New Norm or Obamanomaly?

November 9th, 2012 by Lee Eldridge

Yes, I am still licking my wounds after predicting a Romney win 52-47. An election I thought would be like 1980 with the challenger Reagan beating Carter, ended up more like 2004 with the vulnerable incumbent Bush beating the unlikable Kerry (old rich white guy from Massachusetts).

I’ve spent a little time reading opinions about the election, but not much. Everyone likes to assign blame. Pundits like to make bold points about the winners and losers. Me? I’m just left with a bunch of questions.

In 2008, Obama won with a strong showing from democrats where they outvoted republicans by seven points (D+7). Those of us skeptical about the polls thought the electorate would reflect something closer to its historical numbers. According to exit polls, here’s how party ID has broken down in recent elections (not including independents):

2010: Even
2008: D+7
2006: D+2
2004: Even
2002: R+1
2000: D+4
1998: D+2
1996: D+4
1994: D+1

Even in years where the republicans have done very well, such as 1994 and 2010, party ID is fairly even. I believed that at best the democrats could expect a D+3, which would have won it for Romney. But instead, President Obama wins with an impressive D+6, even though he lost independents by 5 (45/50).

So my question is this: Is this the new normal? Or just an Obamanomaly?

Yesterday, Austan Goolsbee tweeted: “if demogr is the new destiny, are we in for wild 08/10 swings every midterm b/c turnout drops frm 70 to 40 and demo composition shifts?”

I had already decided to write this post before reading Goolsbee’s tweet, but this is the right question to ask. Are we going to continue to see strong showings from democrats in presidential election years on the scale of D+6, and even support for both parties in the mid-term years? If so, don’t be surprised if republicans take the Senate in 2014.

Losing exposes vulnerabilities. And winning masks weaknesses. I’m not sure either party should leap to conclusions about what will happen in future elections.

The Exit Polls

You know I’m a stats geek. Just a few quick thoughts about the exit polls.

Latinos: Obama won with Latinos 71/27. This is a number that the republicans need to take seriously. They can’t lose the Latino vote by such large margins and expect to win national campaigns. The important questions become why did they lose the Latino vote by so much, and what should they do about it? I’m not sure it’s an easy answer.

The War on Women: Much has been made about the war on women. Obama won women by 11 points (55/44). Romney won men by 7 points (52/45). A gender gap exists, but probably not in the way that many of the pundits will explain it to you. Romney won married women (53/46 = almost identical to the “man” vote), but lost single women (31/67). Married women voted on the economy. Single women did not. The big gap wasn’t between men and women, but between married and unmarried women.

The Young Vote: Obama won 18-29 year old voters 60/37 which accounted for a margin of 5.1 million votes. Romney won the 30+ age group by 1.8 million votes. Obama won the election by about 2.5 million votes. Which means that kids in their 20s with little life experience picked the president. (No offense to kids in their 20s. I was there once upon a time, and thought I knew everything, too.)

The White Vote: You probably already know that whites overwhelmingly voted for Romney (59/39). What this stat doesn’t tell you is that millions of whites who voted in 2008 chose not to vote in this election. Whites who voted for Obama stayed home. Whites who voted for McCain stayed home. The republicans thought they had enthusiasm on their side. They did not.

Read more about exit polls here on CNN.

Tags: ,

8 Responses to “New Norm or Obamanomaly?”

  1. John 3133 Says:

    Here’s my conclusions, I hope I’m not censored on this.

    1. White males are the dumbest demographic. I think this correlates with the stat that they have gotten their butts kicked the worst in this recession and more and more white males need their wives to make the mortgage payment because bosses find them stupid and lazy and dont want to hire them. They are also the most likely to be laid off and replaced by a machine or someone in china.

    2. The GOP lost because Obama did a great job educating voters on what the truths are in this election, and in general with regards to the leaders someone votes for. Kerry did an awful job educating voters. Bush and Rove did a marvelous job lying to voters. Funny how that color coded terror system went away after the 2004 election.

    3. A key difference maker in Ohio and probably the entire election outcome was the backlash to the widespread top level voter suppression campaign waged by GOP governors on down. Just look at how desperate the Ohio SOS tried to kill early voting even after judges denied him and his party. If you dont think african americans noticed this attempt and know how much the GOP despises them and worked to marginalize them, you need to wake up. You and every other republican I have discussed this unprecedented voter suppression campaign with just blew it off and refused to acknowledge it for what it was – shameful and illegal. Im referring to the voter ID laws, not just early voting. Im also referring to the letters sent by bosses intimidating their employees. Never heard you blog about it. Never heard any republicans repudiate it. Like my grand daddy used to say, you lay with a dog, you get their fleas. Yall keep that up, yall will keep losing. Were in the social media era. Your team wont get away with it anymore.

    4. Dovetailing into point 3, unless people like you and other rank and file republicans will demand and vote for candidates that dont hate on women, dont hate on the environment, dont hate on workers, dont hate on black and black presidents, dont hate on latinos and immigrants, and dont hate on anything thats not a white male, you will continue to lose presidential elections and more. This change has to come from the voters, as you pick the leaders and nominees. John Huntsmen probably would have won this election handily.

    5. I’m sure the GOP will still win plenty of elections nationally because people get fatigued with the same old same old and people take their eye off the ball. And the GOP is wonderful and lying and stooping to the ever levels to win and election. Its hard to win a fight when one of the people is willing to not play by the rules and do the dirtiest of tactics that the other campaign didnt think they would need to be prepared for. Sorry to say, the dems are ready for the no-ethics style of the modern GOP.

    6. In an increasingly ethnically diverse USA (or what GOP thought leader Bill O Reily referred to as ‘The White Establishment is now the Minority’), and in the social media, 24 hr news, everyone has a blog era, the GOP really is doomed if they dont fundamentally change their party platform and drop all the hate and ignorance. Different marketing with the same product aint gonna get it done.

    7. Viva Hillary 2016 baby!!

  2. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Welcome back John. Have I ever censored anything you had to say?

  3. Frank Says:

    We all have to come to our own conclusions about who is lying. I am SO glad that you spew hate on other people’s blogs. You know, because you are the tolerant, inclusive party. What would Lee or any of his readers do without YOU posting personal digs and vitriol? Which you claim to do in the name of “honesty.” I’ve seen Lee give you way more respect than you deserve.

  4. John 3133 Says:

    Frank and Lee, the GOP has literally declared war on those that dont subscribe to their party platform. Im a warrior against that platform. I will gladly debate any who will become a spokesperson on behalf of the very scary GOP ideals which threaten everything that makes America what it is to those who believe in civil rights, a clean environment, and economic balance. I get person, I apologize. I feel better after the win, and once the GOP realizes it needs to get out of people’s bedrooms, stop suppressing the vote and working folk, and start backing its scientists, then well only be left to debate their insane ideas about war and taxes. Im sure ill be a more mellow guy then.


    John- Your guy won. Everything is going ot be ok. He has four more years to work on getting unemployment down, help create millions of job we need to get this economy going. Show us the way by introducing alternative sources of energy besides oil and coal you know, like solar and wind and stuff. Overhaul healthcare and fully implement the affordable care act. Cut spending to reduce the deficit to balance the budget.
    He has the majority of the nation on his side. He just won the election again. He got ACA passed. I think he can do everything I just mentioned above, don’t you?????

  6. John 31333 Says:

    He’ll do less than America needs him to do beacuse I’m sure the GOP will continue their streak of unproductivity and divisiveness. When the still speaker of the house can’t even utter the word ‘compromise’ on 60 minutes that says a lot.

  7. Thick Orange Corner Says:

    Clearly another case of capitalistic pigs so against doing what’s fair that they would rather shut their own business down than try and work with the unions and the workers. Those bastards

  8. Lee Eldridge Says:

    Hi TOC. Lovely name BTW. 🙂

    I haven’t followed this story enough to share any particular insights. Certainly sad for Twinkie lovers and the thousands losing their jobs.