Why Obama Is Likely to Lose in 2012
Even a small drop in the share of black voters would wipe out his winning margin in North Carolina.


  • German Observer

    Good analysis! By both: Rove and Steve.

    Anyway, to this point my bet is still on Obama. In 2008 he won Indiana and North Carolina by very thin margins and lost Missouri by only a few votes. All three probably go to the Republican column. It is furthermore quite likely, that Florida and Ohio go red as well, though this is not for sure. But still this would be a enough for Obama to win. So, it could easily come down to states like Virginia, Pensylvania, Michigan, Colorado, Iowa to be the true battlegrounds next year.

    In addition to the conventional wisdom that independents make elections, it also plays a role how well a candidate is capable to mobilize his base. In 2008 this obviously worked pretty well for Obama and pretty bad for McCain – thus the results in NC and Indiana and remarkable thin margins in Georgia, Montana and across the country. What makes your own crowd go wild? Either you feel very attracted by your own candidate (which was the case in 2008 for Obama) or you feel scared by the opposing candidate (which was not the case for republican-leaning voters with regard to Obama, but was the case with democrat-leaning voters with regard to Palin). So, what will matter in ’12 if the likely candidate Romney will be able to fire up the red crowd and scare them regarding Obama. Remains to be seen.

    • Alaina

      I would be shocked if any Republican needed our candidate to scare them regarding Obama.

      Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe anyone has ever been elected without Ohio.

      I think 2012 will be a very different election than 2008. There are many, many more people who are now politicly active (or at least more aware) than in 2008. Knowledge is power and that can only hurt Obama and the Dems.

      • German Observer

        I don’t know whether “scared” is the appropriate word. Waht I want to say is, that you can vote FOR somebody or AGAINST somebody (as PD-regulars obviously did last time, though you didn’t particullarily liked your own candidate).

        That was one of my key points: it could easily come to the point, that. just based on the maths, the traditional battle-grounds, Florida and Ohio wouldn’t matter that much next time. I suspect Virginia to be a major battle-ground. And, hasn’t Romney been born in Michigan? Plus, he was Gouverner of Mass. So these two could be up for grabs as well, while Colorado and Nevada could be out of reach for Romney due to the demographic shifts. The electoral-map might be quite different in 12 than it was in 04 for example.

        That knowledge would hurt Obama and the Dems is your interpretation :-)

        • Alaina

          I know what you mean… my vote in 2008 was more against Obama than it was for McCain and I’m expecting a similar situation in 2012. However, I don’t think the GOP nominee will have to do a whole lot of convincing as the Republican and Conservative base will do just about anything to get rid of Obama.

          Florida and Ohio are always going to be a big factor because of the number of electoral votes (29 and 18 respectively). Where as Virginia will have 13, Colorado will have 9 and Nevada will have 6. In other words, one could lose Virginia, Colorado and Nevada, but win Florida and they would be up 2 points. Or, they could lose Nevada and Colorado, but win Ohio and be up 3 points.

          Something else to watch is that most of the states that are picking up electoral votes in 2012 (due to our 2010 Census) are traditionally ‘Red’ states. Whereas, most of the states that lost electoral votes are traditionally ‘Blue’ states.

  • Steve Feinstein

    Rove is probably over-optimistic about his assumptions. While his points are well-taken, if the economy is heading north by fall ’12, O is the favorite to retain his title.

    It’s doubtful that when push comes to shove, many Jewish voters are going to jump ship. I have a very good sense of that voting bloc, and while there is some muttering and angst over his comments about Israel’s borders, there is no actual widespread defection that I can see. I’ve been wrong before, but I am very closely connected to this group and to count on its defection to a meaningful degree is an outright miscalculation.

    Likewise for the other groups Rove mentions: Blacks, Latinos and the Youth vote. Unless the Repub nominee picks Marco Rubio as the VP candidate, it’s unlikely that the Repubs will reverse the Hispanic shift to the Dem side to a meaningful degree.

    2008 wasn’t that close. Obama can lose a bit of support and still win. McCain got only 173 Electoral votes.

    As James Carville said in 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid!”

    The strongest Repub nominee will be the best business person, the one who articulates the best plan for recovery especially if that candidate can point to still-failing Obama polices and explain clearly and understandably why they’re wrong and why different (Repub) policies would be better.

    Clarity and articulation in an understandable, easily-absorbable way will be the key.

    The danger is that if the Repub candidate lays out his economic alternatives too soon and too clearly, then Obama could co-opt some of them, reap their benefits and take the credit and the wind out of the Repub nominee’s sails.

    • Alaina

      What’s your perspective on why Jewish voters won’t jump ship? It’s seems like they are natural conservatives.

      • Gary Russell

        Ditto to Alaina’s question, Steve.
        I have NEVER understood the Jewish attraction to the Dem party.
        The GOP’s stand on Israel, economics, social issues, and religious freedom just seems to be tailor-made for support from Jewish voters.
        What gives?

        • Steve Feinstein

          Books could be written on the subject of why most American Jews are liberal.

          In fact books HAVE been written, the best of which is probably Norman Podhoretz’ “Why Are Jews Liberals?”

          The answer is more emotional- and “feel”-based than factual- or logic-based. Certainly, Republican policies of the last 30-40 years towards Israel and their foreign policy in general are more favorable to Israel than the Democrats’ policies.

          But as summarized in a Publisher’s Weekly review, “Immigrant American Jews were attracted to the Democratic Party, says Podhoretz, because it was the closest counterpart to the European leftists who had favored Jewish emancipation.”

          In their home countries in Europe and Russia, Jews were so persecuted and discriminated against, that they wanted to distance themselves from that behavior as much as possible. The “tolerance” of the American liberal philosophy appealed to them, as it represented the social freedom that had eluded them for generations in the ‘old country.’

          That thought has now gained a self-sustaining momentum all its own, such that it is now tradition and expected behavior for American Jews to be liberal. When faced with hard evidence to the contrary—like Obama’s recent declaration that Israel should return to its 1967 borders—most American Jews frantically genuflect and rationalize to justify their original liberal position.

          There is also the unspoken (but undeniably real) prejudice that many coastal/NE elite Jewish people feel towards the Southern-drawled Christian Bible belt. “Those people” are simply too foreign for Ivy-league-educated Jews to identify with, regardless of the common positions that the two groups may share vis-à-vis Israel, terrorism, and the Middle East.

          As I said, this is more emotional/cultural-based instead of logic-based. But it IS real, and you can see every election, as 90% of the Jewish vote goes to the Democrat. Every time.

          • Alaina

            Thanks for the insight Steve.

            I can understand what you’re saying, but I generally think of Jews are very logical and methodical.

            I feel the same way about Hispanics. As Catholics, they are natural Conservatives and it seems like they would be so much against things like abortion and gay rights that they wouldn’t be able to vote Democratic.

          • Gary Russell

            This sounds a lot like the old “Yellow Dog Democrat” tradition in the deep south (I’m an Alabamian). Old folks used to say that, if the Dems ran an old yellow dog, they’d still vote for it over the Republican.
            Hopefully, Jewish voters will eventually change – as Southerners obviously have.

    • Troy La Mana

      McCain = Liberal Lite

      It wouldn’t be that close with a real Conservative.

  • Alaina

    That articile gave me hope for some change.

  • http://www.cordeiro.us cordeiro

    The Sith Lord is right. Victory or defeat is decided at the margins. Even a slight decline in the 2008 “Hope & Change” wave makes a second term for The One much less likely.