Posts Tagged ‘2012’
Usually, when political hacks talk about the “undervote” we are talking about how many fewer votes a particular race had than votes for President or Governor in a district or state. However, the 2016 election exposed a new phenomenon: the presidential undervote.
In Arizona, there were 2,554,240 votes cast for President. However, there were a total of 2,661,497 ballots cast. That means that 107,257 people voted in the election but did not cast a vote for President. That is an astounding number when you compare it with the undervote in previous presidential elections. In 2012 it was 34,777, in 2008 it was 28,771, and in 2004 it was 28,734.
And the presidential undervote this year was not unique to Arizona. A Washington Post analysis shows that in the 33 state where they were able to collect the data, 1.7 million people cast a ballot but did not vote for President. Arizona ranked 2nd highest as a percentage of people who did not vote for President (behind Montana).
Obviously, the record number of people abstaining in the Presidential election is a reflection on the candidates. Donald Trump had some seriously unfavorable ratings heading into Election Day, as did Hillary Clinton. And Clinton didn’t inspire the Democratic base the way Obama did in 2008 and 2012.
Clinton was also a terrible candidate, and while the media fawned over the “amazing” operation coming out of Brooklyn, we now know that they were too smart for their own good. They made some assumptions about the election, created a model, and then never tested the model with inputs throughout the campaign.
On the morning of Election Day, internal Clinton campaign numbers had her winning Michigan by 5 points. By 1 p.m., an aide on the ground called headquarters; the voter turnout tracking system they’d built themselves in defiance of orders — Brooklyn had told operatives in the state they didn’t care about those numbers, and specifically told them not to use any resources to get them — showed urban precincts down 25 percent. Maybe they should get worried, the Michigan operatives said.
Nope, they were told. She was going to win by 5. All Brooklyn’s data said so.
President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign on the other hand was hopeful, but not confident, that he would pull off the win. They also had a data operation, but the difference was they were continuing to get inputs and making changes to strategy up to the weekend before the election. It was not just on a whim that Trump went to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the last days of the campaign.
The question is how will future Presidential elections look? Is the 2016 presidential undervote an anomaly, or is this the new normal? We won’t know for four more years.
Following the 1960 Presidential Election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon there were widespread allegations of voter fraud, particularly in Illinois and Texas.
Likewise, today there have been widespread allegations of voter fraud in Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and Miami.
What’s the difference? In 1960, it is actually possible that voter fraud may have made changed the outcome in Illinois and Texas. The raw vote difference in Texas was only 46,000 votes and in Illinois, a mere 9,000 votes.
This year’s election is much different. Obama won Florida by more than 74,000 votes, Ohio by 166,000 votes, Pennsylvania by 310,000 votes and Michigan by 449,000 votes.
Here is the point. There is no way that Obama stole the election. Is it possible to steal 74,000 votes in Florida? I suppose it’s possible – but even if Florida went to Romney, he still would have lost. It is not rational thinking, with the number of people watching the way elections are conducted, that the Democrats could have stolen enough votes to give Obama wins in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan or even Colorado which Obama won by 138,000 votes.
You just don’t steal landslides.
Yes, I believe that voter fraud exists, and that it could affect outcomes in legislative races and maybe even an occasional Congressional race. But there weren’t any Senate races for states for the President that voter fraud changed the outcome.
Republicans were plenty capable of losing all on their own.
This is the kind of headline that makes Obama campaign staffers queasy: AP-GfK Poll: More than half say Obama should lose
AP writes the story laying out the challenges that Obama faces going into next year’s election. These three paragraphs are particularly poignant:
For the first time, the poll found that a majority of adults, 52 percent, said Obama should be voted out of office while 43 percent said he deserves a second term. The numbers represent a clear reversal since last May, when 53 percent said Obama should be re-elected while 43 percent said he didn’t deserve four more years.
Separately, 49 percent expected Obama to win re-election while 48 percent think he will be voted out of office.
Obama’s overall job approval stands at a new low: 44 percent approve while 54 percent disapprove. The president’s standing among independents is worse: 38 percent approve while 59 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, the president holds steady with an approval rating of 78 percent while only 12 percent of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing.
Buried deep in the story is this nugget:
The poll found unpopularity for last year’s health care reform bill, one of Obama’s major accomplishments. About half of the respondents oppose the health care law and support for it dipped to 29 percent from 36 percent in June.
Just 15 percent said the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance.
Even among Democrats, the health care law has tepid support. Fifty percent of Democrats supported the health care law, compared with 59 percent of Democrats last June. Only about a quarter of independents back the law.
When your signature piece of legislation – what was supposed to become wildly popular after the Democrats passed it – is becoming a bigger and bigger millstone around Obama’s reelection hopes. And that’s not likely to change.
Congress and President Obama struck a deal to fund the government through next fall and avoided a shutdown.
What, you didn’t know anything about that? No surprise. I get the sense that the American people have tuned out the machinations of Washington lately. I’m going to call it the calm before the storm. There is no doubt that dark clouds are brewing and it’s going to be pretty rough for Washington – both Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats have more to lose – the Senate and the White House – and the Republicans who lose are more likely to go down in primaries to other Republicans. Let’s just say there is some serious angst out there.