Skip to comments.Why I Think Obama Is Toast
Posted on 10/26/2012 2:17:36 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Barack Obama is toast. This is not something I say lightly. I generally try to remain cautious about predictions, because the prediction business is a humbling one. I have never been especially bullish on Mitt Romney, and I spent most of the summer and early fall arguing that this was basically a neck-and-neck race that would go down to the wire. But in the end, two things stand out:
One, Mitt Romney has a consistent, significant lead among independent voters, which increasingly looks like a double-digit lead. This is especially clear in national polls, but can also be seen in the key swing state polls. Its been a hard enough number for the past few weeks now, even as the last of the debates gets baked into the polls, that theres little chance that Obama can turn it around in the 11 days remaining in this race. In fact, Obama has been underwater with independents almost continuously since the middle of 2009.
Two, to overcome losing independents by more than a few points, Obama needs to have a decisive advantage in Democratic turnout, roughly on the order of or in some places exceeding the advantage he enjoyed in 2008, when Democrats nationally had a 7-point advantage (39-32). Yet nearly every indicator we have of turnout suggests that, relative to Republicans, the Democrats are behind where they were in 2008. Surveys by the two largest professional pollsters, Rasmussen and Gallup, actually suggest that Republicans will have a turnout advantage, which has happened only once (in the 2002 midterms) in the history of exit polling and probably hasnt happened in a presidential election year since the 1920s.
Those two facts alone caused me to conclude at the end of last week that Obama will lose perhaps lose a very close race, but lose just the same. That conclusion is only underscored by the fact that, historically, there is little reason to believe that the remaining undecided voters will break for an incumbent in tough economic times. He will lose the national popular vote, and the fact that he has remained competitive to the end in the two key swing states he needs to win (Ohio and Wisconsin) will not save him.
Three types of people vote: Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Traditionally, Republican candidates get in the vicinity of 90% of the votes of Republicans, and Democrats (for a variety of reasons) get a similar but perhaps slightly smaller percent of the votes of Democrats. This is more or less true over time and in national and state races. In 2010, Republicans carried Republican voters 95-4, Democrats carried Democratic voters 92-7, a 3-point Republican advantage. Absent an unusually large number of party crossovers, then, there are two paths to winning an election: win the remaining, Independent voters; or turn out more of your own.
It is usually the case that if you want to know who is winning an election, you look at who is winning independent voters. This chart, for example, shows the popular vote totals for Republican and Democratic presidential candidates from 1972-2008, juxtaposed with their share of independent voters. As you can see, while the relationship isnt a perfect one (Bush narrowly won independents while narrowly losing the popular vote in 2000, and narrowly lost independents while winning the popular vote in 2004; a lot of independents also voted for third party candidates in 1980, 1992 and 1996), independent voters tend to mirror the trend of the electorate as a whole. This is not surprising: year to year, the preferences of independent voters tend to be a good deal more volatile than the partisan composition of the R/D portion of the electorate.
The extent to which victory depends on independent voters can vary based on the margin of victory and the turnout of party regulars, of course. Exit polls in 1980 showed an electorate that was 45% Democrat and only 30% Republican; in those circumstances, Reagans 9-point popular vote victory (and downticket victories by many GOP Senate candidates) depended on winning a lot of independents (Reagan won independents by 25 in 1980, 27 in 1984) and crossovers. Nobody since George H.W. Bush in 1988 has won independents by double digits.
More recently, we can use the crosstabs in the exit polls to break this down more precisely. In 2000, for example, Bush had an 0.5 point advantage from his 2-point win among independent voters and a 1.5 point advantage from winning crossovers by 3 (he got 11% of Democratic votes, Gore got 8% of Republicans), but Gore won the popular vote because the 4-point Democratic turnout edge gave him a 1.9 point advantage. This graph shows the component parts of the popular vote margins for Gore in 2000, Bush in 2004, and Obama in 2008:
As you can see, Republicans generally help offset Democratic turnout advantages by drawing a slightly larger number of crossover votes. In Obamas case, 28% of his popular vote margin in 2008 came from winning independents, while the other 72% came from getting more Democratic votes than McCain got Republican votes. But had Obama lost independents by the same 52-44 margin, he would have won 51-48 instead of 53-46, cutting his margin of victory by more than half turning a 5.9 point margin among loyal partisans into a 2.6 point win.
Heres another way of visualizing how the share of the electorate broke down in each of those elections by Republicans voting Republican (R-R), Independents voting Republican (I-R), Democrats voting Republican (D-R), etc.:
The problem for Obama, as Josh Jordan has pointed out here (with regard to the national polls) and here (with regard to the Ohio polls) and the Romney campaign addressed in a memo on Ohio on Thursday, is that whatever the toplines say, Obama is losing independents and losing them by a significant amount. Jordans analysis of the polls at the time showed Obama down, on average, 8.3 points with independents nationally and 8.7 points with independents in Ohio. If that holds (more on which below), and unless Obama can sustain the kind of significant edge in loyal partisan votes he had in 2008, hell end up behind.
This is not a new problem, and if anything it was even worse in the mid-term elections. Independents favored House Democrats by 18 in 2006, House Republicans by 15 in 2010. Independents broke about 2-to-1 for Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell in 2009 and Scott Brown in January 2010, and independents favored Republicans in 18 Senate races (15 by double digits) and 13 governors races (11 by double digits) in November 2010. In Ohio, independents favored Rob Portman by 39 points and John Kasich by 16; in Nevada, they backed Brian Sandoval by 28 points, Sharron Angle by 4. Turnout still mattered Ken Buck and Dino Rossi won independents by 18 and 16 and still lost but there is no question that the big swing of independent voters to the GOP had a huge impact on the 2010 elections, just as the huge swing to Democrats had in 2006 and 2008.
Everything in the latest polls suggests doom for Obama with independents. This mornings Washington Post poll has him down 20 with independents, 58-38. The Rasmussen national tracker has him down 17 today. Todays IBD/TIPP poll has him down 10, 48-38. SurveyUSA/Monmouth has him trailing by 19, 52-33. The outlier, SEIU/DailyKos pollster PPP, had Romney up 2 yesterday with independents, 47-45, after the PPP tracker showed him up 10, 51-41, three days earlier. In this mornings swing state poll, Rasmussen shows Romney leading Obama by 11 with independents.
In Ohio, ARG has Obama down 20 with independents, 57-37, SurveyUSA has him down 8, 47-39; TIME has him down 15, 53-38; PPP has him down 7, 49-42; CBS/Quinnipiac has him down 7, 49-42; Gravis has him down 19, 52-33.
Obama has lost independents. He will lose them nationally by easily 5-8 points, and quite possibly well into double digits. And he will lose them in Ohio by at least 5 as well. With no sign that hes winning the crossover battle, partisan turnout is his only hope.
Weve established that Obama, having won independents four years ago, is now losing them. If the electorate looks like 2008, of course, thats not a fatal problem. But thats a seriously dubious assumption.
Step back and look at the national party ID figures taken from exit polls back to 1980 (2010 exits here and here):
The Democrats enormous, post-New Deal party ID advantage evaporated after Ronald Reagans election, but after that, GOP party ID was remarkably steady around 35-36% from 1984 to 2000; what varied from year to year, usually going up a few points in presidential election years, was the relative vote share of Democrats vs independents. All that changed during the Bush and Obama years: Republicans enjoyed a post-9/11 boom in party ID in 2002-04, followed by a crash in 2006-08 (2008 was the first electorate below 34% Republican since 1982), followed by a run-up again in 2010. The obvious conclusion is that the largest factor in the partisan composition of the electorate in 2008 was that Republicans stayed home. Meanwhile, Democrats in 2010 were under 37% of the electorate for only the second time (the other being 1994). Another way of looking at this is to chart the Republican share of the non-Democratic electorate (R/(R+I)) and the Democratic share of the non-Republican electorate:
Looked at in that context, its pretty clear that (1) both parties have been steadily losing share to independents since the partisan high-water marks of 2002 and 2004, and (2) by far the bigger factor in 2008 was low GOP turnout. And theres precious little Obamas campaign or ground operations can do to keep Republicans home; if anything, the harder he presses social wedge issues to fire up his own base, the more likely it is that hes helping motivate the GOP base. So he has to squeeze out a really large surge in Democrats to offset that.
Thats asking a lot. If you average out the past 7 election cycles, you get an average party ID split of D+3 in presidential election years (D/R/I of 38/35/27) and D+2 in off-year elections (37/35/27). To believe that the D+7 electorate of 2008 is likely to be replayed in 2012, you have to believe some sort of fundamental shift has taken place but the 2010 elections dont support that thesis at all. Nor, in Wisconsin, does the 2012 recall election. Take a look at the charts for Ohio and Wisconsin:
(Per Josh Jordan, I used the adjusted 2008 Ohio D/R/I figures, since the actual 2008 Ohio exits overstated the Democratic turnout advantage if you added them up, they didnt produce the same results as the actual vote count. Even exit polls are still polls.)
Obama supporters at this point are shaking their heads, saying that those elections were different: not national elections. Its worth examining that in more detail another day. Interestingly, among other things, African-American voters were 15% of the Ohio electorate in 2010, compared to 11% in 2008. A look at the black and Hispanic components of the electorates in the six most hotly-contested swing states suggests that the narrative of a sudden shift to a less-white, more-Obama-friendly electorate is really only an accurate description of one of the six (Nevada); even Colorado saw fewer Hispanic voters in 2008 and 2010 than in 2000 and 2004, and if youre banking on non-white voters to save you in Wisconsin, Iowa and New Hampshire, you are well and truly doomed:
Race aside, there are ways of surveying the landscape to determine what the electorate is going to look like. Rasmussen has conducted a monthly survey of party affiliation since 2004, and Gallup also polls for party ID among likely voters and just this morning released a comparison of its October 2012 figures to its final polls in 2004 and 2008. If you compare the most recent Rasmussen surveys for August and September (averaged out) to how the August-September average predicted the electorates in 2004 and 2008, and compare the October Gallup polls to the final results those years, you can see that they both told similar stories that played out pretty well in November, with Rasmussens survey being the more accurate of the two:
Extending the Rasmussen chart to the midterm elections in 2006 and 2010 you see a somewhat less accurate picture Rasmussen understated Republican turnout in both years (in 2010, his survey only captured a big GOP spike in November) but still one that communicated the basic outline of where the electorate was headed:
Needless to say, if the Rasmussen and Gallup surveys accurately depict the electorate, this will not even be close. Is that possible? Well, historically, big late breaks to the Republican side have tended to surprise the pollsters; as I noted, 2002 was the most-Republican year on record, and the pollsters in 2002 were especially caught unawares. Check the RCP Generic Congressional average for that year to see how badly off the final polls were and how very, very badly off they were until the final week. More here and here.
If you tick off the list of other signs of turnout voter registration figures, polls asking which sides partisans are more enthusiastic, early voting and absentee ballot figures you get a mess of data, data that can sometimes be misleadingly incomplete or hard to trace to nonpartisan sources but nearly everything we can verify shows the Democrats in worse shape than 2008. Its just hard to see where you come up with the evidence of the Democratic turnout wave that Obama needs. Certainly Obama has a sophisticated GOTV operation, well-honed and extensively staffed throughout the swing states. But Republicans had that in 2006, and it was all for naught. The voters themselves still get to decide if they really want to show up and pull the lever for you. And as noted above, Obama cant do a thing to keep Republicans and independents home. At this point, given all the indicators, Obamas plan for a decisive enough turnout advantage to overcome a huge loss with independents looks like the Underpants Gnomes business plan.
Its hard to make sense of why so many pollsters are showing this as a tight race under these circumstances, with independents consistently breaking heavily to Romney and all the indicators of turnout suggesting at least a much smaller Democratic advantage than 2008 and if you believe Gallups and Rasmussens surveys a Republican wave unlike any weve seen in a presidential election in our lifetimes. Bob Krumm notes that the GOP advantage in national polls is directly correlated to how tight their likely-voter screens are; Romney also, for whatever reason, tends to do better in polls with larger samples. But the reasons can await the inevitable mid-November recriminations over what the polls missed and why. The important point is, a D+7 electorate is gone, and its not coming back.
The waterfront of analyzing all the factors that go into my conclusion here is too large to cover in one post, but the signs of Obamas defeat are too clear now to ignore. Given all the available information Romneys lead among independents, the outlier nature of the 2008 turnout model, the elections held since 2008, the party ID surveys, the voter registration, early voting and absentee ballot data I have to conclude that there is no remaining path at this late date for Obama to win the national popular vote. He is toast.
Obamas partisans have argued that he doesnt need to; that he can pursue the rare path of winning key swing states without a national win. Time permitting, Ill come back later to why I dont think this flies if you take a close look at the state-by-state polling using the same assumptions about turnout and independent voters. But I dont buy that either.
Mitt Romney will be the 45th President of the United States.
Another excellent article (and I have definitely needed a lift over the last day or two!):
NO - this lousy president is going to loose in a LANDSLIDE of near historic proportions!
(What rock has this writer been hiding under?)
“You don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.” -Dylan
“I have to conclude that there is no remaining path at this late date for Obama to win the national popular vote. He is toast.”
“Mitt Romney will be the 45th President of the United States.”
Whatever. It will be a landslide because Obama is the worst thing to happen to this country in my 45 years. I knew all along who and what he was, and it appears that majority of Americans are finally waking up to the fact that the first gay, Muslim, president was a huge mistake and national embarrassment..
REALLY? Tea Party folk have it figured out... it's called a corrupt media complex. In the media world, nobody wants to have said of them that they have a racist bent, so they stand on their heads to prove they are not racist by giving Obama a pass, even on the Libya thing. We know, we know...
(What rock has this writer been hiding under?)
He's hedging his bets, a rational strategy.
The writer is right if Obama loses by a little or loses by a lot. Why go out on a limb?
For you to be right it has to be a "landslide [in capital letters] of near historic proportions, which it may not be.
He's making a rational bet. You're letting emotions influence you.
Overly cautious, but well researched and thought out.
bump for later...
In case you haven't seen this . . . .
As long as he loses, any proportion will do!
Obama won last time because a good many of us were going to stay home and barely showed up for Sarah alone.
Many others were just deflated and stayed home.
Same thing is going on with Obama. He just ain’t energizing very many because they can see he is just plain incompetent.
There are plenty of Democrats but, I think they will have “more important” things to do or they “just won’t be able to get away”.
I think he’s toast no matter what these dishonest polls say.
NO - this lousy president is going to loose in a LANDSLIDE of near historic proportions!
I sure hope you are right. We need a landslide to get this SOB out of the WH. My greatest fear is that the vote will be close and he will take the Al Gore route. With a corrupt court system, he might prevail. Talk about torture, that would be it.
While I pray for a RR victory, BHO/David Axelrod/George Soros/Bill Ayers et al are not going down without pulling out every dirty trick imaginable. Soros and Ayers have been positioning for this fight for 40+ years - they are not just going to lay down.
1. MSM is still totally bowing before BHO.
2. The zombie apocalypse will arise to vote as never before courtesy of a resurgent ACORN which has not stopped its illegal voter registration activities - only changed its name. Also expect to see a surge of illegal alien voting.
3. Eric Holders DoJ is continuing to put the kybosh on those red states which passed photo-voter ID laws and have attempted to remove dead voters from the rolls.
4. Continue to see cases of state election commissions SNAFUing ballots to overseas military in time.
5. George Soros owns the Spanish company SCYTL that provides the software service to electronically count the votes in the 26 states which have contracted with SCYTL. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2877117/posts
6. BHO and the Dems have "lawyered up" in anticipation of challenging the vote in the ~8 swing/battleground states in which they expect the vote to be very close. Of course, Romney has done the same thing.
7. Potential for fraud in early voting. Supposedly in 2008, 32% of the popular vote was cast early. Some SWAGs are projecting 40% for this go-around. Seeing reports of ballot machines malfunctioning in NC and NV in favor of BHO.
8. Now we have the UN, courtesy of the NAACP and ACLU, coming into the U.S.A. (at least not in TX!) to monitor this election for fraud via white intimidation of non-whites.
If the vote is close in the swing states, then it seems reasonable to expect to see beaucoup legal challenges. Romney appears to have finally found his "fire in the belly" much to my surprize. He will need it if this thing goes into overtime.
-—”Three types of people vote: Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. “
The writer is leaving out DEAD people and Multiple voters. (e.g. democrat vote fraud).
That said, it’ll still be way in Romney’s favor.
“CNN OH poll: Obama leads 59-38 among 1.4 million that voted early. Romney leads 51-44 among 4.4 million have yet to vote. You do the math. Adrian Gray (@adrian_gray) October 26, 2012”
The math equals a 14 vote win for RR. LOL!
Er, it’s 140,000, or larger than Bush’s 04 win without ANY Ds turning R. Did you mean a 14-point win? It wouldn’t be that. It would be about 2%.
One thing the Libya murders did was stop them from a military October surprise. Even Beckel said it would be too obvious now. Of course that means Beckel admitted that it’s something they’d do.
My bad...I only left off four zero’s in honor of Zero!
Wouldn’t it be only a 14,000 vote lead?
Wouldn’t it be only a 14,000 vote lead?
2.978 million for Romney and 2.762 for Zero=216,000
I have Romney with 2.776 vs 2.762 for O.
They might be trying to drum up more Democrats at the polls. If the die-hard Dems think it's close, they might be motivated to get to the polls. Frankly, I think a good 8-10% of Obama's vote was either the 'white guilt' vote or those of the folks who were enthralled with the idea of 'not a white guy' President. I think for many of them, the thrill is gone, and either they they'll vote for Mitt, or if they can't bring themselves to do that, will either vote for the Libertarian, or another fringe candidate, or just won't bother going to the polls, at all. Any of those works for me! ;o)
I think many of these pollsters are using the percentages from the 2008 election, but there will not be as many Democrats going to the polls this time; they are just not as motivated.
Catholics are going to vote him out.
Nobody wants to break rude news to the affirmative action emperor.
But November 6 will.
That's true. But a real landslide helps. That means the Senate likely flipped as well.
A landslide is a mandate to erase Obama's legacy and build something new from the ground up.
“Catholics are going to vote him out.”
Well, then, this latest Obama suckup to the Umma won’t help .... if Catholics find out he did it.
Happy Eid, everybody, death to infidels!