Obama landslide (310 + electoral votes)
Obama comfortable win (290-310 EVs)
Obama close win (279-290 EVs)
Obama barely wins (270 + 278 EVs)
Exact tie 269-269
Romney barely wins (270 + 278 EVs)
Romney close win (279-290 EVs)
Romney comfortable win (290-310 EVs)
Romney landslide (310 + electoral votes)
It's hard to know what conflicted voters will do.
But there is what I will call the Danforth effect. Former GOP Senator (Mo.) and UN Ambassador John Danforth was interviewed after his old colleague Richard Lugar was defeated in the primary by an Indiana Tea Party Republican. He said:
If Danforth is right, the new GOP purists will turn off the independents; they will turn to Obama; and the GOP will have lost its brand as well as the election. He may not be correct, but he's a very savvy politician whose views should not be summarily dismissed.THINKPROGRESS: What do you think is happening here?
DANFORTH: An effort by some, and apparently a large number, 60% in Indiana, to purge the Republican Party and to create something thatís ideologically pure and intolerant of anybody who does not agree with them ó not just on general principles, but right across the board.
THINKPROGRESS: Do you stand by your view that GOP is beyond hope?
DANFORTH: If this trend succeeds, yeah. What they will be left with, if indeed they want to purge the party of all but people who have a particular ideological slantÖ itís not a way to win elections, itís not political[ly] sustainable. It might make them feel good for a time but doesnít work, it hasnít worked. It didnít work in Nevada or in Delaware in last election. They won nominations but couldnít win elections. I donít know how you win elections without getting 51% of the vote. I donít see how youíre gonna get 51% of the vote if you make it clear that people in your own party, who donít absolutely agree with everything you want to do, arenít wanted.
"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." -- Barry AuH20
When a party loses power, they have two choices -- go back to their core beliefs (thus theoretically making them "stand for something") or broaden out to moderate (thus theoretically making them "more generally appealing"). This party soul-searching is a normal part of the process. Sometimes, the more extreme/"pure" wings gain dominance and the results are usually poor (think Goldwater for the Repubs in 1964, McGovern for the Dems in 1972).
Barney Frank had an interesting line recently when asked why he was having trouble working across the aisle with Republicans the last few years. His response (parapharased) was that half of the folks were like Michelle Bachmann, and the other half were afraid of getting primaried by Michelle Bachmann. Having said all of that, though, the Republicans have rejected the more extreme candidates for President in favor of what most would consider to be the moderate of the group (when compared to Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Paul). And again, it's not much different than 1980 or so for the Democrats when moderate Dems were challenged on the left by the Ted Kennedy crowd.
Very interesting interview, thanks for posting it.
Eat Mor Jonny.
FWIW, plenty of mainstream media outlets, not just Fox News et al, were critical of Obama's stance with the Supreme Court; many felt that his stridency was unbecoming of a President and amounted to thumbing his nose at the principle of separation of powers. There are been similar criticisms raised in the mainstream media over the Administration's public targeting of major GOP supporters. And Obama pulled the rug out from under Boehner in the "grand bargain" negotiations with a last minute insistence on higher taxes. Not saying that this all amounts to anything with real legs yet, but there is certainly an undercurrent that together these actions show a very different side of the President.
Not to digress, but I happen to finance healthcare companies for a living, and my own views on the ACA are mixed. But polls have consistently shown that the legislation in its current form is not supported by a majority of Americans. And even some Obama supporters have lingering queasiness over the way the legislation was passed. While ancient history at this point, it is another data point that may suggest a less than conciliatory true personality.
Finally, I don't think you are really grasping the demographic that I am describing. They are folks that may have grown up in Republican households, and may tend to vote Republican more often than not, but genuinely consider themselves independents. It may not be a huge group nationwide, but represents a meaningful chunk of the electorate in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as Florida. In full disclosure, I would count myself on the leftward end of this demographic, but have many friends and colleagues who would consider themselves part of it as well.
Obama's rather unexpected success with this group, particularly in swing states, was widely viewed as a key factor in his 2008 victory. Surely you are not contesting this notion, are you? And this is exactly where the GOP establishment has its gun trained for this year. Most of these voters are sophisticated enough to evaluate Romney's gubernatorial record beyond the ACA and Mass health system parallels, and to genuinely ponder whether the "in over his head", "liberal ideologue in centrist's clothing", "not serious about fiscal matters", "divider not uniter, with a possible authoritarian streak" attack lines against Obama have any real merit. I am not suggesting that these voters will necessarily do any of this, but rather that it is their hearts and minds that the GOP believes may be winnable.
The Obama campaign has been pretty open about the fact that they're not going to go directly after Romney for being a flip-flopper -- rather, they want to make him own the more extreme positions towards which the Republican Party has been drifting, and to which Romney himself has had to genuflect ("severe conservative," and all that), to disqualify him in the minds of moderate/independent voters. If he then tries to disown those positions and thereby makes himself look like a flip-flopper in the process, it's gravy.
That being said, I don't think the President's "evolution" on the gay marriage issue hurts him terribly (at least, not in the sense that it opens him up to charges of being a "flip-flopper like Romney"), because lots of voters have "evolved" in much the same way over roughly the same time period. And for all Romney's talk about how he hasn't changed his position on this issue, remember that Romney actually tried to run to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights when he ran for the Senate in 1994. He didn't mention gay marriage specifically then, but that was right as the gay marriage issue was starting to bubble up here and there. That was just a year after Baehr v. Lewin, the first court case that kind of put gay marriage on the map, in which the Hawaii Supreme Court signaled its belief that the state's ban on same-sex marriage probably violated the state's constitution -- so running as a pro-gay rights candidate at that time potentially carried certain implications for one's position on the recognition of domestic legal benefits for same-sex couples. In short, Romney has arguably "evolved" on the issue, too -- he's just evolved in the other direction.
I'd also submit that in contrast to the President's evolution on gay marriage, Romney's shifting stances on, say, abortion, still appear more flip-flopperish. Gay marriage is a much newer issue than abortion, which has been around for over a generation, and Romney's had most of his adult life to think about it. He ran as a pro-choice cultural moderate when he ran for the Senate in 1994 and for governor in 2002, then he leaves the governor's office in early 2007 and less than a year later he's a full-throated anti-abortion convert? Really?
The thing is, I think voters (at least the non-diehard-partisan segment of the electorate) are more willing than the CW thinks to forgive changes in position, as long as a sincere explanation is offered -- but Romney's never really done that. It's not out of the realm of possibility that he had some experience or gained some knowledge that changed his perspective on abortion, but he's never really expressed it. Of course, voters may ultimately reject a candidate's explanation for a change in position anyway, but failing to even offer one practically guarantees that they'll fill in their own explanation, and it usually won't be a flattering one.
John Kerry was effectively neutered by the arguments that he was a rich boy who flopped in the wind. Running against a strong Deciderer, he got crushed. I recall reading an article after the race about how the goal was to basically show Kerry as being effeminate or non-masculine, in comparison to the strong leader who usually gets elected. And it was very effective.
I think it is more effective to try to paint Romney as weak, vacillating, and out-of-touch with Joe Sixpack than to try to paint him as some arch-conservative firebrand. Your attack needs to tie into the prevailing cognitive preconceptions. The best line of attack (it seems to me) is that you are buying a pig in a poke if you vote for a guy who has been on every side of every issue. (That is the pitch -- not saying I agree with it or raising the question for debate).
Eat Mor Jonny.
You must spread some comments around before flaming the Moderators again.
I'm sure there's a reason he chose to address this with six months to go in his (first?) term but I don't see it as being a political plus. He must have polling data to the contrary, one would suspect.
Eat Mor Jonny.
We are not doing well so far at hiding our biases in this thread. I am not pleased and neither is the rest of the mod team. I have deleted some posts and issued some infractions today... please do not make me do that again.
I urge you all... look at your post and make sure your bias cannot be seen in it. No one should be able to see your party leaning from your post. Analysis, not arguments. Please, please, please... be extra careful. And if you provide a link to some article or editorial that is clearly biased, that is goign to bring an infraction too.
-Jason "thanks for playing nicely" Evans
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
The second is an interesting thing you bring up, that I'm curious to see evolve during the race: it's been shown that when pollsters ask about the actual policies contained within ACA, they consistently find majority support for the majority of the big ticket inclusions. As you note, however, when they ask the broader "Do you approve of the passage of the Affordable Care Act?" or something along those lines, they consistently get more disapproval. Which suggests to me that Republicans have clearly been winning the post-passage messaging war on this. I'm interested to see if the Obama campaign can actually cut through the nuance barrier and make people remember what a majority of them actually seem to like about the law (without simultaneously reminding their own base why they disliked it ).
It'll be interesting to see if Romney, as his senior advisor (I think that was his position) said would happen, will now actively push for a federal constitutional amendment to disallow states from extending same sex marriage rights. IMHO, he may be better off just saying he disagrees with Obama's position and leaving it at that. The whole thing strikes me as a third rail for both sides this close to an election. This does to some degree put Romney back in that difficult position of balancing keeping his base happy, as there's support for the amendment idea there, vs. potentially scaring off others. But I don't think not making that strong of a statement risks having the conservative base think there's no difference in position between the two, and I don't know if it's something he really wants front and center for very long.
Let me try pivoting to an interesting strategy question:
You're a highly-touted Republican on the "wish (s)he would have run this time" level (Rubio, Christie, etc.). You have to choose between taking an invitation to be the VP candidate this year, or take a pass with the thought that Mitt may lose this time and 2016 is wide open. You also know that if Mitt loses, some who have already taken the big pass (Jeb, for example) are still out there.
What do you do?
There are a handful of folks for whom this is a serious calculation right now. Not sure what I would do. Thoughts?
Eat Mor Jonny.
This seems like a no brainer to me: if you're the highly touted Republican and are offered the vp slot, you take it. Romney has a very good chance of winning, and that would set you up nicely to be the GOP nominee in 8 years. Plus, I'd have to think the party wouldn't look kindly on a person who turns down that offer. (But I really don't know what the politics are like on the inside).
I assumed Biden's gaffe forced Obama's hand this week, and this article confirms that:
However, what's interesting to me is that Obama was apparently already planning on making this statement as early as next week. Biden just changed the timing of it.
This suggests to me that they've carefully weighed the political benefits and risk of the announcement. Perhaps their internal polling for battleground states like NC suggest that energizing his base is supremely important?
The last sitting VP to win was Bush Sr. -- who before then?
But that is a third option I had not really considered.
Eat Mor Jonny.
does not think Obama's statement on gay marriage issue will have much impact. They had a study almost ready to go when Obama made the comment. The link goes to the study, using North Carolina as its laboratory.
While North Carolina confirms that gay marriage is still controversial and unpopular in many areas of the country, the results donít augur poorly for Obama in North Carolina, let alone nationally.
In NC, I wouldn't think it would be a matter of energizing his base. A major component of his NC base is black voters, who as a whole are strongly anti-gay marriage.
Perhaps his taking this position is an attempt to place Romney on the horns of a dilemma: if he reacts very strongly, in harsh terms, against Obama's position, he risks alienating white suburban and college educated voters, who will be critical in important states like Pennsylvania and Virginia and a few others. On the other hand, if he does not condemn Obama and gay marriage in strong terms, social conservatives, who he needs to come out and come out in big numbers for him to have any chance at all, have yet another reason to not believe in him as a "true conservative," and sit it out.
Obama's win as a sitting US Senator was very unusual historically also.
Do those old guidelines mean much?