Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Try a Clear Conservative Message Next Time?

Voting results in the last few presidential elections (2012 figures as of the writing of the post):

Obama 2012 - 60,173,541 - - Romney 2012 - 57,449,374
Obama 2008 - 69,498,516 - - McCain 2008 - 59,948,323
Kerry 2004 - 59,028,444 - - - Bush 2004 - 62,040,610

Though the 2012 totals are not final, in terms of the current count Romney not only lost 7% of George Bush's vote in 2004, but surprisingly got 4% less than McCain's in 2008.

Though Romney did better than McCain on moderates (41% to McCain's 39%) and actually won independents (50% to Obama's 45%), enough liberals turned out that he lost the election.  In fact, liberals way over-performed.

Gallup finds that in 2012 40% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 35% as moderate and only 21% as liberal. The exit polling yesterday shows that those who voted self-identified as 35% conservative, 41% moderate and 25% liberal. Conservative voters were down 5% from the national average, moderate voters up 6% and liberal voters up 4%. That points to a significant number of conservatives staying home and liberals turning out. In fact in 2012 liberals outperformed their turnout in 2008! So, even though Romney did better with voting liberals (11% vs. 10%), moderates (41% vs. 39%) and conservatives (82% vs 78%) than McCain, Romney as of now has fewer votes.*

President Obama played to his hard base, and they turned out even though his total vote was down 13% from 2008 (see chart above). Still, liberal enthusiasm was enough to pull him over the line (see Vote Lib vs. Gallup Lib in the chart at left) because they out performed their actual population percentage.

Romney did not garner even the mediocre voter support McCain, hobbled by the economic meltdown of September 2008, drew.  McCain's reasonable showing was due largely to Sarah Palin who attracted huge, enthusiastic crowds in 2008 equaled only by Obama's 2008 crowds.

In contrast, Romney played to independents, and both independent and conservative turnout was basically static in 2012 compared with 2008.  Moderate turnout was actually down 3 points.

My family and I voted because we always do. But lots of other folks stayed home (among Democrats too) because no candidate presented a vision worth following. President Obama's "I inherited a mess and am doing the best I can" and hard turn to left issues (abortion, contraception, tax the rich-share the wealth) kept enough of his base to overcome Governor Romney's failure to increase his base turnout with "I can create jobs".

In back to back presidential elections two articulate Republican vice presidential candidates have not been enough to overcome the presidential candidates' lack of ability to make a convincing case for their view of how to govern.

A clear call to conservative, constitutional values such as Governor Palin, Senator Rand Paul and Senator-elect Ted Cruz have shown may be enough to win in 2016.

An uptick in conservative voters equaling the uptick in liberal voters yesterday, would mean a 9% increase (5% to equal their 40% share and 4% to catch up with the liberal increase).  That would be a swing of about 3.7 million votes making Romney winner in popular vote by almost a million votes, slightly less than Obama is currently winning by.

Most conservative pundits bought into this year's the "we've-got-the-conservatives-the-important-thing-is-to-win-the-moderates" strategy. There was no real push to focus on on important economic and societal truths. Maybe defeat will help conservative political leadership rethink that strategy. The "boring but competent" candidate model did not work even though he won a majority of independent voters.
*In 2004 George W. Bush did better with voting conservatives (84% vs. McCain 78% vs. Romney 82%), moderates (45% vs. 39% vs. 41%) and liberals (13% vs. 10% vs. 11%) than either McCain or Romney.


James Nicholas said...

"A clear call to conservative, constitutional values such as Governor Palin, Senator Rand Paul and Senator-elect Ted Cruz have shown may be enough to win in 2016."

Hear, hear!

Good to hear you again. Me, I am lamenting the loss of the country. Bob Beckle was saying that there are fewer and fewer caucasians in the country. Ten million new voters, and the ones from south of the border vote Democrat by default. Unless we can convince those coming into the country the moral superiority of freedom, then by the time we get to the next election we will have no more viable two party system than Massachusettes or California has. Not good.

Still, good to hear from you, TD!

T. D. said...

Republicans need to tap into the black and hispanic high sense of morality, family and church commitment. Remember gay marriage being derailed in California by the outpouring of black voters for Obama in 2008? That's the place to start. Maybe the Marco Rubios and Susanna Martinezes can lead the way among hispanics.

Thanks for the encouragement, JN!

I had some family matters that were taking time during September and October, so that was a really slow period for blogging.

But, things are good now.