Topic category: Elections - Politics, Polling, etc.
Four More Years? Of this? An election eve analysis of the likely outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election
We're almost there. One more day until elections. One more day of telephone calls, appeals for last minute donations, and office-seekers criss-crossing their territory to appeal for votes. One last day of pollsters telling us what their numbers mean. Tomorrow we get center stage and choose our next President. Will we have four more years of economic stagnation, high unemployment, lower income, partisan bickering with a background of potential financial collapse and high inflation? Or will we choose a new course and recover American pride by choosing smaller government, greater liberty, and reject appeals to trade our freedom for the false security of big government that brings economic malaise?
The campaigns are nearly over. It's time for a quick review before heading to the polls tomorrow where our nation will select its next President and a Senate that will either sustain Obamacare or relegate it to a well-deserved mere footnote of history.
Here is my view of the contrasting campaigns, the polls, and the likely outcome on November 6.
The Obama Record
A record is not determined by what a President inherits. It is determined by what a President does with what he inherits.
Also contributing to a President's record is whether or not he delivered on his campaign promises. Did he deceive and make promises simply to get elected, or did he make a serious effort to deliver on his campaign promises?
On these bases, President Obama has the worst record of any President in US history.
Where Obama promised unity, he practiced division, pitting one group against another and waging a war on Wall Street, American businesses, the "rich", the "tea party" and anyone else who opposed his policies.
Where Obama promised to be a "post partisan" president, he has, in fact, been the "most partisan" president (a tip to the Romney campaign for that clever turn of phrase). His health care legislation completely excluded any Republican input. In fact, during the first two years of his presidency, he essentially ignored the Republican party altogether. This highly partisan behavior has been typical of his entire term. He even makes campaign appeals for "revenge" to vote down "the other side." Divisive? Very much so.
Where Obama promised to lower the jobless rate, it never dropped below the level it was when he took office! While unemployment was rapidly climbing during the first two years of his presidency, a time when he had a Congress completely in the control of his party giving him an opportunity to take serious action to bolster the employment. he and his Democrat Congress spent all their energies ramming through Congress a highly unpopular plan for the government to take over health care, replacing the traditional doctor-patient relationship with government mandates and unelected panels determining your health care.
Where Obama promised to "cut the deficit in half" he, in fact, tripled it and then presided over four straight years of deficits exceeding one trillion dollars each year, the most massive increase in federal debt over four years in our nation's history!
We must give Obama half credit for partially delivering on one of his promises. He promised to bankrupt the coal industry and replace coal-fired electric generation with green energy. He has nearly bankrupted the coal industry. But the complete bankruptcies seem to be concentrated with those green energy companies founded by his big campaign contributors who squandered billions of our taxpayer dollars on failed ventures. And we cannot ignore his EPA's efforts to slam the door on domestic oil production on federal lands. Shell corporation had to abandon a $4.5 billion investment in north shore Alaskan oil production after Obama's EPA refused to issue a permit to use an icebreaker because it would put CO2 into the air! Yes, that's the same gas we all exhale throughout our lives. Obama's energy policies have seen the cost of gasoline and diesel fuels double during his administration.
Obama's naive attempt to spend our way out of recession has dramatically increased the price of goods while median income plunged and unemployment skyrocketed.
Obama's uncontrolled spending an enormous deficits have led to the first two downgrade of the US Bond rating in our nation's history.
This is a record to run from, not one to run on.
Which brings us to the campaigns.
Contrasting Campaign Objectives
The Obama Campaign
Obama's campaign strategy was simple: Divert attention from his record by demonizing Mitt Romney.
This strategy is the same strategy he used to get elected to the Illinois legislature and the US Senate. However, in those cases, he had no record to run on, so he simply used highly unethical means to attack his opponents.
The Obama campaign strategy is the epitome of negative campaigning. By creating a fictional version of his opponent, Mitt Romney, Obama was then free to viciously attack his own fiction! How convenient it is to run such a campaign when the news media are compliant advocates of your election. Nobody to get in the way by pointing out the truth.
This worked brilliantly, giving Obama an early lead in every one of the battleground states where he spent his advertising funds.
Indeed, the Obama campaign consisted of abandoning his duties as President while crossing the country visiting at least two colleges a day where he could make promises to ease the financial burden of students (for their votes, of course) and demonizing Romney. Toss in fundraising events with the very wealthy of his constituents, and you have the model for the Obama campaign.
The only problem with that model is that when the series of debates began, his fictional version of Romney did not show up to debate him. Mitt Romney had the nerve to show up in person. The effect on Obama's composure and his campaign's direction will go down in history as the most stunning change since these "debates" began.
In short, the Obama negative campaign of demonizing Mitt Romney simply derailed and never really found a way to get back on track. A last ditch effort to come up with a plan rather than a slogan ("Forward") failed miserably when people actually read the Obama "plan," an unrealistic set of platitudes that amounted to nothing more than moving forward with the same disastrous approach that prevailed during the past four years of economic malaise.
Obama will discover that when you live by "the lie," you will most certainly die by "the lie."
The Romney Campaign
The Romney campaign has taken a much more positive approach. In his five point plan, Romney has identified a clear path to economic recovery, economic opportunity and energy independence.
Romney's positive approach to renewing American exceptionalism is a refreshing change from the Obama demonization machine.
When the real Romney was revealed during the debates, the Obama campaign could only whimper, "he lies" because Romney did not comply with the Obama campaign's fictional accounting of who he was. Does it get any more childish than that?
The Romney approach, letting Obama's record speak for itself and offering a positive alternative, is much more appealing to independents.
The Pre-Election Polls
Ever since the first debate the polls have shown a massive shift toward the Romney-Ryan ticket.
The momentum that had been building during October was interrupted in October's final week by Superstorm Sandy, a modern day unprecedented atmospheric assault on the northeast coast. That event gave hope to the Obama campaign as it diverted attention from his flailing campaign and allowed Obama to appear "presidential" in an appearance he made in New Jersey. However, the tarnish is rapidly returning to the Obama image after his quick return to his number one priority, getting re-elected, by jetting off once again to Nevada while there are still massive problems with FEMA's feeble response to the magnitude of Sandy's destruction. Evidently, the people will just have to wait until after the elections before he can give his undivided attention to their plight.
In the final days before the election, polls show a tightening of the race with many pollsters declaring it a "dead heat", particularly in key swing or battleground states. However, pundits have failed to take account of some obvious conclusions to be drawn from the latest data available.
A very recent Gallup survey of party affiliation among likely voters revealed that Romney's poll numbers are being significantly underestimated. This means that when pollsters adjust data to reflect anticipated turnout, they are seriously underestimating Romney's electoral strength. Consequently, "dead even" polls may actually be revealing a two to three percentage point higher advantage for Romney with polls not being dead even at all!
Even were it true that the polls actually are "dead even" the latest numbers include a number of "undecided" voters. These are the voters the pundits ignore when they declare that Obama may win because his vote turnout organization (which includes fraudulent votes, of course) will overcome a "dead even" race. We see numbers like 47% to 47%, 48% to 48%, and 49% to 49%. That means that those polls (often averages of a variety of polls, not all of which are sound) are showing 6%, 4%, and 2% "undecided". The third party candidates are normally excluded when polling between the two leaders, so the numbers reflect those undecided between the two leading candidates among those who will likely vote for one of them. Because historically this undecided vote breaks overwhelmingly for the challenger when there is an incumbent running, the edge must go to Romney in any "dead heat" polling.
Beyond the skew toward Obama already described, virtually every poll includes the 2008 demographic breakdown when weighing polling data. Any use of the 2008 demographic data to weigh poll results will be skewed in favor of Obama. 2008 was an aberration that will not be repeated in 2012. Some polls actually use only the 2008 breakdown of voters (these are the worst predictors for 2012). The reality is that while nobody really knows exactly what the breakdown will be, we do know it will not be anything like it was in 2008, thanks to a massive voter registration and voter roll cleanup effort be Republicans. One site that attempts to de-skew the polling (UnskewedPolls.com) predicts a Romney popular vote margin of 51.4% to Obama's 47.9% with a Romney electoral victory of 311 to 227.
There is another factor to consider and that is the impact of a bad economy on an election. For Obama to win re-election would be truly unprecedented in US election history. No sitting President has ever been re-elected with an economy in such horrendous condition. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, it was because he ran a campaign against a mild recession that pales into insignificance compared with the economic malaise Obama has presided over for four straight years while blaming everything on his predecessor. If Bill Clinton could be elected in a mild recession undergoing recovery (remember "It's the Economy, Stupid"?), then certainly it would be nothing short of astonishing for Barack Obama to be re-elected in the worst economic malaise since the Great Depression.
Americans do not like finger-pointing. They like their President to own up to his record. The "undecided" are in part undecided because Obama will not accept any responsibility for anything that has gone wrong during his administration. It's always somebody else's fault. This is childish and demeaning to the office and makes it difficult for an undecided voter to elect Obama.
Americans like an open and honest President. The mounting questions over the abandonment of Americans during the eight-hour terrorist attack on the US consular compound in Benghazi, Libya, reveal a stonewalling President Obama refusing to answer to what went on in his White House situation room during the attack and why he did not direct an immediate response by rapid deployment forces that could have saved at least two of the American lives and possibly all four. This is a more significant issue than pundits claim and it does bear on how an undecided voter will decide between Obama and Romney.
Summary and Prediction
Taking into account the persistent negativism of the Obama campaign and its impact on independent voters, the Obama campaign's inability to defend a glaringly horrendous record, Romney's campaign of optimism and a better future with a return to American exceptionalism and a rejection of a "new normal" of decline, and in consideration of the best interpretation of polling data, I believe our next President will be Mitt Romney.
Every factor points to Election Day 2012 reflecting the massive and unexpected turnout in support of "Chick-fil-A" on August 1. But this time the turnout will support the election of Mitt Romney and a renewal of pride in America for being the land of opportunity fueled by a free enterprise economic model against a backdrop of limited government and financial responsibility.
My own expectation is that Romney will win every state where Obama has not shown a polling majority in excess of 50% in final polling data. I base this on the fact that virtually every poll is skewed to favor Obama over Romney by more heavily weighting Obama's polling numbers. Add to that fact the massive advantage Romney has in voter enthusiasm to get out and vote on November 6, both FOR Romney and AGAINST Obama (two votes in one!), and the likely outcome is clear.
Because of the paucity of polling data available for Pennsylvania, it is hard to know whether Obama has the requisite support to sustain victory in that state. My gut feeling is that Romney will take Pennsylvania by a narrow margin. However, in midwestern states with more extensive polling, if Obama's best polling numbers are at or under 50% on election eve, then Romney will prevail in the real poll on November 6.
Based on the latest polling, I expect Romney to win Ohio with a comfortable margin that will have Ohio declared for Romney fairly early on election night. This will have some impact on voting in other close states in the Central time zone, notably Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin. All three could fall like dominoes into the Romney win column.
Best Electoral Romney Victory:
Likely Electoral Romney Victory:
In conclusion, watch Ohio. If Ohio goes for Romney, an electoral vote victory for Romney is inevitable.
One final footnote about FOX News election polling coverage. FOX News has been using Real Clear Politics polling averages to build their electoral map. Two things are disturbing about this approach. First, the RCP average includes the good, the bad, and the ugly and averages them all together. They are known to be skewed toward Obama and do not reflect the likely voter demographic turnout on November 6. Other than an occasional DIck Morris analysis, FOX seems oblivious to the well-established polling bias favoring Obama. Second, the colors used to shade the FOX News election map are very poorly chosen because they use a gray color for swing or undecided states that happens to be nearly impossible to distinguish from the light blue shading of the Obama-leaning states. This creates a false impression. It is no wonder that Britt Hume draws the absurd conclusion from a 48% to 48% tied vote that the undecideds will break about evenly among the two candidates when that runs contrary to historical precedent and the underlying data to achieve that "tie" is known to be biased toward Obama.
Biography - Bob Webster
Bob Webster, a descendant of Daniel Webster's father, Revolutionary War patriot Ebenezer Webster, has always had a strong interest in early American history, our Constitution, U.S. politics, and law. Politically he is a constitutional republican with objectivist and libertarian roots. He has faith in the ultimate triumph of truth and reason over deception and emotion. He is a strong believer in our Constitution as written and views the abandonment of constitutional restraint by the regressive Progressive movement as a great danger to our Republic. His favorite novel is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and believes it should be required reading for all high school students so they can appreciate the cost of tolerating the growth of unconstitutional crushingly powerful central government. He strongly believes, as our Constitution enshrines, that the interests of the individual should be held superior to the interests of the state.
A lifelong interest in meteorology and climatology spurred his strong interest in science. Bob earned his degree in Mathematics at Virginia Tech, graduating in 1964.