Thu Nov 8, 2012, 05:53 PM
cthulu2016 (10,960 posts)
The key demographic in election 2012 wasn't buying the racism
Campaign 2012 has left we with an even lower tolerance for mythology than ever. This was the arithmetic election. Facts versus fantasy.
So I am on something of a crusade against the bogus media mythology of this election day. That mythology formed on election day from looking at exit poll percentages during the day and forming a theory of the electorate without knowing how large or small it was.
("Huge turnout" is like NORAD tracking Santa Claus every year. It is something the media says on election days as a benign tradition. One is supposed to tune it out.)
All media assets were in a handful of swing states where turnout was comparable to 2008, and they simply blew it by assuming that turnout in Virginia said anything about turnout nationally.
They "knew" Republicans were enthused, and saw that Obama was doing well, and thus conjured a fictional army of Obama voters rising up to match that supposed Republican enthusiam.
But no demographic was enthused. And that cut so hard against the conventional wisdom that it appears nobody could handle it. (Hispanics, Asians and women were relatively less unenthused, but even Hispanics, the star demographic performers of 2012, did not add much to the number of hispanic votes in 2008.)
The Republican assumption from day one was that Obama's vote would be way down from 2008, and that was correct. Obama's vote dropped 12%. Jimmy Carter's dropped about 15% in 1980 but that is slightly exaggerated because Anderson got 6.6% of the 1980 vote, with a lot of 1976 Carter voters in that total.
So Obama's drop off was very large.
So what went wrong for Romney?
His voters were not much more enthused than Obama's.
Everyone "knows" that McCain suffered from a lack of Republican enthusiasm. Like so many things everyone "knows" that is false. McCain had a hell of a showing—almost 60 million votes. McCain got more votes than John Kerry. Nobody had ever gotten what McCain got while losing.
But the myth was out there that Republicans had been un-enthused in 2008. If Romney could get a 1-2% over John McCain's level of support he would win, and that would be simple to do.
But it wasn't. Romney got less support than McCain.
Three million fewer Republicans showed up than in 2008.
7-8 million fewer white people showed up than in 2008.
Knowing, correctly, that Obama would be waaaay down, team Romney wrongly assumed, to the last "unskewed" poll that Obama being down must mean white republicans being up.
But that was not the national picture.
The voters that tuned the tide in 2012 did so by not voting. The decisive demographic was the eight million white people who voted for Obama in 2008 and did not vote in 2012.
All those American Crossroads ads were on the right track, targeting white people who voted for Obama in 2008.
But those people were not going along with a tea party circus wagon. They probably would have voted for a moderate Republican if there was such a thing, but they would not vote for Mitt Romney.
The dog did not like the dog-food... or the dog whistle.
Six, seven, eight million white people who were disappointed in Obama simply would not vote for Romney.
The Romney campaign needed people who had voted for Obama. Do that math. Obama got almost 70 million votes in 2008 so it is impossible to win an election without getting some of that Obama vote.
They needed Obama voters and what did they do? They ran the most racist presidential campaign we have ever seen.
And that is how Romney lost. IMO.
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