In that case the base did turn out, but a whole bunch of people crossed over and voted against Carter who was messing up so bad that the impact was felt by all Americans...and most of them responded accordingly. Those folks who were democrats became known as the "Reagan Democrats".
As bad as Obama's record is. As many peope, even people who voted for him initially, as have been hurt by his policies and his refusal to not only back off away from them, but to double down on them after the 2010 elections...given that hurt that is being felt across the nation, I believe we have the chance to see the same thing happen in 2012.
Three months will tell us.
Caught the Democrats flat footed.
The winning margin came from INCREASED Republican turn out though.
The next big race where the winning candidate depended primarily on increased turnout of the existing base was Obama v. Hapless ~ as we recall Hapless got fewer votes than Bush, and barely more than Lurch!
That was simply pitiful.
The GOP-e failed to notice that somebody didn't show up to vote in 2008 ~ namely a huge chunk of the Republican base. They should have examined the entrails (Augery is an art suitible to politics) and figured out who had to be ENCOURAGED to show up in Republican voting contests.
Then, next thing you know, the Kook squad in Virginia rigged it so only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney got to run!
That pretty much carved the heart out of the Super Tuesday Primary series. Virginia saw a record low number of voters in that one.
Besides having to make up for Obama's 10 million vote lead last time, the Mittbots have to figure out how to get the 10 million people they discouraged from voting at all to show up and vote for a guy they don't like, and then see if they can get over 50% +1 vote in the Electoral votes.
Despite what the pollsters are telling you about relative popularity, the most important figure is the folks who will actually vote this year ~
Outwardly, yes, but the demographics have changed dramatically in 32 years, as well as the number of people on the dole. So the number of "Romney Dems" will be limited; however, I am not predicting an Obama win. The tide does seem to be turning.