Political Animal


November 08, 2012 6:07 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

By Ed Kilgore

The Election Post-Mortems aren’t over at PA; we’ll have more tomorrow, including a post from the always-insightful Rich Yeselson. We may even get around to questioning the future direction of the Democratic Party as we are already examining that of the GOP.

But here’s what we have in today’s news leftovers, as many newsmakers and news-gatherers begin to recover from the Election Night exhaustion that we haven’t allowed ourselves to fully experience until the weekend arrives:

* RCP’s Sean Trende argues (based on preliminary turnout numbers) that the presidential election was decided not by a vigorous turnout from nonwhite voters but from a falloff—notably in Ohio—of white voters probably affected by Obama’s negative ads against Romney.

* On to ‘13: Call him The Macker, T-Mac, whatever: Terry McAuliffe semi-announces campaign for governor of Virginia next year.

* At TNR, Jeff Guo spends an entertaining Election Day driving around Maryland’s crazy-quilt Third Congressional District.

* At Ten Miles Square, Andrew Gelman reminds us of the plurality of eligible voters who simply didn’t show up on Tuesday.

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer mulls the impact of Prop 30’s passage on the declining fortunes of California’s higher education system.

And in non-political news:

* Industry analysts wonder: Is McDonald’s menu getting too pricey?

On that deeply intellectual note, I’m hanging it up for the day.


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.


  • Captain DAn on November 08, 2012 6:22 PM:

    Telling the truth about Romney is NOT negative! How can the truth be negative???

  • girl down the street :>) on November 08, 2012 6:50 PM:

    Lots of juicy articles from site to site on how crazed Karl Rove was about election results, and how mad billionaire donors are since the Romney campaign lied to them about how well they were doing in the race.

    hoot hoot--Captch has "Warren"

    Luv it

  • jharp on November 08, 2012 7:14 PM:

    That song made me sad. Such beautiful song though.

  • Joe Friday on November 08, 2012 8:03 PM:

    In an interview with Diane Sawyer about the 'fiscal cliff', after first declaring that the Republicans will refuse to raise taxes on the wealthy come hell or high water, John Boehner was asked if Paul Ryan is now the leader of the Republican Party:

    "Oh, I wouldn't think so. Paul Ryan's a policy wonk. He's involved in 'the cause' of trying to bring us a pro-growth economic agenda to America, and making sure we're doing this in a fiscally responsible way."

    * First, that was a pretty fast smackdown of Ryan assuming the mantle as the head of the party.

    * Second, Ryan is NOT a "policy wonk". He just plays one in TV.

    * Third, Ryan's so-called "pro-growth economic agenda" has tanked the national economy every time it's been tried.

    * Last, Ryan could care less about fiscal responsibility.

  • schtick on November 08, 2012 8:22 PM:

    A thought on where the dems are going. They best not fall asleep like they did in 2010. It's time for them to stand up and push for the common people of this country. We know things have to be done, some things we won't like, but any and all breaks for the rich should be over. They've had enough breaks for the last 30 years. They've made record amounts of money during this recession while the rest of us have suffered. It's time they paid their due and it's time we stop subsidizing them for their scraps and sending jobs overseas. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. When we have money, we spent it and the economy gets moving.

    crapcha is amusing today...rocks afThist....hope so!!

  • max on November 08, 2012 8:25 PM:

    RCP’s Sean Trende argues (based on preliminary turnout numbers) that the presidential election was decided not by a vigorous turnout from nonwhite voters but from a falloff—notably in Ohio—of white voters probably affected by Obama’s negative ads against Romney.

    Trende's right - there was a big falloff in white voters. He's wrong though about why - there was a big falloff of voters in New York and New Jersy. It appears that Obama got a million fewer voters in New York, and Mitt got 500k fewer voters in New York. Given that the % split between 2008 and 2012 is nearly identical, I suspect in New York & New Jersey, that that was Sandy related (or election fatigue related which is the same thing in context). In California, on the other hand, Obama appears to have come up short nearly 3 million votes, whereas Mitt came up 1.2 million short of McCain's total.

    In swing state Florida, on the other hand, hometown of polling place suppression, Obama did a little worse than 2008, and Mitt very slightly improved.

    To put a fine point on it, neither side's ads appear to have been particularly effective at suppressing the other side's votes. It does appear that the economy and lack of advertising by Obama outside of swing states led to a falloff in white Democrats and leaners turning out for Obama compared to 2008. That's possibly the whole story of the election: Obama lost turnout because of ads, Sandy and the economy and Romney turned out his voters (excluding Sandy-afflicted states) and Romney still lost. (Side note: Obama was running the inverse of Rove's strategy for 2004. Obama only worried about swing states and whereas Rove in 2004 put lots of heavy effort into stoutly red states.)

    If those white Democrats/liberals were gettable by Romney, I'd have to assume they'd have been gotten, and they weren't.

    ['Time to start building a spreadsheet.']

  • exlibra on November 08, 2012 9:32 PM:

    This had me laughing like a demented hyena. Talk of "poetic justice"! Not only did Planned Parenthood get an excellent return on its investments, but Rove and NRA came at the very bottom of the pile.


    "which nThent". Which, indeed, was not the intent.

  • Tom Q on November 08, 2012 9:53 PM:

    Max, I'm not sure you want to be running those spreadsheets just yet. As GOP pollster Bill McInturff has noted elsewhere, two days after the election in 2008, nearly ten million votes that were eventually recorded were not included in official totals. Alot of states are very slow about putting official counts in (among other things, those provisional ballots have to be dealt with). It's probably true that NY/NJ/CT will see some Sandy-related dropoff from normal (their current rate of dropoff, as you note, is signifcantly higher than other states). But comparing what's there now against final totals from '08 is not apples to apples.

    By the way, we should also expect to see Pres. Obama's margin of victory expand over this period, as, for some reason, the late-recorded vote always tilts Dem. At this point in '08 his margin was 6%; the final tally had it at 7.27%. So, a final 3-4% point spread is a realistic hope (which will put him out of the range of Bush/Wilson for lowest re-elect margins).

  • Rich on November 08, 2012 11:58 PM:

    On Sean Trende's views, while Max and Tom Q have excellent points, I also think that demographics did play a role. Older voters vote in higher percentages, the older population is whiter and as the population has aged since 2008, a higher percentage of older white voters have died or are no longer able to vote. That doesn't account for all of the drop off in white voter, but it accounts for some.

  • Rip on November 09, 2012 2:33 AM:

    10 million Americans have died since 2008, it's probably safe to say they were largely older and probably whiter than than the population as a whole. 16 million Americans turned 18 since 2008, most certainly less white than the population as a whole. So there probably wasn't much if any growth in the potential white electorate, and what there was, was younger and therefore less likely to vote, and those that did vote were more likely to vote for Obama than their elders.

    As max notes, California votes dropped off significantly, probably largely due to the feeling that on the Presidential level one's vote was not that important, and there being no real contest in the Senate race. Unlike 2008, when many California voters wanted to be part of the historical election of Obama, even when they knew their vote was not needed, this time around I'm guessing many didn't see the point in making the effort.

    So it's unclear if that there was a huge potential pool of white Romney voters that went untapped. certainly there would be some Republican leading voters who became disillusioned with the candidate and the process, but there were also likely a good number of white voters who voted for Obama in 2008, that for any number of reasons were less enthusiastic this time around and didn't vote, but were still not interested in voting for a Republican.

    Given the fairly steady vote totals for the Republican candidate over the last three elections, I doubt there are really much more than 60 million available voters to the party regardless of candidate or campaign.

  • Dredd on November 09, 2012 7:47 AM:

    The post mortem on the House elections has detected that it was poisoned with the powerful gerrymandering treatment.

  • yellowdog on November 09, 2012 11:17 AM:

    Ed - I would love your insight on the John Barrow race in your (and my) home state. Just how does one of the most endangered Democrats pull out a ten-point win? Other Southern Dems need to watch and learn...