Political Animal


May 16, 2012 10:04 AM 12% of Democrats Run Screaming For Cover

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t want to beat this to death, but I’m really struck this week by the premature excitement of Republicans based on a random poll or two, which is now extending into anticipatory schadenfreude, as they happily imagine Democrats agonizing over Obama’s impending defeat.

At the risk of spoiling their fun, I’d commend conservatives to a quick reading of the latest Gallup finding on who Americans think is going to win the presidential election. 81% of Democrats, 58% of independents, and even 24% of Republicans, think Obama’s going to win. The percentage of Democrats who think Romney will win—the presumed subject of all this gloating over Obama supporters giving up all hope after the soul-crushing experience of reading a CBS/Times poll—is at 12%.

To be clear, none of this matters in terms of the actual outcome of the election, particularly this far out when decisions to vote or not to vote haven’t been made. But Republicans are really wasting their time if they spend much of it fantasizing over the alleged despair of their opponents.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • boatboy_srq on May 16, 2012 10:13 AM:

    Don't burst their bubble just yet. It's good that they're confident: perhaps all that "voter fraud" they panic over will be more than offset by the confident GOP faithful who stay home thinking that disillusioned Dems are going to do their work for them.

  • Lolly on May 16, 2012 10:16 AM:

    Perhaps they're not trying to report a situation, but to create it.

    If enough news outlets repeat the "Dems anticipate defeat" story, that will become the accepted view of the election. Narratives like this might convince voters to stay home, and even convince bandwaggoners to switch votes.

  • T2 on May 16, 2012 10:17 AM:

    the problem with 81% Dems thinking Obama will win...overconfidence keeps them at home on voting day.
    With the TEAGOP, if they had 81% thinking Romney would win, that 81% would damn well show up and vote.

  • Lifelong Dem on May 16, 2012 10:19 AM:

    To follow up on boatboy_srq and Lolly, getting the voters to the polls will be crucial this fall. But anyone with a brain already knew that.

    My biggest fear is that enough Democrats will sit home in November to hand the White House and both houses of Congress to the GOP.

  • stormskies on May 16, 2012 10:21 AM:

    Lolly has it right. The point of this purposeful propaganda is to make people 'believe' in that which just is not true. Yet if the propaganda created narrative is repeated enough by the corrupt corporate media, as this has been demonstrated repeatedly over the years, then that which is simply not true becomes true.

    And that is one of the reasons that CBS, as well as almost all the other corporate/Repiglican created polls, created their propaganda with 'results' that do not correlate with actual reality.

  • c u n d gulag on May 16, 2012 10:24 AM:

    "...created their propaganda with 'results' that do not correlate with actual reality."

    Ah, stormskies, now THAT'S the very definition of FOX journalism!

  • CharlieM on May 16, 2012 10:29 AM:

    Don't tell them they're wasting their time. Encourage the fantasy. Their devastation will be all the more acute the morning after elections - a dark, bottomless, abyss of despair.

    I, for one, will enjoy the gloating.

  • Hedda Peraz on May 16, 2012 10:49 AM:

    I hear that the D's are spending money on GOTV, not TeeVee ads.

    Not that it matters; The Mayans say (and polls agree. . .) the world will end this December.

    I will save a boatload on my Xmas shopping this year!

  • exlibra on May 16, 2012 11:03 AM:

    Leave them to it; overconfidence is a killer. But, since it works both ways, I'm studying rules and regulations of voter registration drives in Virginia (our tiny town is likely to get an official representative much later in the season; meanwhile us old broads are preparing the ground); if all of us work hard while they're dancing in the streets, our chances are that much better.

  • Blue Girl on May 16, 2012 11:22 AM:

    Anyone who is clutching their pearls at this point needs to be smacked in the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. Preferably one from January 1980 with a 72-point headline screaming about Carter's 30+ point lead. Or perhaps post-conventions 1988, when Dukakis had a strong double-digit lead over Bush the Elder.

    Also, I think the person above who said they are trying to create a situation is onto something.

  • Jeff In Ohio on May 16, 2012 11:24 AM:


  • Peter C on May 16, 2012 11:28 AM:

    A couple of things, Ed:
    First, don’t expect Republicans to give up their schadenfreude; it’s their chief joy in life. Nothing gives a conservative more pleasure than seeing a Democrat in pain. Even imagining a Democrat in pain brightens their day. And, since self-delusion is so obviously a promotable skill, when they delude themselves about the downfall of the Democratic Party, it is almost as pleasant as when they actually win, because they are so good at ignoring reality and those pesky facts.

    Second, having nominated a bland Mormon flip-flopper, the Evangelical shock troops who make up the ground game for the Republicans need a good jolt of schadenfreude as a motivator. It is hard for them to believe that they are marching for the domination of their faith behind a banner borne by a possible cultist. If he were really a true-believer, he’d be an evangelical, afterall. In the mean time, the counter-narrative (that Romney is only interested in making things better for himself and the other members of the super-rich) will tax even their powers of self-delusion.

    Lastly, the Republican’s best bet is to do all they can to suppress turnout. Here they have potent weapons. Negative ads are very effective at lowering participation rates and they will have more money (thanks to Citizens United) to spend on them. They also are skilled at making politics nasty, spiteful, angry and mean, and all of these things suppress turnout. They’ve unleashed a slew of new restrictions on voting (and most of them will be in effect despite their unconstitutionality).

    If turnout is low, and they’ve pushed their story that Romney is winning, then the paperless voting machines can do the rest. If Obama draws big crowds of energized supporters (especially loud, happy, cheering supporters) who dance their way to the polls, they’ll throw Romney under the bus as ‘not a true conservative’ and wait for another off year when no one is watching carefully.

  • Ron Byers on May 16, 2012 11:48 AM:

    Lets see, Gallup says 24% of Republicans think Obama will win and NY Times/WS Journal say that 12% of Democrats think Obama will win. The story about what 12% of Democrats think over what 24% of Republicans think is a bigger story because????

    No real news today, Ed? We are stuck talking about silly polls 6 months out from the election.

    I remember being really encouraged about the Democrat who ran against Reagan when he was seeking his second turn, months out from the election, now it is hard to remember his name.

  • jpeckjr on May 16, 2012 12:22 PM:

    @Ron Byers. You either read Ed's post wrong or typed your comment wrong.

    The poll says 12% of Democrats believe Romney will win. 81% of Democrats believe Obama will win.

    You wrote "12% of Democrats think Obama will win."

  • castanea on May 16, 2012 12:30 PM:


    Yep. If Goebbels were alive today, he'd have a place in the Republican party and a job with Fox, you can be sure.

  • Ron Byers on May 16, 2012 12:41 PM:

    Sorry jpeckjr. I mistyped. That is easy to do when you are typing between meetings.

  • Debbie Downer on May 17, 2012 10:03 AM:

    Count me among the 12% screaming and running for cover. The GOP's propaganda and political war has completely worked on me, to the point where I'm trying to ramp up my emotional resilience in anticipation of President Romney and GOP control of both houses. The Citizens United debacle, the relentless corporatization of Congress, the bald-faced disenfranchisement of likely-Democrat voters, the victory after victory of right-wing social measures in state houses, this unapologetically fascist Supreme Court majority, the capitulation of news media to conservative issue framing ...

    I'll be there on voting day and do volunteer work for the team, but a poll showing 81% of Democrats are confident in Obama's re-election doesn't make my hope audacious. It makes me think my fellow Democrats are out of touch with reality.