Free Markets, Free People

Michael Barone: Slow-motion 1980?

Michael Barone is one of the few poll watchers I respect. I’ve watched him in any number of elections and he’s objectively called it the way he saw it, usually spot on, for whomever the facts indicated was in the lead. No spin, just good analysis.

Well, in this season of polling chaos, Barone is out with his look at some of the key indicators that help him analyze election trends and he seems to think we are seeing a preference cascade begin ala 1980 … just slower:

My other alternative scenario was based on the 1980 election, when vast numbers of voters switched from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan after their single debate one week before the election. In that debate, the challenger showed he had presidential stature and the incumbent president seemed petulant and small-minded.

We saw an even more vivid contrast between challenger and incumbent in the Oct. 3 debate. In the next two debates, Obama was definitely more focused and aggressive. But Romney held his own, and post-Oct. 16 polling showed him improving his standing even though many debate watchers thought Obama won on points.

What we may be seeing, as we drink from the firehose of multiple poll results pouring in, is a slow-motion 1980.

That reinforces my point about the first debate and something we’ve been saying since Oct. 3. That is the debate that mattered. And note also that in debates 2 and 3, Obama pulled a Carter. His stature was diminished by his actions. He, as Barone and many others have observed, came across as “petulant and small-minded”. Add arrogant and condescending, and you’ve captured it.  Oh, and by the way, his record, like Carter’s, is dismal.

Romney, on the other hand, came across exactly as he had to come across – competent, presidential, confident and, believe it or not, likable. He did what Ronald Reagan did – unfiltered by the media, he was able to convince Americans who tuned in that he was Presidential material. That he was a more than acceptable alternative to Obama.

All of that said, Barone isn’t claiming that this is a done deal by any stretch (“don’t get cocky kid”):

The usual caveats are in order. Exogenous events could affect opinion (Libya seems to have hurt Obama). The Obama ground game is formidable. Voters who switched to Romney could switch back again.

And if there is a larger reservoir of potentially changeable voters than in 2004, there was an even larger reservoir back in 1980, when Carter attracted white Southerners who now are firmly in Romney’s column.

Mechanical analogies can be misleading. Just because Romney has gained ground since Oct. 3 does not guarantee that he will gain more.

But also keep in mind that Romney gained not just from style but from fundamentals. Most voters dislike Obama’s domestic policies and are dissatisfied with the sluggish economy. And now they seem to believe have an alternative with presidential stature.

So, while we apparently have a preference cascade beginning, is it enough?  And will it peak at the right time.  Will it be a slow steady climb to election day?  Will it plateau?  Will it stop short of the majority Romney needs?  Obviously we won’t know that until election night (or, perhaps, the next day).  But suffice it to say, the upward trend is obvious.

How it will play out, however, remains to be seen.


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39 Responses to Michael Barone: Slow-motion 1980?

  • Standing by my prediction of some months…

    Sea-change election, flushing the Obamic Decline

    • While I’ve felt that for a while, I can add a small bit of anecdotal evidence.  I live in a small mountain resort in CO.  I am presently attending family business in the lakes district of NH.  I drove from the former to the later, with stops in eastern SD, NW IL, and southern NY (but not NYC).  The dismay towards what Obama promised and what he delivered was palpable.  In all community’s, the yard signs are overwhelmingly right.  In all local conversations has been a muted disgust with our current administration.
      I think it will be a Reagenesque blowout – I only hope Romney can follow with solidifying core conservative/neo-libertarian policies.

  • Well, you all can believe what you want but I am going with the authoritative, scientific, and pragmatic Moosedropping Univ. poll, which says “Nyah, nyah, nyah. Ideological wingnuts gonna lose! So there!”.

    • Your kind of thinking is being left behind. Further, I think you know it. That’s why you’re so frustrated and angry here all the time.

      You are all sterile, shallow, inbred, and other non-insulty things. You used to have interesting things to say, and some of you even engaged me as an equal so that I could handwave away anything you say. It was good practice to keep my godlike powers of political science nice and sharp. But now you just insult me, which proves that you know I’m right. Stop laughing.

      I’ve been saying for years that Obama was almost certain to be re-elected. But Romney did a good job with the first debate, though he lost the other two. So he might win. Which doesn’t contradict what I’ve been saying for years. It’s just that, from my exalted perch here in the faculty lounge, I see the whole landscape of the election. I see the multiplicity of factors, swirling around us, like the melody in a Styx song. So Romney might win. But he probably won’t.

      Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself, for I contain multitudes. Ah, who are we kidding. I never contradict myself. I merely look at all points of view, unlike you dense righties. And then, with my power over the holy writ of post-modernism, I shape a narrative after the fact that proves beyond a doubt that I predicted it all.

      Now, you’re about to bring up how I was wrong about 2010, which I wasn’t, and my apology for being wrong a couple of months after the election doesn’t count. I had momentarily forgotten my conversation with an Airedale I met during a walk around campus, where I said the Democrats would be lucky to hold the House even though I had predicted they would only lose a dozen or two seats a couple of weeks earlier.

      And so it is this time around. It’s depressing that the candidate supported by that racist Sarah Palin might win, but I look at the bright side. It will leave wise pragmatic moderate leftists like me free to concentrate on climate change, and defeating you all politically to save the planet and keep you from hurting my gender-neutral children.

      Though I’ll need to contemplate a bit about how my courses will change if Obama loses. I’ll need to spend some time in the basement, probably combining my contemplation with cleaning out the infestation of giant magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face and ample bosom. They get worse whenever Romney’s poll numbers go up. In fact, I could swear one of them had Paul Ryan’s face, but when I looked, it had gone back to Palin’s, so it must have been a trick of the light.

      • “…and other non-insulty things.”
        OMG. I love that line. Bless you.
        “my gender-neutral children.”
        An unfortunate side effect of not having a masculine roll model in the nuclear family.

      • “ample bosom”
        Thank you. I was a little nervous that this would missed.

  • Polls show a small but consistent Romney lead.
    The old axiom – it’s all about turnout – will be even more true this time around. Obama was elected in a D+ wave election. He won Ohio by 5 in a D+8 turnout I believe. His dead credibility with Indies will lose him this state, and this election.
    Folks…..this isn’t gonna be a D+8 turnout. R turnout will be very close to 2010. Guarantee D’s won’t match 2008 under any circumstances.  The closer to even this runs, the bigger margin of R victory. Even something like D+3 won’t be enough to save Obama.
    I’m calling it right now. Romney takes it. If I’m wrong, save this and laugh at me later. I suspect we’d all need a good laugh anyway if that happens.

    • I won’t be laughing if you’re wrong.

    • Ypu have many Black ministers telling their flocks to “get the flock out of there” and stay home because of Obama’s gay marriage evolution.

      • Well, that and Democrats were (are?) vampires who kept slaves as victims.    Just sayin.
        Abraham Lincoln, vampire hunter.
        I wonder if the author of that book considered the political ramifications of the plot foundation.  You can be I did while watching the movie  🙂

  • Intade still shows 60/40 for The Dear Golfer.

  • Since 1980 “we” (the USA) have produced two more generations of public-school/welfare-state/post-modern psycho morons.
    Yet, something deep down in the American character still thrives, somehow, somewhere.

  • In one lefty site after another, they are pinning their hopes on the Ground Game.  Shark is correct, the turnout was +7 in Ohio in 2008 from the exit polling.  One of the recent polls taken in Ohio shows the race deadlocked at 47-47, but the independnets swing toward Romnay at a +15% clip (53-38).  The only reason, the poll shows it deadlock is the D edge is +8!  I could even believe Dem +3-5 but +8?

  • Off-topic, but…
    Is anyone besides me appalled at the Panetta apologia respecting why no military response was made in Benghazi?

    • In the aftermath of the attack, Panetta reminded reporters that the Pentagon deployed a Marine fleet anti-terrorist security team to Tripoli and had Navy ships off the coast.
      “And we were prepared to respond to any contingency. And certainly had forces in place to do that,” he said.
      Which is it, you didn’t have enough info, or you were prepared for any contingency you can’t have it both ways Leon and you will almost NEVER have aboslute intelligence in a fluid situation.

      • I kinda thought getting emails, having at least one drone aloft, and being able to pick up a sat phone would have provided a clue.
        What I suspect the real story was…nobody could get Valerie Jarret on the blower.

        • If they were sending or assembling a team, and the attack stopped before they could get there, THAT’s understandable.  But to imply they didn’t know enough to make an attempt is crap.

    • Yes.
      You don’t sit on your hand during an attack. You move, then make an assessment when your people (troops) are on site.
      Geez…rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns aren’t a significant clue? Only for the people whose military “experience” is watching M.A.S.H. re-runs.

  • “Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Pentagon reporters that U.S. forces were on a heightened state of alert already because of the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by al Qaeda.”
    But the truth appears to be having them in a heightened state of alert didn’t mean they were prepared to actually use them.
    It’s great that the troops might have been alert to defend themselves, but now we can demand perfect intelligence or claim we can’t mount them up for anything else. Add to that, I suspect they’ve found Donald Rumsfeld’s 8000 mile screwdriver in the basement of the White House and people locally who have the resources and might know enough of what is going on to take action have to wait on the end of the phone until the comfort level in the White House is at a sufficient level to turn the screw.
    And unless your crisis can wait 5 or 6 days, there is NOTHING that THIS White House will decide in an expedient time frame.

  • Obviously spoken in conservative words.   Barone is nothing but a conservative editorialist.


    • His digs at Martha’s Vineyard might be damaged, ya’ know! 🙂

    • You forgot,
      before he flies to Lost Wages.

  • Case in point – new OH poll has Obama up by 2……using a D+9 sample.
    So OH has gotten even MORE Dem than it was following a historic wave election?  This screams Romney by 3 there next Tues. And oh so many people with lost credibility