Currently Browsing: 2012 Election

Turnout Analysis

Chris Byrne takes a look at the numbers. I’m seeing similar conclusions from other election analysts as well. In the end, Romney didn’t seem to motivate people to get out for him. I actually think Romney ran a decent campaign, and did a lot better than I would have given him credit for before things got started. Certainly it was an improvement over McCain’s 2008 fiasco. But at the end of the day, I don’t think Romney was that strong of a candidate, though he was probably the strongest of the choices we had in front of us. Obama has a phenomenal GOTV machine. The big question is can he pass that along to other candidates.

Culture Wars

The only culture wars conservatives need to be fighting is destroying the legacy media. We have some pretty strong evangelical, socially conservative voters in the family, and even they are more worried about the fiscal cliff we’re heading off of rather than whether it’s legal or not to cut a fetus out of your body. One thing is clear: The GOP coalition can no longer win, and it’s time to rethink it. Jim Geraghty made a good observation about this election I didn’t think about:

Ari Fleischer points out the silver lining is that so far, Romney is winning independents. That’s not a silver lining, that’s worse news: Democrats don’t really need independents anymore.

We Weren’t Imagining Things

Late last night, I wondered how on earth what we saw at the polls could be so radically wrong. The primarily Democratic line was 1/3 of the size as 2008. The primarily GOP side was marginally bigger. I know we didn’t imagine that.

Waiting for all of our county returns to come in very late into the night, I checked the numbers from 2008 against this year and our county really did go more red. In fact, it’s the only Pennsylvania county that only barely went Obama – it was a one point race. Every other county that went for Obama went by anywhere from 5-20+ points.

Obama actually lost nearly 20,000 votes in our single county. Romney managed to get more than 5,600 more votes than McCain. Add that loss and gain together, and this was a Philadelphia suburban county that went Obama by only 3,700 votes.

Quote of the Night

From Dave Kopel, who was tracking how the 2nd Amendment fared during this election:

As Barack Hussein Obama, the Juan Domingo Peron of the 21st century, leads America to fiscal collapse, you can at least keep your guns.

All I have to say is: Justice Scalia, Justice Kennedy… is there a health club membership we can buy for you? Feeling OK about your health care? We can help!

I am not in an optimistic mood tonight. I think we lost, and we lost big. Americans want America to be a European style social democracy. Maybe with a Second Amendment, but maybe not. It is not yet written. But one thing is written that that European social democracy is running out of other people’s money, and we will soon as well. Regardless of Romney’s loss, that fact does not change. Germany can bail out Greece for a while, but no one can bail out us. When we hit rock bottom, it will be epic, and with Obama re-election, I think it is coming. Be prepared.

Blocking Out the Media

This is the point where I stop paying attention to election coverage, because to be quite honest, I just can’t stand it. Looking at this video from the 1960 election, however, I see our current media coverage environment is nothing new:

I’m particularly amused by the use of the brand new whiz bang RCA 501 computer, which takes the place of the media pundit in the 1960 election. The amusing thing here is your iPhone or Android phone has many orders of magnitude more processing power than the all knowing RCA 501. I guess it was a lot easier to impress people back then.

h/t to Volokh Conspiracy.

Standing Up for Candidates Can Be Dangerous

I stood outside for Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick all day in 2010 at a polling location with lots of elderly folks coming to vote. There was one woman driving a car that had all of us – Democrats and Republicans alike – shuffling down the sidewalk away from the doors to avoid being hit. We also all made sure to have our keys out so we could go move our cars if they ended up too close to any of the spaces (yes, plural) she was trying to pull into. Yes, it was really that bad.

Fortunately for us, it wasn’t this bad.

According to Jan Laverty, a volunteer at the polls, a man was driving slowly into a parking spot along the side of the fire company when he sped into the building, crashing into a side door that led into the polling place. …

Laverty said that people inside of the building believed the noise, and the accompanying smoke through the door, was a bomb.

So be careful, folks headed to the polls to volunteer. Don’t get run over.

What is Philadelphia Hiding?

Folks on the left tell us that actual voter fraud is not nearly the problem that Republicans imagine. I would tend to agree that it’s likely not extremely widespread, but I’ve seen enough close elections in my lifetime that it’s not something I am willing to risk. However, I have to question just how widespread it might be when I see Philadelphia election officials fighting oversight at every turn.

Hours before polls opened today, the Philadelphia election officials booted 75 Republican poll watchers from multiple polling places. The GOP has minority inspectors who were told by election officials that “no Republicans will be allowed in the polling place” at all today. There are some reports that the ban on Republicans in polling places got violent and that GOP inspectors were assaulted. The election officials who refused Republicans entry had to be ordered by the courts not to ban people based on their party affiliation.

Meanwhile, these same election officials set up voting machines right in front of a giant Obama mural promoting his 2008 campaign messages. Somehow, it escaped their notice. Yeah… And it took a court order to get it covered after it had been on display for hours.

This is a city that has unbelievably bloated voter rolls that they know contain dead people and others not eligible to vote. Clean elections advocates admit that their voter registration rolls are ripe for fraud because of how many invalid folks they have on them.

About two of every three residents of Pennsylvania’s largest city are registered to vote – more than 1 million of the city’s 1.5 million residents – and that doesn’t sit well with Zack Stalberg of the Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that works for fair and open elections.

Stalberg said the city has not done enough to trim its voter rolls to remove inactive voters, dead voters and former voters who have moved out of the city. Bloated voting rolls increase the chance for fraud to take place, he said, and in a one-party town like the City of Brotherly Love that can be a particular concern.

“The numbers have been out of whack for some time now,” Stalberg told PA Independent. “It just defies logic to think that two out of every three people living in the city can be registered to vote.”

Yet, the city’s elected officials opposed voter identification measures at every turn. They have even opposed the education efforts to let people know about voter identification laws that will be in effect for the very next election. At some point one has to wonder, what exactly are they afraid Republicans will see in Philadelphia?

Don’t Vote Ignorantly

Ilya Somin makes a case against ignorant voting. When I first started voting, I felt like I had to cast a ballot in every race, no matter what. I tended to vote party in races I didn’t know about. Now I will abstain from races where I don’t know the candidates or the issues. Ignorance is a good reason to not vote.

NRA’s Outreach to the Undecideds

Adage has a really good profile on NRA’s recent campaign expenditures targeting undecided/low information voters in swing states. Here are some highlights:

[NRA has] invested upwards of $11 million this fall in TV, radio and online ads (not including a direct-mail and phone piece) aimed at undecided voters in the usual-suspect list of swing states that includes Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin and Virginia. A hefty 32% of that budget has been allotted for digital, including pre-roll video ads, full-page interstitial ads on news sites like, and page skins on Pandora, according to Brad Todd, a partner at the Republican media shop On Message Inc., which is handling the buying in electronic channels. …

[I]t’s suburban men who aren’t active hunters or shooters but who agree with the NRA philosophically or on the grounds of self-defense who are the focus of the ad campaign, which entered full throttle in October and will continue through Election Day. A decision was made to invest heavily in sports content and to mostly eschew news, a departure from the tack taken by Priorities USA and Restore Our Future, the super PACs backing President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Mr. Todd said.

“We believe that premium content matters for undecided voters because they don’t seek political news,” he said. “If they were political news seekers, they likely wouldn’t be undecided in October.”

Emphasis added by me. I just have to laugh about it. Low information voters are both annoying and a source of comic relief for those of us who follow politics. Hell, I had to raise an eyebrow at the woman wondering out loud this morning why we needed two lines – one of which was much shorter than the other. She didn’t even know that they were for two different precincts. I informed her, but I’m not sure she knew what a precinct was, she just kind of said “ah” and went quiet. But back to the topic of NRA spending, this is the breakdown compared to the campaigns in their October spending:

During the week of Oct. 15, for example, the NRA’s TV mix for the swing-voter campaign was 78% sports, 12% late-night (centered on the likes of David Letterman and Jay Leno), 7% prime time and just 2% news. Meanwhile, data Mr. Todd pulled for Obama backer Priorities USA for a week in October shows 40% of TV spending going toward morning programming — which suggests a focus on women — and that sports accounted for roughly 1% of gross ratings points purchased. Estimates for Romney backer Restore Our Future show spending more evenly balanced across times of day, but only 14% of GRPs going toward sports, Mr. Todd said.

There’s more detail in the story, so go read the whole thing if this sort of thing interests you.

We’ll probably be talking more about some of the things that NRA has done to really create a GOTV structure independent of parties and individual candidate campaigns this year that both Sebastian & I think has real promise at keeping the Second Amendment in the minds of voters who lean our way.

Time to Question Turnout Models

I know that many conservatives have been attacking polls that show their candidate down, and I have mixed feelings on it. It’s generally not a good idea to question everything you lose. You just can’t win every state. But when people started diving deeper into the presumed turnout models for these polls, it seemed like they were taking 2008 turnout to be the assumed baseline when we know that’s not realistic.

Today, we saw that in person at our voting location. We voted at about the same time of day as we did in 2008, and the sight could not have been any different. We have two precincts that vote in different rooms at the same school, and one has a far higher percentage of Democratic voters while the other is predominantly GOP. Our neighborhood is in the mostly GOP precinct.

In 2008, the Democratic leaning precinct line was out of the room (typical), down the hall leading to the voting room (typical), and down the main hall (not atypical), and out the door (extremely out of the ordinary), and halfway down the outside of the building (unheard of), with poll workers telling people it was more than a 3 hour wait. In 2012, the line was only about an hour long and did not grow while we voted. In fact, I overheard two female voters in the line complaining that they couldn’t get their friends interested in showing up this year.

In 2008, our precinct line was short – a couple of folks in front of us and a few people behind us. IIRC, we were around 140 for the voter count for the day. Today, we were 271 & 272, and the line was longer than anything I’ve seen in 2008 or even 2010 (where it was longer than 2008’s line). Interestingly, it continued to grow while we were voting. It was still only about a 15 minute wait, but the sign in sheet was extremely heavily Republican. My name went on the sheet about 2/3 of the way down, and there were only two Democrats signed in on the page.

Enthusiasm gap much?

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