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.


  1. Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The percentage of eligible voters who voted in 2008 was the highest since 1960. It was approximately 20% higher than 1996.

    The percentage of eligible voters who voted in 2012 cannot yet be calculated because votes are still being counted, but we can say with certainty that while it will be down from the high point of 2008, it won’t be going below the normal range for recent elections.

    I would be very leery of drawing too many conclusions from the decline in Obama’s total number of votes from 2012 to 2008. His total number would have been suficient to win any election ever held; no Republican candidate has ever garnered as many votes as he did in 2012. In fact, Romney garnered the most number of votes by any Republican candidate ever, and was still 5 million votes short. Comparing to a year in which the highest percentage of eligible voters cast ballots in over 50 years might not be very informative.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Romney is below George Bush 2004.

  2. MassLiberty
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I still maintain, in my heart of hearts, that these “new” voters are people that they registered. But not necessarily did they turn out to actually vote. Yet, someone did vote for them. If we had the right systems in place to identify who voted, we would see this. Is there any wonder why the Dems were so adamant against voter ID laws?

    • Dave
      Posted December 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You know that deep in the bowels of the democractic election machinery, there is fruad involved at some level, and this would be a good example where to start looking.

  3. Posted November 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The Dems tried the same trick in ’04, but failed miserably. Granted, maybe some of their psychological predictor technology was improved over that interim period, but the bottom line is that Republicans in ’04 showed up and voted, en masse, and Republicans won at every level of the government, despite the media, the unions, etc., whereas in ’08 and again in ’12 Republicans stayed home by the millions and didn’t vote, and lo and behold Obama and the Dems prevailed. Not coincidental.

    And when you go state-by-state the non-voting Republican miasma even is more pronounced. Take Florida, for example, the most crucial battleground in the country and a state in which Obama prevailed by a tiny, tiny margin. In ’04 Republicans made up 41% of the Florida presidential vote. In ’12, however, despite four years of Obama and the prospect of four more, Republicans only made up 33% of the Florida presidential vote. That’s not really a GOTV problem. That’s obviously not a Democrat fraud problem, although it does go without saying they engaged in fraud. It’s not really a candidate problem. It’s a people problem. A people problem on our end, not theirs.

    • Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I simply don’t see any data to suggest that “Republicans stayed home by the millions and didn’t vote”. I’m looking at the national and state by state data for 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, and I’m just not seeing it.

      The “Republicans made up x% of the vote” claim was the entire point of this website and There were competing hypothesis, and one of them was proven correct and the other one was disproven. The hypothesis that was confirmed as correct was that self-identified party affiliation is not very reliable and is much more fluid than the hard-core base of each party wants to believe it is. Saying “x% of the population is Republican”, or “x% of Republicans didn’t vote”, is just not a particularly meaningful statement. If it was, the election results would have come closer to those predicted by,, and Rassmusen– adjusting for self-identified party affiliation was the entire point of their existence.

      In order to win an election, you need to get more people to vote for your candidate, not more members of a particular party to vote for your candidate. The Democratic ground game consisted of identifying people that were likely to vote for Obama, not people that called themselves Democrats or had voted Democrat in the past. I think one of the main things that hurt Romney was that he needed to appeal to Republicans to win the Primary, and needed to commit to some stands that made him unpalatable to the general populace. If he had simply been annointed the Republican candidate from the beginning, I think he could have done much better, because he could have picked issues and stances that appealed more broadly without abandoning his core principles. The Democrats didn’t make insurance coverage for birth control a campaign issue; the Republicans did, during the Primary. If he was selling himself to the general electorate, Romney woud simply never have chosen to make that an issue– he wouldn’t have needed to come out in favor of it, he just simply could have ignored it.

      • Derclaw86
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        I agree that party affiliation is not a very useful indicator due to it’s fluidity. However, I think ideology is very useful. In other words, people can often drop in and out of political parties all the time. However, one does not simply become a “conservative” one election and then become a “liberal” the next time. When I compare 2004 vs. 2012, two things are apparent. (1) Obama did about 2% better across all groups than John Kerry. (2) Conservatives were 35% of the electorate in 2012 vs. 34% in 2004. Liberals were 25% in 2012 vs. 21% in 2004. In other words, the GOP got its people to the polls. However, the Dems did an even better job of getting their people out. The lesson is that more liberals voting combined with the reduced ability to appeal to non-conservatives equals GOP election day defeat.

      • Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink


        That seems like a tricky analysis. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I don’t think it’s straightforward. I think to many people, Republican = Conservative and Liberal = Democrat; self-identifying as “conservative” is really just a different way of self-identifying as “Republican”. I’m not sure how possible it is to get an actual read on what % of the population is conservative or liberal. In fact, I think that the overwhelming majority of people don’t even understand what “conservative” and “liberal” mean in any sort of reasonable historical context, and use the words as synonyms for “Republican” and “Democrat”.

        For example, I think that by any reasonable standard, Obama is slightly right of center. I think on those issues for which he had a purely political position, Romney was around the same, maybe slightly more right. Romney also had some positions that had nothing to do with actual conservative or liberal values, which were mainly driven by religion, which is a big part of the current Republican platform but not at all part of what conservatism has represented historically.

        Americans don’t actually get much of a choice. The parties make major mountains out of small molehills and engage in a lot of loud rhetoric, but compared to the entire spectrum of viable political beliefs that educated, intelligent people can reasonably hold, they’re very, very close to one another. Dickering about a 36% or 39% tax rate just isn’t a big deal in the context of a country that has had anywhere from 0% to 85%. Debating whether to cut military spending by 10% or not doesn’t matter much in a post cold-war world where many of our allies have cut their military spending by 90%, and whether we cut it a bit or not isn’t going to be the difference between getting invaded by Canada or not. Whether gays get married doesn’t actually have much of an effect on anything; easy and prevelent divorces have already made marriage an act of convenience and preference rather than commitment– it’s just not a big deal one way or the other, and certainly nothing to build a campaign around. Whether you require people to buy health insurance under penalty of fines (just like you get fined if you drive without auto insurance) isn’t some major earth-shattering difference, when we compare our system to other western countries that have mostly or completely socialized medicine; whether you agree with it or not, whether you think it’s good policy or not, the fact of the matter is that it just doesn’t make that big of a difference either way– it’s much ado about nothing. I’m in favor of it, but if it was repealed, I wouldn’t lose any sleep– I want fully socialized medicine, and I’m not going to get a candidate to vote for during my lifetime that will run on that platform.

        So I’m really not sure what you get when you ask people if they’re “liberal” or “conservative”; I suspect in most cases you’re just asking them for their party affiliation.

      • MassLiberty
        Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        AndrewGross said ” The Democrats didn’t make insurance coverage for birth control a campaign issue; the Republicans did, during the Primary.”

        What planet do you live on?

        George Stephanopolous introduced it in a debate out of the blue and Romney rightfully proclaimed no one is proposing anything about this.

        Then, Sandra Fluke made a national issue…when Rush Limbaugh made an off-hand joke, they exploited it to the hilt.

        The Dems completely fabricated a “War on Women” narrative and were supported by the media with the propaganda.

        It was helped by Akin and Mourdock comments on abortion, but make no mistake, this was a planned, multi-pronged strategy originating from the Dem playbook.

      • Kevin Paradine
        Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        The planned strategy was obvious to anyone watching. They know that the Republican platform stance on gay marriage, abortion and birth control is a net negative for the party, as it is out of touch with a significant majority of the population’s views on the subjects in question. Sorry, Christians, very few people care about the Rapture, even if they believe in it.

        It only takes a strategist one IQ point over gibbering moron to figure out that these are the things to attack Republicans on. The foolishness on the Republican part has been the belief that if the candidate doesn’t talk about these known Republican positions, no one will care.

    • Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink | Reply


      No need to be snarky.

      First, with regard to Rush Limbaugh’s “offhand” comment:
      Note that among his absurdities, the entire reason Fluke was tesitfying was because the contraception bills in question were needed for a medical condition, not as birth control. It’s also amazing that Mr. Limbaugh seems to be under the impression that you need more birth control pills the more times you have sex– he seems completely unaware that you take the same amount of pills whether you’re having sex once per year or once per day. Facts were never Mr. Limbaugh’s strong point, but even putting that aside, his attacks were vile, premeditated, and lengthy; describing them as “offhand” is so incorrect as to seem dishonest rather than a mistake.

      Second, with regard to the Democrats using birth control insurance as a wedge issue: the Republicans did everything they could to turn this into a campaign issue. This wasn’t something the Democrats brought up and wouldn’t let go; it’s something the Republicans kept bringing up over and over and over again, even going so far as to introduce new legislation during the height of the campaign season. You had Rick Santorum winning the Missouri primary and then saying that any form of birth control is “a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” Even after this was gettting negative play for the Republicans, Marco Rubio proposed a bill that would allow even non-religious employers to refuse to cover birth control as long as they cite a religious reason; the bill would also have allowed states to refuse to provide birth control through Medicaid.

      The Republican’s continual outrage to requiring religious institutions to offer birth control coverage under their insurance plan was manufactured whole-cloth by them, not by the Democrats. Twenty-eight states already required insurance to cover birth control, and eight of those states had no exemptions whatsoever, even for churches. As recently as 2006, Romney signed a healthcare law in Massachusetts that had this *exact* requirement; it had been originally put in place by the previous (Republican) Governor. This is the same Romney who chose, during the campaign (not the debate you mention), to describe the same provision in Obamacare as “an assualt on religion”. Long before the debate in question, as far back as February, Romney was already going out of his way to make it an issue, mentioning it in multiple stump speeches. Paul Ryan put a statement decrying contraception, sterilization, and abortion on his website, and in September publicly vowed to repeal the insurance covereage for birth control mandate “on day one.”

      You can find any number of editorials, from both Democrats and Republicans, pointing out how the Republicans were intentionally making this into a campaign issue; since those are opinions, rather than facts, I won’t bother linking them. But I can’t find any editorials from mainstream press sources claiming that the Democrats manufactured this and kept it going.

  4. mr Dave
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

    wasn’t this the kind of thing Rove was supposed to be good at? I would have thought his PAC would be doing something like this. I hope the conservative pacs make a similar effort starting now. This was close election, it was winnable by Mitt. A more organized GOP and conservative movement could have done it. There a lots of untapped voting age people who would can be tapped into. we just have to do better. I don’t think we can totally abandon the cities either. You can’t give up 85% of the vote in Philadelphia. If they can change the margins in the cities, they can win.

    I don’t think fraud can win you that many states. I’m sure there was some fraud. But I don’t think it decided it.

  5. Prescient11
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The Republican establishment has failed, and failed fucking miserably. As Ronald Reagan said after the landslide loss of Goldwater, one must keep up the fight, but we need new leadership next time.

    Time to get new leadership in the RNC. FUCKING PERIOD.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’d give Reince Preibus another chance. He did win several victories in Wisconsin based on ground game.

  6. Barry
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    Wow! Getting people to vote. How UnAmerican can you get?

  7. Kevin Paradine
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    The answer to your article title is “be a party of unpopular positions on non-core issues, then let the incumbent distract the public with those unpopular positions”.

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