Odd Things About This Election

Compared to many, I’ve not been around the block that many times. The first election I voted in was the 1992 election between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and to be honest, I didn’t really start paying close attention to these farces we call elections until 2004 or so. But this election is strange to me, for a couple of reasons.

For one, Tam has an interesting observation that down ticket candidates are trying to shake off the Obama cooties as much as they humanly can. Yet polls still show this election as a statistical dead heat? I also agree that the only people talking about Obamacare are Republicans trying to hang it around the necks of any opponent they can manage.

Second, I’m not seeing any Democratic enthusiasm. Using the sign wares as a rough gauge of enthusiasm, corners which were previously dominated by Democratic signs now have GOP signs on them. I can count on one hand the number of Obama signs I see in front of houses, whereas I now lose count of Romney/Ryan signs on my way through residential neighborhoods in Chester County, and there are a few in Bucks County too. In 2008, there were far far more signs for McCain, but McCain was giving away lawn signs like candy, whereas anyone who has a Romney/Ryan sign ordered it from the campaign and paid for it. Since Pennsylvania is not being contested by Romney, everything here has been very subdued compared to previous elections. But striking is a complete absence of any notable activity by Democrats, even for down ticket races in the ring counties.

I guess what I’m saying is this doesn’t feel like a close election to me. I see more enthusiasm from Republicans and Democrats, and the President’s major domestic program is still wildly unpopular. Despite polls showing the race in Pennsylvania narrowing, I’m not sure either campaign wants to take the bait. We’re a blue state. That’s conventional wisdom now. We haven’t gone red since the 1988 election (see this funny bit about conventional political wisdom). Perhaps what I’m seeing is the effect of living in a state which both campaigns are conceding as blue. Folks in Ohio may have a vastly different perspective.

17 thoughts on “Odd Things About This Election”

  1. I think it’s two reasons:
    1) Democrats have long had trouble getting people to the polls. Even in the last election, there was a large difference between the pre-election polls, the exit polls and the actual voter results. It’s easy to stand there on a street corner and tell someone “yeah, I’m totally voting for Obama” but then, when it comes time to actually go to pull that lever, they just don’t go.

    2) A while back, Gallup had posted a poll showing that Obama didn’t have much of a lead on Romney. The administration went nuts and even had the justice department look into their polling methods. Their claim was that Gallup wasn’t giving enough weight to Democratic percentages and such. Due to pressure from the Justice Department, Gallup caved and reworked their method and, surprise surprise, Dems came out way ahead. Now, even with those reworked methods, Romney is in the lead. If you take their numbers and remove the “weights”, Romney’s lead jumps ahead. They’re essentially saying “well, all these Dems showed up in X% vs. the Rep turnout of Y% last year so all polling for this election should incorporate that percentage”. This ignores the overwhelming Rep turnout in the congressional elections, mind you.

    Long story short: I’m not going to sit here and say that the lamestream media is fudging the numbers but the lamestream media is totally fudging the numbers.

    1. Actually, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against them, or technically joined an existing and prior to that probably hopeless one filed by a former employee and supposed whistleblower.

  2. As recently as yesterday started noticing the Obama/Biden signs being posted. They are also in areas I wouldn’t suspect are D.
    So I guess the money is now being spent as polls show PA closer than they want.

    I first voted for Jimmy Carter back in the 1976. So I have watched many elections. I also learned that I am not a democrat in that term. It shares a lot of interesting similarities to today. I am hopeful that many first time voters disillusioned by President Obamas first term follow my path and go Republican to support smaller government, better Military and less reliance on government hand outs.

  3. funny… just the other day I remarked to Mrs BBB how (at least in Central Bucks) I was having trouble even FINDING Obama signs – while Romney signs are growing like dandelions. Yesterday we hunted for Obama signs while driving around and found…. 1. And I suspect it is a recycled 2004 sign. Romney signs? dozens spotted on the same day – but even more Smith signs.
    Contrast this with 2004 when (again, Central Bucks) was littered with Obama signs and McCain was a distant second.
    I observed similar distribution of signs when traveling to Schuylkill County recently.
    Based off of sign evidence alone – I think it is plausible that Pennsylvania is in play, provided the R’s make a decent showing at the polls. Of course, if Pennsy goes Red, expect hysterics from the D’s and media, “ZOMG voter ID laws stole the election for Romney!!”

  4. I’m with Jacob-I work at a very liberal university (we still have actual, no-shit communists handing out literature) and I’ve seen 1 O/B bumper sticker on the entire campus.

    1. Here in my university town in SW Virginia, I’ve seen more Obama stickers and signs than Romney ones. But what’s interesting is that I’ve also seen a pretty significant number of signs for Johnson.

      The caveat, of course, is that I don’t drive through many residential areas besides my own, so I may not have a good picture. But the presence of a major state university has made this a generally safe area for Democrats during presidential races.

  5. I was going to leave an übercomment (again) and realized it would make a better blog post (again).

    Out here in the Copper State, the Democrats made sure that Kirsten Synema had a new Congressional district carved out JUST for her in central Phoenix. She’s openly bi (NTTAWWT) and was once a card-carrying Communist who wanted to shut down Phoenix’s largest military base. Despite this, even SHE isn’t mentioning Obama in her ads.

    It’s not going to be pretty for Obama in two weeks.

  6. If you want to see support for Obama you can go to reddit.com, Daily Kos, Democrat Underground, and other sites where either very young voters hang out or committed leftists gather.

    I hypothesize that a large number of the posts on reddit.com supporting President Obama are generated by paid staffers or social network consultants for the Obama campaign. No proof, just a possibility, based on the regularity of the posts supportive of Obama and dismissive of Romney. Maybe the Dems read about the Jesuits and early recruiting.

    1. There’s also /r/republican which acts as a small beacon of relative sanity on reddit.

    2. Well, to the extent they’re young, plenty of them are un- or under-employed, and I’m sure plenty of those haven’t seen the light and choose such forums to vent their spleen.

  7. I said six weeks ago on this blog, that six weeks hence Obama would be recognized as in trouble by the mainstream voter and media. The reasons were basically down to sub-polling data and trending in several battleground states – not the high-level stuff we read from Gallup. I suggested that absent a radical change in the sub-trend data, Team O was in serious trouble and that their home stretch was going to be painful. This was to be exacerbated by resource issues.

    This remains the case. Last week saw a recognition by national pols in favor of Romney, well beyond statistical noise. It’s now seen as an honest lead.

    Team O is now circling back over so-called “safe” territory to recapture electoral college votes. Romney, on the other hand, is focusing on new territory. Florida has been removed from the battleground map, and (former O safe haven) Colorado is looking to go with Romney. WI and VA are on the ropes, but trending R. PA had strong headwinds against Team R but they are coming on strong.

    It all comes down to numbers and direction. Team R has been consolidating their territory and staking out runs on new ground. They can be more concentrated in their spending, and when you add in PACs, they can spend a great deal more to make the final sale.

    Team O is now having to defend formerly safe territory, all while trying to nudge the needles in OH and VA into their column. The result is their financial resources are going to be spread more thinly. Their ground teams are strong in the battleground states, but I haven’t seen much about the supposedly safe havens like PA. Do they even have a strong team in PA or did they assume victory and put those resources elsewhere? Signs is yards is a practical measure of the ground-team planning, and others here have already noted how that is faring in the outer burbs.

    The election is not over and Romney has hardly won it. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t crossed the EC hump yet, but is forecast to do so in the next few days. Things can change, but realistically course corrections take longer than a week. That gives Obama until about next Monday to cause a big directional change to halt – not reverse – the Romney rise. Radical shifts are hard right now. History suggests the best you can do is slightly alter trajectory and slow the movements.

    It’s too late for the “October Surprise” unless it’s a big one. Those take a few weeks to settle in, and coming too late in a cycle they risk being disbelieved as desperation moves.

    Obama is in serious trouble. If the pace of the last three weeks continues into next weekend, this will not be a close call. I could see Romney picking up more than 300 EC votes unless Obama can slow the trend. And short of a big change in movement back to Obama over the next four days, Romney will likely win. Problem for Obama is that the Romney push accelerated into last weekend. It’ll slow this week, but I don’t see anything to stop it.

  8. Still a lack of Signage up here in my County, but what little there is seems to either Romney/Ryan or local politicians.

    However, the RoboCalls are insane, the Teewee Ads are all over the place, and the Wife decided to drag out the CD Player and took a huge stack of music to work with her. She says that Cleveland Radio has decide to replace Music with Political Ads.

    So I’m thinking it’s more about “Bang for the Buck.” But all the Usual Suspects in my neighborhood who go Nuts for the Dems come any Election and plaster their Lawns with Signs are nowhere to be seen.

    Perhaps they decided that “Discretion is the Better part of Valor?”

  9. We just spotted the first Obama signs at all in this area of many working class Democrats today. We haven’t seen any signs or bumper stickers for the Democratic Congressional candidate, and only one sign previously for any Democrat at all. I’ll also add that one of the three Obama signs that suddenly popped up is going to be a split ticket because he also had a GOP sign up.

    I know that Obama has been sending in his number 3 & 4 surrogates into PA for months – Michelle & Jill Biden. They have sent Michelle to Philly & Jill to Scranton. He has also been sending Cabinet members here to campaign for him in Philly. They also brought in Jesse Jackson to preach at various churches around Philly & hold campaign events to help turn out the vote. I suspect they are realizing that there’s just not as much enthusiasm as there was before.

    I really don’t know how strong the potential is for GOP gains either in the Senate seat or for Romney to outperform McCain by significant margins against Obama. I’ll feel like I have a better idea when I see the line for the other precinct at our voting location. It had a 3 hour line in 2008 – clearly people who never bother to vote. I say that because while the line for that precinct is always longer, it’s not that long. If the wait when we go up there for that precinct is less than an hour, I’m going to say that the Dems are going to be cutting it close. If there’s a line at all in our precinct, I’d say that they are really at risk.

  10. #1. I live in an all black neighborhood. I am literally the only white male there. In addition to my wife there is one other white woman who lives in the nearby apartments. There are 2 Obama signs.

    #2. You need to stop worring about whether or not PA will go Romney and start wondering if New Jersey will go for Romney. My prediction stands, Romney by more than 100 Electoral College votes. The Senate will flip as well. It’s going to be a bloodbath. Obama’s already bought his Hawaii retirement home.

  11. Well, anecdotal evidence here, living CA I’m surprised by the lack of Obama bumper stickers or signs I see. I’d venture a guess that I see about 20% the amount I did in 2008. Not saying CA is in play, I wish, but I think even a large part of his supporters here are either tuned out or embarrassed.

    Every door knock or personal visit I’ve received this year has been a Republican candidate or surrogate too.

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