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THE CASE OF THE MISSING VOTERS (SOME THOUGHTS)
Powerline ^ | 11/24/2012 | Scott Johnson

Posted on 11/24/2012 9:28:37 AM PST by SeekAndFind

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard Jay Cost undertakes a retrospective on what happened in the election just passed. Cost detects a mystery. It’s the case of the missing voters:

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In 2008, some 131.5 million Americans went to the polls; while the votes are still being tallied, this time around there probably were between 127 and 130 million votes cast. Most of the decline came from white voters; in fact, between 6 and 9 million white voters went missing this year, relative to 2008. It is a reasonable guess that the number of white votes in 2004 roughly equaled the number in 2012, despite the fact that millions of new whites have become eligible to vote and the aging white population has entered peak voting years.

Much has been made of the increasing whiteness of the GOP coalition, with the implication being that Mitt Romney lost because he failed to attract enough support from ethnic or racial minorities. Without doubt, this was a problem for the GOP nominee and certainly made a difference in key swing states. In Colorado and Florida, Romney’s support among Hispanics was lower than that of George W. Bush and even John McCain.

But Romney’s problems were much bigger than this, as he failed to pull enough white voters into his coalition to win. In Colorado, Florida, and Ohio, Romney improved on McCain’s share of white voters, but these states saw notable declines in white turnout. Meanwhile, in Iowa and Virginia—where white turnout was roughly constant—Romney failed to match the levels that Bush pulled when he won both states.

This suggests that the identity politics explanation is insufficient to explain Romney’s electoral problem. It was not merely a failure to attract Hispanics and, to a lesser extent, African Americans into the GOP coalition (preliminary data actually suggest that Barack Obama won fewer African Americans in 2012 than he did in 2008). There seems to have been an overall hesitation among many types of voters—white or not—about entering the GOP coalition. It looks as though many backed Obama over Romney, and many more simply chose not to vote.

An examination of the exit poll makes it easy to see why. Obama’s campaign against Romney, which portrayed him as an out-of-touch plutocrat, appears largely to have been successful. Romney’s favorable rating in the exit poll was just 47 percent, with 50 percent holding an unfavorable view. By 53 to 43 percent, voters said that Obama was “more in touch with people like” them, and by a staggering 53 percent to 34 percent, they said Romney’s policies would favor the rich instead of the middle class.

In other words, Romney lost in large part because of a yawning empathy gap. Typically, this plagues Republican candidates to some degree, even victorious ones, but it was pronounced this year, and appears to have been determinative. The voters who showed up on Election Day identified more closely with Obama than Romney, and those who stayed home presumably identified with neither. Importantly, this problem transcended age, race, ethnicity, and gender. Compared with Bush in 2004, Romney simply failed to connect with people.

What of the Democratic performance? There is little for the left to celebrate here beyond the fact that their candidate won a second term in the Oval Office. After all, President Obama won fewer popular votes, a smaller share of the popular vote, and a smaller share of the Electoral College. The last president to be reelected with such a diminished coalition was Franklin Roosevelt in his third and fourth terms. No president in American history but Barack Obama has ever entered a second full term with his coalition diminished across the board.

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Cost’s analysis suggests to me the devastating effect of the Obama campaign’s personal attacks on Romney during the months after Romney sewed up the GOP nomination. The Obama campaign turned Romney into dead man walking.

The Romney campaign had no funds to respond to those attacks. Prior to the convention, Romney was prevented by law from accessing the funds he had raised for the general campaign. After the convention, Romney had plenty of money, but many voters had tuned him out. Why didn’t Romney self-fund a response to the merciless attacks he was sustaining from the Obama campaign in the battleground states prior to the GOP convention? That is a mystery for another day.

Cost offers this to unravel the case of the missing voters: “Voters did not trust Obama to handle the tough issues, but even less did they trust Romney to represent them in the Oval Office.” Looking ahead, he sees both hazard and opportunity: “It is not hard to see how the nation’s deep disgruntlement could produce a major upheaval in two or four years’ time.”

FOOTNOTE: For a good companion to Cost’s retrospective, see John Podhoretz’s Commentary essay “The way forward,” while Pat Caddell offered a variety of related thoughts in his post-election analysis at David Horowitiz’s Restoration Weekend earlier this month. And Michael Barone is wrestling with the case of the missing voters as well.

JOHN adds a couple of thoughts: First, Romney’s tactical error went beyond not using his own funds pre-convention. Money that was raised after Romney had the nomination sewed up could nevertheless have been designated for the primary phase of the campaign, but the Romney campaign believed that money spent during the summer is basically wasted, since undecided voters don’t make up their minds until October. The two campaigns followed opposite strategies here, and it seems that the Romney camp was proven wrong.

Second, I fear that Republicans are making a serious mistake if we blame the election’s outcome on Romney’s failure to connect with voters. Obviously that happened to some degree, but the real question is, why? The most alarming statistic quoted by Jay Cost is that, by a wide margin, voters believed Romney’s policies would benefit the rich and not the middle class–this despite the fact that Obama’s policies had already proven to be a disaster for the middle class. I am afraid that this demonstrates, not just a lack of support for Romney, but a lack of support for free enterprise.

Despite all of the nonsense that surrounded the campaign, I think nearly all voters understood that Romney’s policies favored smaller, less intrusive government and more reliance on free enterprise, while Obama stood for more government. A generation ago, the idea that free enterprise only benefits the rich would have been regarded as ridiculous in the light of history. Today, I fear that a great many Americans believe that free enterprise only favors the rich, or something close to that proposition. This is reflected in the survey done a few months ago that suggested young people have a more favorable view of socialism than capitalism.

When Ronald Reagan said that in the present crisis, government isn’t the solution, government is the problem, he was appealing to something that most Americans already believed. I am concerned that the bedrock belief in free enterprise that was taken for granted in our youth may now be mostly gone. It is not hard to see why that might be the case, since all of the organs of our culture, from the public schools to the television networks to the comedy industry to Hollywood to higher education to the women’s magazines have been diligently working to undermine faith in economic freedom for several decades now. I fear that what failed to connect with voters in 2012–with enough voters, anyway–was not Mitt Romney the man, but rather free enterprise, the philosophy. There is no way conservatives can undo the baleful effects of our culture on political assumptions in the course of a presidential campaign, no matter how eloquent our candidate may be. And, of course, the problem is compounded by the fact that increasing numbers of Americans live outside the free economy, either as public employees or as dependents on government benefits.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012analysis; 2012electionanalysis; election; elections; romney
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To: SeekAndFind

I wonder how many of the missing votes were ballots (mostly conservative) cast by the military but not counted in time.


41 posted on 11/24/2012 11:08:58 AM PST by tbw2
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To: unixfox

It’s amazing how people will stand in line for hours for black Friday, football games, concerts, the latest iphone, etc. but could care less aboiut voting.

Goodness this is so easy. The shoppers have something they want to purchase. The GOP did not give anybody someone to vote for or at someone that shares their values and conservative beliefs. The GOP gave people a choice between liberal and liberal lite.....heck the two share very few differences. That was the easiest answer ever on FR!


42 posted on 11/24/2012 11:16:50 AM PST by napscoordinator (GOP Candidate 2020 - "Bloomberg 2020 - We vote for whatever crap the GOP puts in front of us.")
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To: gusopol3
I think vote destruction of Romney votes exceeded multiple or fabricated votes for 0bama. The former is easier than the latter and would also account for the MYTH of 'lower white turnout'. Voting avails itself to fraud, but in this age of hackers and clever programming, electronic voting machines are worthless. Also, who counts the votes? Was it Scytl? The vote COUNTER can change everything!

I remember what Kathy did in Wisconsin and that was sheer brilliance if indeed the withholding was intentional. If intentional, it's a sad commentary on the inclinations of the opposition, eh?

43 posted on 11/24/2012 11:17:16 AM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (IMPEACH OBAMA)
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To: tbw2
Oh yes, and that plane that crashed with military ballots on board. LOL! THAT was a good one. LOL! HAHAAAA HAAAA HAAAAAAAAAA HAA HAAAHAAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAA HA HA HA.

Oh, and.. HA HAAAAA HAAAAHAAHAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAA.. Oh, sorry.. Here: Military Absentee Ballots Delivered One Day Late, Would Have Swung Election For Romney

White turnout goes OVERBOARD: "Twelve boxes of ballots were dropped overboard during delivery to the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) in the Persian Gulf, then while the ship sailed to Bahrain, postal clerks allegedly pocketed whatever ballots they wanted."

44 posted on 11/24/2012 11:27:20 AM PST by Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America (IMPEACH OBAMA)
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To: SeekAndFind

Mitt is a Mormon, not a Christian.
Mitt is a RINO, not a conservative.
Mitt is a white guy, not a negro like obammy.
Instead of choosing Rubio which would have garnered at least a few Latin votes he chose A conservative white guy that brought squat in votes.
And I really like Ryan, would have preferred him in the top spot and maybe Mitt as county dog catcher or maybe heading up dept of bidness.


45 posted on 11/24/2012 11:34:19 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO))
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To: dirtboy
For 2016, it is critical that conservatives coalesce around a single conservative option early on. Or else the conservative gaggle will just get Romneyfied again.

Have you any idea who that might be?

I don't either...

46 posted on 11/24/2012 11:43:37 AM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA; Ignorance on parade.)
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To: spawn44

“I don’t buy this articles take. Romney rose in the polls late in the race, the voters didn’t abandon him. Long lines were reported in Romney voting districts. The longest that most voters had ever seen. This contradicts the results of the election count. I don’t trust anything the socialist democrats have their commie hands in. NOTHING”. No one wants to confront the fraud


47 posted on 11/24/2012 12:28:14 PM PST by stickywillie (EE)
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To: spawn44

“I don’t buy this articles take. Romney rose in the polls late in the race, the voters didn’t abandon him. Long lines were reported in Romney voting districts. The longest that most voters had ever seen. This contradicts the results of the election count. I don’t trust anything the socialist democrats have their commie hands in. NOTHING”. No one wants to confront the fraud


48 posted on 11/24/2012 12:28:14 PM PST by stickywillie (EE)
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To: SeekAndFind

One more time. They aren’t missing. They did vote. Their votes just were not counted. Again, I have been voting in the same building in VA for 20 years. I have NEVER waited in line until this last election. There was a line out to the street ALL DAY. Yet they claim there were less voters than in 2008. Bullshit.


49 posted on 11/24/2012 12:33:22 PM PST by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: SeekAndFind
The voters who showed up on Election Day identified more closely with Obama than Romney...yeah, like those who voted for Saint FDR identified more closely with him - once upon a time voters wanted someone to look up to, someone perceived to be more competent and perceptive than the man in the street - now they want someone "like" themselves - all very bizarre.....
50 posted on 11/24/2012 12:41:51 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Brilliant

“I do think that a lot of it was just that the social conservatives either decided that they could not support a Mormon or that Romney did not share their values, and they just decided not to vote.”

My husband, who was raised Baptist says he remembers the most mild-mannered ministers of his youth absolutely castigating the Morman religion from the pulpit. I don’t know if that is still the case everywhere, but a few years ago our local Baptist minister went on a tirade from the pulpit against the Mormans.

My husband thinks some Baptists could not bring themselves to pull the lever. I don’t know if the internals showed that.


51 posted on 11/24/2012 1:04:13 PM PST by MRobert (MRobert)
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To: SeekAndFind

http://blip.tv/davidhorowitztv/bill-whittle-6444929


52 posted on 11/24/2012 1:07:22 PM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: palmer

Hard to stand in line to be told you already voted. If we don’t get on this fraud we will never win.


53 posted on 11/24/2012 1:20:38 PM PST by RightLady
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To: RightLady
Hard to stand in line to be told you already voted

Where?

54 posted on 11/24/2012 1:24:17 PM PST by palmer (Jim, please bill me 50 cents for this completely useless post)
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To: Obama_Is_Sabotaging_America

About the vote-switching machines, the only report I saw was from a computer tech in Chicago, Ill. if there’s one place they wouldn’t have to deploy the strategy, it would be there. Maybe the machine was meant for Wisconsin and got to Chicago by mistake? It would be nice to know the mechanics of doing it from one of these democratic dictatorships like Russia or Venezuela. I’m sure they share techniques.


55 posted on 11/24/2012 2:04:02 PM PST by gusopol3
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To: WilliamIII
The GOP put up a technocratic venture capitalist who parks his money in the Cayman Islands and came across as holding no sincere political philosophy or convictions.

Can't blame him for putting his money out of reach of the grubby tax thieves. Can certainly fault him for having no core political values.

56 posted on 11/24/2012 2:05:31 PM PST by LoneRangerMassachusetts (The meek shall not inherit the Earth)
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To: spawn44

I agree. Romney had all of the momentum going into the election. We have just witnessed a surreptitious coup d’etat via massive election fraud in this country. And all many conservatives want to do is jump on the media’s meme that Obama simply turned out more voters and Romney was a losing candidate. It would be jaw-dropping to me... but after what I’ve witnessed since the 2008 Democrat caucuses, nothing that happens can shock me.


57 posted on 11/24/2012 2:07:53 PM PST by SuzyQueIN
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To: SeekAndFind

well, Reagan spoke of hope for all...the left and all segments of the economy, not just the middle class like Romney spoke of. He dod not isolate democrat voters and diss them either! He tried to bring them in and did!..many of them. We had the worst candidate again. We had better close all future primaries too ALL but republicans asap.


58 posted on 11/24/2012 2:16:09 PM PST by fabian (" And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo in laughter")
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To: MRobert; Brilliant

Romney got 79% of the Evangelical vote, but I still think that his pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-social conservatism, anti-tea party campaign and wackiness hurt him overall, many voters are a little afraid to make a man president, who literally believes and teaches, that they are witnessing him in the process of becoming a God.


59 posted on 11/24/2012 2:23:20 PM PST by ansel12 (The only Senate seat GOP pick up was the Palin endorsed Deb Fischer’s successful run in Nebraska)
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To: what's up
After tallying all absentee ballots, provisional ballots, etc. Romney actually won more votes than McCain.

Roughly the same number 59m, and 59m BUT!

2008 was an election that we couldn't win.

2012, was an election that we couldn't lose.

You guys are jumping for joy that the GOP made no gains in voters between the two elections, that they were roughly equal in persuading voters.

What a losers mentality, when we were running against Jimmy Carter and a near depression this time, versus history, Bush fatigue, war fatigue, recession, and the first black president last time.

60 posted on 11/24/2012 2:33:39 PM PST by ansel12 (The only Senate seat GOP pick up was the Palin endorsed Deb Fischer’s successful run in Nebraska)
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