Category Archives: General

What Voter Suppression?

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

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

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

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

The Post-Motems Continue to Roll In

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

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

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

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

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

The Battlegrounds:

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

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

What Voter Fraud? (C. 2008)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What voter fraud?

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

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

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

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

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

Do we even need to speculate which party they support?

Sobriety, Thy Name is Barone

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

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

Core constituencies:

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

Changing constituencies:

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

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

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

Top 10 Counties That Hate America

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go Irish! Beat Tide!

This one is for all the marbles:

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

Tea Party Continues to Save Republican Party from Itself

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

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

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

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

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

The Fight Lives On

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

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

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

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

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

Hear, hear.

Women, Youth and Hispanics = President Obama

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fascinating stuff.

How to Get an Unpopular President Re-elected

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

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

Read the whole thing.

Losing Elections in 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Why So Many Failed to Predict the Reelection

Go Irish! Beat Trojans!

Go big or go home:

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

GOP Needs Better Message and Machinery

Gerald Seib interview with Karl Rove video at the link.

The Political Landscape Ain’t So Bad for the GOP

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

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

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

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

Lessons from 2012

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

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

Who didn’t show up:

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

How to fix it:

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.