Political Animal


November 23, 2012 8:49 AM More 2012 Fun From the Numbers Crunchers

By Ed Kilgore

We haven’t heard a lot since the day after the elections from the no-doubt-exhausted numbers-crunching guild, led by the man whose influence was inestimably enhanced by his know-nothing conservative critics: Nate Silver. But Nate has a post that went up Wednesday showing the states where the two presidential candidates appeared to have over-performed pre-election poll estimates significantly:

Mr. Obama beat the polls in almost every state in the Northeast, and particularly in New Jersey. It could just be a coincidence — Mr. Obama also beat the polls on the West Coast, which has some cultural similarities to the Northeast but which was not affected by the storm. It seems more likely, however, that there were some regional effects from the storm, especially in the worst-affected areas.
Interestingly, Mr. Obama also did much better than expected in the Gulf Coast — particularly in Mississippi and Louisiana, where he performed better in 2012 than in 2008. These states have been catastrophically affected by previous storms like Hurricane Katrina, of course. Could it have been that Mr. Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy was more salient in these states?….
[T]here was some tendency for Mr. Obama to beat his forecasts in states where a large percentage of the population are racial minorities, but to match or underperform them in whiter states.
This squares in some ways with what we already “knew” by looking at the exit polls — that Mr. Obama performed quite a bit worse among white voters than he did in 2008, but that minority turnout was high and that Mr. Obama did very well with African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics. It seems likely that some pollsters were underestimating minority turnout, although others may have overestimated his performance among white voters.

Meanwhile, TNR’s Nate Cohn mulls the causes of the Republican Party’s chronic weakness among under-30s voters:

The culture wars of the last few decades have divided white voters along religious lines, but young voters are less religious than their elders—ensuring a tough time for the GOP. For decades, the GOP formula for an outsized share of the white vote has been straight forward: decisively win white evangelicals, which make up about 33 percent of white voters; in exchange, lose non-Christian whites, who represent a far smaller 20 percent of white voters; and then fight for white non-evangelical Protestants and Catholics. Although Republicans tend to carry non-evangelical Christians, the principle source of the GOP’s lead among white voters is their alliance with the largest group of white culture warriors. But a recent Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life study finds that only 22 percent of 18-29 year olds consider themselves Evangelical Christians, compared to 31 percent who are non-Christian.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

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.


  • c u n d gulag on November 23, 2012 9:42 AM:

    Hey, Conservatives, looks like Bob Dylan was about 50 years ahead of the times:

    "Come gather 'round people
    Wherever you roam
    And admit that the waters
    Around you have grown
    And accept it that soon
    You'll be drenched to the bone
    If your time to you
    Is worth savin'
    Then you better start swimmin'
    Or you'll sink like a stone
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won't come again
    And don't speak too soon
    For the wheel's still in spin
    And there's no tellin' who
    That it's namin'
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come senators, congressmen
    Please heed the call
    Don't stand in the doorway
    Don't block up the hall
    For he that gets hurt
    Will be he who has stalled
    There's a battle outside
    And it is ragin'
    It'll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don't criticize
    What you can't understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin'
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can't lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin'.

    The line it is drawn
    The curse it is cast
    The slow one now
    Will later be fast
    As the present now
    Will later be past
    The order is
    Rapidly fadin'
    And the first one now
    Will later be last
    For the times they are a-changin'."

    Well, to give Republicans and Conservatives credit, they WERE successful for almost five decades.
    But, "The Times, They Are a-Changin'!"

    Hopefully, soon, we'll be talking about you like the ancient fossil's you've become - Republicanosaurloser-up's and Conservaplodicus'.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on November 23, 2012 9:51 AM:

    What blows my mind is how Republicans turned pissing on the poor, war mongering, environmental annihilation, and lavishing gifts on the rich into "Christian" values in the first place.

  • c u n d gulag on November 23, 2012 9:54 AM:

    "Republicansaurloser's!", not what I wrote above.

    Y kent oui haz "Edit" - PLEEZE?!?!

    Oh, I remember some rumor this past spring or summer, about CRAPTCHA being replaced. WHAAHAPPEN'?

    Still, I'm thankful for this site, FSM knows.

  • Nanuq on November 23, 2012 10:16 AM:

    [T]here was some tendency for Mr. Obama to beat his forecasts in states where a large percentage of the population are racial minorities, but to match or underperform them in whiter states.

    This kind of comment drives me nuts. I live in Vermont, one of the five whitest states in the union. We were not affected by Hurricane/ Superstorm Sandy.

    Yet, gosh, somehow, Vermont was one of the first states called for President Obama, and he won the state by a large margin. So much for discounting the white vote, eh?! It's not as simple as "the white people are racist bigots and are voting against the black man," which is what the quoted comment implies. A whole lot of white people saw in Romney/Ryan a vision of America they couldn't live with, especially when compared with a vision of an America where everyone gets healthcare, where people who got rich by using tax-payer funded resources give back to rebuild and replace what is broken or used up.

    Describing what your numbers "reveal" may be factual, but it sure ain't anything like the whole truth.

  • Ron Byers on November 23, 2012 10:56 AM:

    I read another article this morning about the Obama polling effort. They were a lot closer to Nate Silver than Neil Whitehouse.

    What I learned this year is that the national polls don't provide any meaningful information. They do, however, generate news stories which is why they are purchased by the news organizations. In that respect they do exactly what they are designed to do.

    I also learned that Republicans would do well to read the Art of War. This cycle, they didn't understand America and they didn't understand how Obama and his message would appeal outside their block of Angry White Men. They believed in their own myths.

  • Yonatan B on November 23, 2012 11:21 AM:

    I think one of the points that Cohn makes at the end of his article is especially important. I am 30, and I only have a couple of memories of Republicans (H.W Bush) before Gingrich. For me and most of my generation, we were not politically aware of the Republican party prior to its current form. When my parents talk about how you used to be able to talk with them, I have a hard time believing them and the Republican Party that i know is the party of Government Shutdowns, Moral Hypocracy and knee jerk reactions that anything resembling change.

  • Ron Byers on November 23, 2012 11:49 AM:

    Neil Newhouse, not Neil Whitehouse. I know better. I am just recovering from Thanksgiving.

  • Hue and Cry on November 24, 2012 1:03 AM:

    Grrr-eight political music reference, Cund gulag