with them. I also agree with William that it’s not been established that abortion or gay marriage contributed in any way to Romney’s loss. (For one thing, it’s far from clear that the pro-life position is a losing one with women at all; some studies show they’re actually more pro-life). And anyway, for all who wanted a moderate who focused on fiscal issues, this is exactly what you had in Romney. He lost, and if it’s in any way true that voters in, e.g., SE Ohio stayed home, it may be that more emphasis on the social issues that mattered to them would have made a difference. Maybe not, but who knows?

        In any case, as a self-described social conservative and single/double (abortion/homosexual marriage) issue voter, I speak for many others who are tired of the GOP taking conservatives for granted and then pushing moderates who’ll do nothing about the issues we care about. I didn’t vote for Romney, but had I lived in a swing state where it mattered, I absolutely would have. Politics is, I think, the art of the possible to some extent. Having said that, many, many of the people I know would not have voted for him, even in a swing state. On the other hand, they would have turned out for Santorum in droves. And they think Mourdock was a hero for the things he said—a man who fears God rather than the electorate.

        So sure, you can abandon the social conservatives and remake the GOP. Many of them are already convinced they’ve been set aside. But it seems white evangelicals made up 25% of the electorate in CO, FL, and VA (and 30% in OH), so that’s a perilous road. People like me are fine with compromise on taxes, immigration, even affirmative action—but not when it comes to allowing child murder. It may be increasingly a losing proposition, but not as much as having to stand before God one day and explain why we allowed child murder and deviant “marriage”. This life is but a drop in the bucket, and compared to the eternal judgment of the Almighty, that of the electorate doesn’t mean much.

      • MikeN
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

        Some more pro-life initiatives have passed. I have done some calling in Pennsylvania, and I have seen there are lots of Democratic voters who vote for the Republican solely because of abortion. Now they never win the state, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. I think you are wrong when you say the Midwest is out of reach. What are your suggestions for a winning candidate? Perhaps Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels type.

    • William Jefferson Jr.
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Kevin Paradine: I still haven’t seen you address my point about judges. What should Republicans say about judges? Conservative judicial philosophy is actually coherent and benefits both Social Cons and Fiscal Cons. Should our candidates come out now and say that they believe in conservative judicial philosophy only for fiscal issues? Is that coherent?

      I also don’t recall Mourdock or Akin running on social issues. I recall they were asked questions about abortion and badly botched the answer. But I also recall Ryan was asked point blank a question about abortion in a debate with 50 million people watching and Romney suffered no ill effects in poling after that. This is why I am skeptical of the wholesale abandonment of social conservatism that you are advocating on this board.

      • William Jefferson Jr.
        Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        Here are some stats on Kevin Paradine’s argument about “women voting for the Democrats over the GOP by 60:40 ratios in light blue states” and that this shows that social conservatism needs to be forcibly removed from the Republican Party. Here is Obama’s share of the female vote in 2008/2012 in light blue states:

        IA: 55/59 (+4)
        PA: 59/56 (-3)
        WI: 60/57 (-3)
        OH: 53/55 (+2)
        CO: 56/51 (-5)
        NV: 59/57 (-2)
        VA: 53/54 (+1)
        NH: 61/58 (-3)
        FL: 52/53 (+1)
        MI: 60/57 (-3)

        Since abortion was so much more high-profile in 2012 than in 2008, I would have expected Obama to gain share of the women’s vote if we are to believe social conservatism contributed to Romney’s defeat. Yet Obama lost share of the female vote in most of the states, and in some states quite a bit, 3-5 points.

  9. TPK
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well, it looks like a lot of us were wrong yet again about this election. If this information holds true and it proves that this was NOT the landscape-altering wave election it has been touted as since 10pm Tuesday night, but rather one where Obama’s turnout was weak but Romney’s was even weaker, then I’ve come full circle in the way I’ve viewed this race – back to where I was in 2011, when I think I had the clearest view I would have of this election, before I started buying in emotionally.

    Think back to the Republican primary debates – remember yourself watching Bachmann, Romney, Pawlenty, Paul, Cain, Huntsman, Santorum, and Gingrich on stage. I remember exactly what I was thinking: “THIS is the best we can do?!” I think most people reading this comment were thinking the same thing. It was then that I knew we were very much in danger of blowing a golden opportunity to unseat an unpopular President by running an even less popular challenger.

    We ran the least offensive candidate out of a pool of weak candidates, but that candidate still managed to be less likable than Obama, and you can’t blame all that on the media. Sure, we can blame some of this on the GOTV campaign, but they can only dial phones and knock on doors – they can’t drag people to the polls kicking and screaming. In the end, if you give people something to vote for, they’ll go vote. Romney really didn’t.

    Lets face it – Romney, despite the fact that he is a polished speaker, a competent administrator, and someone who “looks Presidential”, was just a weak candidate in all the ways we knew he was when we nominated him. He was just not as weak as his primary opponents.

    We’ll be reading the tea leaves on this for a while, but I think a poll of the traditionally GOP areas that saw weak turnout, like southeast Ohio, would be very interesting. Why did they stay home? I suspect a good number didn’t see how Romney would be any better for them than Obama.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You left out one name from that list: Rick Perry. He gets that turnout and the money, but loses with suburban voters. Could he have gotten the +1 state?

  10. Southern Doc
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink | Reply

    That you so much for this site that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading over this election cycle. You, and your contributors, have provided great insight and a valuable service to the nation.

    The irony is that Demographics may be destiny but not in the way most often envisioned. The guts of the returns show a pretty clear break down that the Republican base is centered on intact marriages and functioning homes (which correlates strongly with employment, self-sufficiency, and community/values engagement – i.e. church attendance/civic clubs). The further you are from this nexus the more likely you are to vote for Obama, or it appears concerning disaffected whites, to not vote. I suspect when all the data is crunched we will find that the “missing white voter” is also single/divorced/never married with no or nominal attachment to community/values engagement – i.e. church/civic.

    For GOP loyalists (like myself) winning back these disaffected/disillusioned voters means determining the cause and effect in the relationships between marriage-church-self-reliance-and voting GOP.

    The current GOP strategic leadership assumed that a cultural/values voter appeal would only further the alienation of these “disaffected” voters which is reasonable as they have largely checked out of community/values engagement in the first place and hear such appeals as personal condemnation of their “choices” (one indicator of the divide, from the GOP core strength, is the marriage rate drop to below 30% [from 70%] since 1960 among working-class whites while upper-middleclass marriage rates have stabilzed above 80%). In fairness it would have been very difficult for a Mitt Romney to have carried a full-throated values-voter argument, so his strategic options were set.

    So the strategy became an “economy stupid” appeal based on a free-markets capitalism entrepreneurial “American Dream” “you built that” messaging. But this strategy risked being heard as condemnation as well. The appeal could easily be heard (or twisted) into a statement that, “if you only lifted yourself by your bootstraps you could have been successful like me,” This message approved by Willard Mitt Romney Esq. These potential Walmart Republican voters have watched the decline of manufacturing and blame Wallstreet for it not Obama (except for those directly in Coal Country). Reminding these voters of unemployment or foodstamps (35% of which are received by whites including military families whose rate of use tripled since 2008) did not automatically drive them toward Romney. These voters once believed in capitalism and the American Dream but are now fully in need of the welfare state for survival. Resentful of the benefits of capitalism by-passing them, realistic enough to see the fraud of a socialist utopia – they check out. There may be a way to reengage these voters but Romney was not the man to do so. Fortunately, after a brief fling with Obama in 2008, it turns out that Obama was not the man to reengage them either. We did not have realignment in 2008. We remain on the cusp.

  11. Southern Doc
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Edit Post: “Thank you,” not “That you.” Embarassed.

  12. MikeN
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Difference between Jay Cost and Sean Trende is that Jay is adding a population growth number to his model.

  13. ShockandAwe
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As someone who lives in Hamilton County Ohio, let me translate the “missing Southeastern Ohio vote” for you. This is the Appalachian section of Ohio, the “Honey Boo-Boo vote” and let’s be honest these are the types of voters neither yuppie Republicans or Democrats particularly like to chase. But love her or hate her Sarah Palin appealed to this group of people!!! I think Romney was so focused on avoiding another “Sarah Palin parody” that he did everything possible to avoid her, without recognizing that she in fact had a lot of strengths. That’s why we got the “anti-Palin” Ryan as running mate.

    • edtitan77
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m coming around to this theory. Boston was just woefully out of touch with the American electorate. They were running a 50s campaign in an era where 40% of babies are born to single mothers, gay marriage is now seen as a right and being honorable is for suckers.

      When Obama was having his lovefest with Christie, Romney should have had one with Palin. Love her or hate her, she draws crowds and her people will walk through fire for her kind of like Obama’s minions.

      Big mistake keeping her out of the loop not allowing her to speak at the convention. Since when does the GOP take cues from liberals and the MSM?

  14. ShockandAwe
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The yuppie Republican married Soccer Moms and Dads are going to vote in huge numbers anyway. Maybe a few more voted this time. Pat Buhanan said this on the McLaughlin Group 4 years ago about Sarah Palin “She appeals to a group of voters that have largely been forgotten in today’s high tech society and who feel completely ignored.” Pat is dead on. Blame Priebus for this one.

    • Miss. Plonky
      Posted November 9, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      Not just that but she has been proven right on almost every issue.
      Drilll Baby Drill. Her willingness to walk the talkon abortion. QE2&3 warnings. Crony ciapitalism. Death Panels.

      How’s that HopeyChange thing working out ? LSM. There you go again Joe.

      The list is endless

  15. Mike
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, the way I see it is that everybody now is trying to monday morning quaterbacking this election and guess what guys? Nobody knows for sure anyway………For me, I believe is a combination of things. I think the Democrats had done a better job GOTV their base by firing up those people in the Unions and getting involve targetting particular demographic voters. Also, I believe we have to fight really hard to make sure we secure the way everybody votes in every state by creating a voting database with a voting ID, etc, so that way we make sure that people who are not qualifed to vote do not rig the election. (See some particular counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, and some other States that had 400,000 register Democrats, but somehow 600,000 voted). We have to get smart like the Democrats and start right now to prepared for the next presidential election by targeting and GOTV the Republican base, getting our message better, and fighting, fighting, and fighting the Federal government bias for voter ID.

    I think if we all work hard and we get our base back in tune we should be able to go back and win elections…………..there should be not way that Obama lost about 9 million votes and we still lost the election because 2 or 3 million more Republicans did not got up their lazy couch and voted. If I were the Republicans in the Congress I will put a priority for the next 2 or 3 years the voting ID act, and we will make sure to communicate to Obama that nothing will move in congress until that vital legislation is done. That’s how you do it people, we going to have to work HARDER, otherwise there will be not country left for our generation or the next one.

  16. Andrew
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 1:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    These guys failed to predict the election and now suddenly they are experts on what happened? Sounds like another “skewed polls” jump to conclusions. We don’t even have the final vote tally yet.

  17. Stan in CT
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 12:52 am | Permalink | Reply

    Everyone, left and right, is saying that demographic changes will hurt Republican presidential chances even more in future than in 2012. But that is dead wrong. In 2016, there will be no black heading the Democratic ticket. Here is what that implies:

    – in 2012, Obama received about 93% of 17 million black voters, and beat Romney by a black voter surplus of over 15 million votes.

    – in 2012, blacks will revert to a historic smaller proportion coming out to vote. Instead of 17 million black votes, only about 12 million will be cast. And Democrats will get, at best, 75% of those 12 million, while Republicans get 25%. The Democratic winning surplus among blacks will therefore be about 6 million votes.

    – a surplus of 9 million fewer Democratic black votes in 2016 (15mm – 6mm) means the absolute margin of victory for the Democratic candidate will shrink from 3% in 2012 to minus-4% in 2016. In other words, a Republican landslide victory in 2016 is very likely.

    Everything else–growing Latino population, continued female voting for Democrats, dying off of some of the over-65 crowd–pales in comparison. The only thing that will stop the Republican landslide is if they nominate a raving lunatic. Since that is a 50/50 chance, the 2016 Democratic nomination could still be worth something!

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