Skip to comments.Nearly eight million white voters who were expected to vote, didnít; Update: Or did they?
Posted on 11/08/2012 4:44:51 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Essential reading from Sean Trende about the new demographic reality at the polls. Based on his back-of-the-envelope math, there are actually two reasons why there were more minority voters as a share of the electorate this time. One, the reason everyone knows: There were more minority voters, period. Two, the reason no one guessed: If current projections hold, there were many, many fewer white voters at the polls this year than in 2008.
Had the same number of white voters cast ballots in 2012 as did in 2008, the 2012 electorate would have been about 74 percent white, 12 percent black, and 9 percent Latino (the same result occurs if you build in expectations for population growth among all these groups). In other words, the reason this electorate looked so different from the 2008 electorate is almost entirely attributable to white voters staying home. The other groups increased their vote, but by less than we would have expected simply from population growth.
Who were they? He looked at his home state of Ohio to try to guess:
Where things drop off are in the rural portions of Ohio, especially in the southeast. These represent areas still hard-hit by the recession. Unemployment is high there, and the area has seen almost no growth in recent years.
My sense is these voters were unhappy with Obama. But his negative ad campaign relentlessly emphasizing Romneys wealth and tenure at Bain Capital may have turned them off to the Republican nominee as well. The Romney campaign exacerbated this through the challengers failure to articulate a clear, positive agenda to address these voters fears, and self-inflicted wounds like the 47 percent gaffe. Given a choice between two unpalatable options, these voters simply stayed home.
Yeah, I always thought the goal of Team Os multifaceted class demagoguery of Romney wasnt so much to win white working-class votes for Obama, which may have been unwinnable, as to keep potential Romney voters home. (Ross Douthat wrote about that in August too.) If Trendes math is right, looks like it worked like gangbusters. Another bonbon from the national exit poll:
When voters were asked the same question about Obama, 10% said hed favor the rich versus 44% who said the middle class. That was one of Romneys meta-problems in trying to sell himself as the recovery candidate, of course. He was easily cast as a stereotypical rich country club Republican, and inexplicably he never did obvious things that he could have done to fight that image. He didnt run positive ads early, while Obama was busy tearing him down every day with attack ads. He refused to run biographical ads until the very end showing off what a warm, kindhearted guy he is. He never went after Obama systematically on the basic point that preserving the liberal dream of a ballooning welfare state will require taxes on the middle class, not just the one percent. And he never pushed an agenda that was aimed overtly at breaks for the middle class. His task this year was to usher in a new Republican Party, partly in the spirit of the 2010 tea party takeover and partly in the spirit of flushing out all the stuff under Bush that soured the country on the GOP. But apart from choosing Paul Ryan, who didnt get nearly as much time as I thought he would to push fiscal reform, there wasnt a lot that felt new. Essentially, voters could keep O or give the guy who sounded like the guy whom O replaced a shot. Not surprising that a lot of people shrugged and stayed home.
This didnt help Romney either:
The economic numbers are ugly but the trends were all the right way for O, and his final job approval ended up being several points higher than Bushs was when he won reelection in 2004. How can that be? Well, heres something I wrote in June of last year that Ive been thinking about since Tuesday. There was an AP poll at the time that asked voters whether it was realistic to expect significant improvement in the economy in Obamas first two years in office or whether it would take longer than that. To my surprise, the data showed that not only did the public not expect quick improvement, the number who said they didnt remained basically constant month after month after month. Even thought we were getting further and further into Os term, the public wasnt getting impatient. Here was my attempt to explain why at the time:
I think it could go two ways if he doesnt turn things around by next year. One: The public will continue to cut him lots of slack well into 2012, but as the election approaches and they realize that this will be their last chance until 2016 to change course, theyll bail and well see a rapid snowball effect among those blaming him for not fixing the economy. Or two: The public will decide that the current recession is so uniquely horrible, unlike anything since the Great Depression, that its unfair to expect any president to make major strides in just one term, which will have the ironic effect of partly neutralizing the economy as an electoral issue. Thats completely counterintuitive given its singular importance right now (fully 93 percent in this poll say the economy is extremely or very important to them, an all-time high), but paradoxically the worse things get, the easier it is for Obama to frame slow growth and chronically high unemployment as some sort of mega-quake or force majeure for which no one could reasonably be expected to have been prepared.
Boldface added. Hows that prediction looking today? Heres Joel Benenson, the Obama campaigns pollster, explaining the keys to victory in the Times this morning:
Such conventional [economic] indicators failed to capture the mind-set of the American people who always had a broader view of the nations economic situation and what had happened to their lives. A national survey of 800 voters conducted by our firm not for the Obama campaign during the final weekend before Tuesdays vote, confirmed that a clear majority of Americans viewed this election in the context of the scale of the economic crisis we faced and the deep recession that ensued.
Two key data points illustrate why Americans were always far more open to President Obamas message and accomplishments than commentators assumed. By a three to one margin (74 percent to 23 percent), voters said that what the country faced since 2008 was an extraordinary crisis more severe than weve seen in decades as opposed to a typical recession that the country has every several years. At the same time, a clear majority, 57 percent, believed that the problems we faced after the crisis were too severe for anyone to fix in a single term, while only 4 in 10 voters believed another president would have been able to do more than Mr. Obama to get the economy moving in the past four years.
Bill Clinton famously pushed that message at the convention too, that this economic hurricane was actually Katrina/Sandy and therefore no one could reasonably be expected to have cleaned up all the debris yet. The voters bought it, and Romneys only real countermove hammering O on how housing policies championed by Democrats contributed to the fiscal crisis in 2008 never really happened.
Anyway, this is all a way to try to explain why middle-class whites might have stayed home. As further validation of Trendes theory, a quick comparison between the 2012 and 2008 exit polls shows that, among the six income classes used to measure voters, turnout as a percentage of the total electorate increased in five of them. The only one that dropped, by a whopping five percent (36% four years ago to 31% now): Voters who earn between $50,000 and $99,999 per year, i.e. the middle class. Obama and McCain basically split that vote, but Romney had a six-point advantage this time among those who showed up. Not enough did.
Needless to say, though, none of this should be taken as reassurance that the GOPs majority is still out there and that they only need to concentrate on turning out working-class whites next time. If you assume that the exit polls 59/39 R/O split among whites who voted would have also held for whites who didnt, then Romney lost a net 1.3 million votes from those who stayed home based on Trendes projections. Thats an awful lot, but based on the current popular vote totals, its still not enough to erase Obamas popular vote advantage. In fact, the GOP has won the popular vote in a presidential election just once since 1988, and arguably that one Bushs victory in 2004 was sui generis, a product of unusual dynamics after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. You know how Democrats regularly outnumber Republicans in polls of adults and registered voters? Well, the lesson of this election is that Obamas organization was good enough at turning people out to make election day results look like a poll of registered voters. Thats a scary prospect for the GOP, and turning out more rural whites in Ohio wont be enough to solve it.
Update: Pollster Bill McInturff fires back hard at Trendes theory by insisting that, while turnout may be down a little this year, the missing voters can be explained very simply: They just havent been counted yet. In 2008, fully 9.5 million votes werent counted until after election day. This year, it could be as high as 9.9 million based on projection. In fact, he says, turnout in swing states was up. Its the Sandy states, not surprisingly, where the vote went down:
Two things, though. One: Trendes piece attempted to account for ballots that hadnt been counted yet. He estimated that seven million were still outstanding. Even if he lowballed the number, there are still a lot of missing voters. Two: The exit poll data about reduced turnout among middle-class voters is what it is, no matter how many ballots are still out. Im not sure why Sandy would have affected the middle class disproportionately, which means something else was keeping people in that bracket from the polls.
Is this a case of ‘cracker disenfranchisement’?
I would tend to agree with you.
For months, every time you logged onto FR, you were regaled with a bolded, red banner:
"No Romney! No way!!"
Yes, funny if not tragic. The banner did disappear, but perhaps the damage had been done. Probably get the zot for having the temerity to remember this..........
IMO, there was massive Voter Fraud plus the military didn’t get ballots.
Until voter fraud is investigated, exposed, and prosecuted, we’re doomed.
The damage was done when so-called Conservatives decided to throw away every Conservative principle to back a liberal masshole with a track record of flip flopping, and losing elections. My only regret is that I voted for the creep. If every one who claims to be Conservative voted for a 3rd party Conservative, it would have at least sent a message. This was the last time I will ever waste my vote on the GOP. I can waste it on the Constitution party instead, with the added benefit that at least I won't feel like a cheap hooker afterwards.
Sorry but if they voted for Obama after first tirm there will be no sympathy from me.
They vote , no own it. There will be no Anne Frank at my house.
What remains is the certainty that sybstantially more R than D voted. O’s victory was surgical, winning only what was necessary. A self styled student of Stalin, O knows that the vote counter is important, not the voter. His win is proof of his criminality.
Who is gonna do the investigating?
Just stop with the conspiracies.
People didn’t vote for him, I was one of them. I’m 35, not in a higher income bracket, white, female, single. the type usually considered a liberal Democrat that vote for abortion except I’m a conservative Christian albeit not evangelical. Haven’t considered myself one since my 20’s. I voted for Dole once, Bush twice, held my nose for McCain and....that was the end. I held my nose once and it made me sick. Romney was worse. He was an opportunistic flip flopping MASS liberal that was nowhere near being “severely conservative” and I refuse to support him or a party that increasingly shove one candidate after another that are more liberal then the next. Watch them put up someone else even worse next time and lose because they are in denial about the fact you can’t treat conservatives like garbage indefinitely then have then still vote for you. Good luck trying to replace those independent conservatives with a new demographic.
I hear similar sentiments from people in my family. They are very envious of “rich people”, especially rich CEO’s who make millions while everyday employees make less and less.
They do not get the concept of market value compensation based on accountability, or risk, or experience, or value to the company, or scarcity of the pool of people who can be CEO. All they see is the discrepancy in compensation. All I hear is that they are exploiters, look out for each other, conspire to screw the little guy, basically that they are evil incarnate.
I’ve asked their opinion of sports stars making millions while the guy selling hot dogs at the stadium makes minimum wage or the movie star who rakes it in while the movie usher gets next to nothing. They don’t see the point in these cases, they just think business CEO’s should get shafted. They don’t see the point that there is such a thing as market value and for some people that value is exceedingly high.
They actually believe there should be a legal limit on what people are paid. Of course, they believe these people should have huge tax rates.
Soak the rich gets votes, believe me. One family member thinks taxes should be much, much higher on rich people. I’ve retorted sarcastically that of course, the government can do much better things with Bill Gates’ or Donald Trump’s money than those men can do with it. They sort of agree with me, but then backtrack by saying the government HAS to have a certain amount of money (even though they know it will not reduce the deficit or be spent efficiently). Also, they say that people can’t be allowed to amass huge fortunes like the robber barons did at the turn of the century so we don’t have an aristocracy. I counter that many of the well to do (Trump, e.g.) have won and lost fortunes many times over.
They just want to see successful people punished, pure and simple. Because they’re not rich themselves, they want to bring down the people who are.
Envy is a powerful emotion that is extremely easy to exploit. It truly does blind people to common sense.
If there was fraud, and I believe there was, it should be able to be proven. i.e. a polling station shows X for Obama when the exit polling only had X. Or X walk in and yet precinct has X++ votes. Someone somewhere should talk or leak, how they hack into the vote tally and change it.
So far, nothing provable other than speculation from articles like these. Maybe Santa Claus really did win!!!
But I do think our job here at FR is to probe these things out!
Is there any formal investigation being conducted?
Very well. Bravo.
Probably before you were born, the Buddhist monks immolated themselves in the street in Saigon. They sent a message too. Similar, n'est-ce pas?
James Dobson had them stay home 2008!!!
That was four years ago,surely they knew there was a great deal more at stake. Obamacare wasn’t around four years ago and they should have seen what was going on.
BTW, I stopped listening to James Dobson. He is a nice guy, but all they talked about was parenting and kids...not a parent and couldn’t take it any more.
We may never know... but I think the strange case of Alvin Greene in SC senatorial race is somehow connected.
Did her ballot ever make it to the precinct? Who was this person representing? I really wonder. Axelrod had this census information for years supposedly.
With all the information coming out, I do believe there was massive fraud. I also believe Romney's team may have been infiltrated by leftists.
How many illegals voted? All the ones Obama turned loose are surely grateful enough to find a way to vote.