Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

19 September 2012

Careful Now, American Voters Have Unforeseen "Temper Tantrums," You Know?

M2RB:  Ray Charles

"I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”

- Pauline Kael, New York Times theatre critic following the 1972 presidential election

"Looking back on last Tuesday, I can see that our gut response -- our emotion-packed conclusion that the world had gone mad, that liberalism was dead and that there was no longer any place for the ideals we held or the beliefs we espoused -- was a false one. In my more rational moments, I can now argue that the next few years will be marked by American disillusionment with conservative programs and solutions, and that a new, revitalized, perhaps more leftist left will once again come to the fore. I can say in these moments that one election year does not the death of liberalism make and that 1980 might even help the liberal camp by forcing it to come to grips with the need for organization and unity. But somehow, one week after the election, these comforting thoughts do not last long. Self-pity still sneaks up, and I wonder how all this could possibly have happened and where on earth I'll be able to get a job next year...Even after the returns came in, I found it hard to conceive of the victories of these anonymous but Moral Majority-backed opponents of Senators Church, McGovern, Bayh and Culver, these avengers of 'innocent life' and the B-1 Bomber, these beneficiaries of a general turn to the right and a profound disorganization on the left."

- Elena Kagan, in reaction to Reagan's election in 1980

Toby Harden reminds us, "a cursory look back at incumbent versus challenger presidential races does not give Obama much comfort.

In April 1976, President Gerald Ford was in about the same position as Obama is now. He lost the 1976 general election to Jimmy Carter by two points. 

In April 1980, President Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan by 38 points to 32 points with John Anderson on 22. In November 1980, Reagan won by 10 points.

In April 1992, President George H.W. Bush was on 46 percent and Bill Clinton on 26 percent. 

In November 1992, Clinton won by six points. In April 2004, President George W. Bush was on 50 percent and John Kerry on 44 percent. In November 2004, Bush won by two points.

We are already past the point at which it seems plausible that 2012 will be a repeat of 1996 when the incumbent (Clinton) cruised to a comfortable eight-point victory over the challenger (Bob Dole). Rather, we are probably looking at a 1992 scenario - an incumbent defeat - or a 2004 race - the incumbent (or the challenger) eking out a narrow victory."


Anyone, and I mean anyone, who is predicting that this race is over is deluding himself.  

Who is it that politicians, political advisers, political strategists, pollsters, and political scientists all say that determines the outcomes of elections?  Independents.  

Obama won 53% of the Independent vote in 2008.  He is trailing Romney with Independents by double-digits in every poll, including the outliers like CNN, which had Obama with a lead of 6 points, but losing Indies by 11 (CNN allotted a whole 5% of the sample to Independents.  No one believes that figure.)

Secondly, Obama may be winning with single women, but he is losing with married women.  Further, he is very badly losing (high teens to 27%) white, working-class men.  It is mathematically impossible for him to win if he loses the white, working-class male vote by more than 23 points unless...

He has a higher turnout than in 2008!!!  Seriously, who believes that is going to happen?

"Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It's clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It's the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old."

- Peter Jennings, ABC News anchor,  shortly after the Republicans took control of Congress in 1994

According to Rasmussen, "more voters identify themselves as Republican than ever in the last 8 years. More importantly, by a 4 point margin, more voters identify as GOP than Democrat. This is the largest spread between the parties ever. Worse for Democrats, the number of voters who identify with their party is also approaching an historic low. In August, 37.6% of voters identified themselves as Republican. That is up from 34.9% in July. By contrast, just 33.3% of voters identify themselves as Democrats. That is very near their historic low in February, when 32.4% of voters identified as Democrat.  

The 4.3 margin in favour of the GOP is the biggest gap ever between the parties.  In November 2010, when the GOP won a landslide in the midterm elections, their advantage was just 1.3 points. 

Immediately prior to Obama's inauguration, the Democrat party held a nearly 9 point edge over Republicans. Over 41% of voters called themselves Democrats then, compared to around 32% who were Republicans. It is a stunning reversal as Obama heads into reelection."  

Plus, Democrats have seen their registration decline by 800,000 in swing states, including a precipitous drop off amongst African-Americans and Hispanics.  Again, am I saying that either are going to rush to vote for Romney?  No, but I am suggesting that there is no reason to believe that turnout will be as high as it was in 2008.  The same is true for many first time voters, who were caught up in the euphoria of "Yes, We Can!," the romance, and the "history of the moment."  They are not better off today.  Many have graduated from college to the unemployment line...only to return home to live with their parents while suffocating under staggering student loans, which cannot be discharged in bankruptcy per Federal law.  

For many, "Yes, We Can!" has become "Meh."

Who, other than the delusional, believes that the turnout model will be more like 2008 and less like 2010?  Am I suggesting that the model will resemble 2010?  No.  What I am saying is that it will more resemble 2010 than it will 2008 so why would you base your polls...and hopes...on 2008 when there is no basis in reality for that model?

Finally, a few words on "gaffes"...  An interesting couple of graphs looking at poll numbers and "gaffes" during 2008 and 2012. Basically, they show that gaffes don't really affect poll numbers. 
Yes, when Obama made his bitter clinger remark, the blogosphere of political junkies went into overdrive, but his numbers remained stable. The same is true with Reverend Wrong.


In 2012, Obama's "you didn't build that" and "the private sector's doing just fine" didn't move the numbers. Ironically, however, Romney's numbers have gone up and Obama's down since the former's alleged Libya "gaffe."  (The administration has now admitted that, unlike its week-plus-long claim, the attack on the consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and not the result of a "vile, despicable video."  Oops!)

I think all of us (left-right-middle) should remember that we are not the typical voter.

“This isn't an ‘electoral wave,’ it's a temper tantrum.  The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.” 

- Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the Washington Post in response to the 2010 elections


You Don't Know Me - Ray Charles
You give your hand to me
And then you say, "Hello."
And I can hardly speak,
My heart is beating so.
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well.
Well, you don't know me.
(no you don't know me)

No you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night;
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
Oh I'm just a friend.
That's all I've ever been.
Cause you don't know me.
(no you don't know me)

For I never knew the art of making love,
Though my heart aches with love for you.
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by.
A chance that you might love me too.
(love me too)
You give your hand to me,
And then you say, "Goodbye."
I watched you walk away,
Beside the lucky guy

Oh, you'll never ever know
The one who loved you so.
Well, you don't know me
(For I never knew the art of making love, )
(Though my heart aches with love for you. )
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by.
A chance that you might love me too.
(love me too)

Oh, you give your hand to me,
And then you say, "Goodbye."
I watched you walk away,
Beside the lucky guy
Oh, you'll never ever know
The one who loved you so.
Well, you don't know me
(you don't love me, you don't know me)

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