Free Markets, Free People
Seen today on an MSN newsfeed:
What does it say? It says the GOP is more screwed than we ever understood.
The “old ladies” are still predominant and now are fighting among themselves and attacking the Tea Party, which should, if you believe GOP propaganda, be a natural ally.
As long as that condition prevails, the GOP will remain a minority party in national politics. And yes, I know, there are some new faces attempting to emerge. But between the left, the media and the old ladies, their chances of emerging anytime soon without having their character assassinated are likely slim and none.
If you haven’t read Karl Rove’s analysis of the election, you ought too. Yeah, I know, Rove is partisan and all of that, but, like Michael Barone (who, by the way, has predicted a Romney win), he knows election demographics.
Rove makes a point that seems to be missed by a lot of people or, perhaps, ignored instead:
He maintains a small but persistent polling edge. As of yesterday afternoon, there had been 31 national surveys in the previous seven days. Mr. Romney led in 19, President Obama in seven, and five were tied. Mr. Romney averaged 48.4%; Mr. Obama, 47.2%. The GOP challenger was at or above 50% in 10 polls, Mr. Obama in none.
The number that may matter the most is Mr. Obama’s 47.2% share. As the incumbent, he’s likely to find that number going into Election Day is a percentage point or so below what he gets.
Why is that significant?
For example, in 2004 President George W. Bush had 49% in the final Gallup likely-voter track; he received 50.7% on Election Day. In 1996, President Clinton was at 48% in the last Gallup; he got 49.2% at the polls. And in 1992, President George H.W. Bush was at 37% in the closing Gallup; he collected 37.5% in the balloting.
If you can’t get above 47%, and your challenger is running above that number, chances are you aren’t going to win.
Then there are the polling demographics. Remember when I said that if a poll has D+ anything, it is likely wrong? I stand by that:
One potentially dispositive question is what mix of Republicans and Democrats will show up this election. On Friday last week, Gallup hinted at the partisan makeup of the 2012 electorate with a small chart buried at the end of its daily tracking report. Based on all its October polling, Gallup suggested that this year’s turnout might be 36% Republican to 35% Democratic, compared with 39% Democratic and 29% Republican in 2008, and 39% Republican and 37% Democratic in 2004. If accurate, this would be real trouble for Mr. Obama, since Mr. Romney has consistently led among independents in most October surveys.
So, assuming Gallup is right, and it is R+1 as we’ve been saying is likely here, what does that mean for the polling that’s going on?
Take a look at this handy little chart from RCP:
The chart makes the point about how important it is for the polling company to get the mix correct and the probability that many of them haven’t. If they’re not properly skewed, you aren’t going to get valid results. We know there are still polls being run out there with D+5 and up to D+8. Those were legitimate in 2008.
This ain’t 2008 (and you have to ignore 2010 to believe it is) by a long shot.
Then there’s this:
Gallup delivered some additional bad news to Mr. Obama on early voting. Through Sunday, 15% of those surveyed said they had already cast a ballot either in person or absentee. They broke for Mr. Romney, 52% to 46%. The 63% who said they planned to vote on Election Day similarly supported Mr. Romney, 51% to 45%.
So, what is happening is the Democrats are getting their most motivated voters to the polls early and they’re still running behind the GOP. If, in fact, that’s the case, then who will the Dems be trying to turn out on Tuesday and how successful will they be? It all comes down to enthusiasm, doesn’t it? And as measured, that too resides on the side of the GOP (well, except for the NYT poll, unsurprisingly):
Finally, while looking that that chart, remember that independents have been breaking large toward Romney. More than for any GOP candidate in recent history. Add all the other demographics that have shifted significant support from Obama in the last election to Romney in this one, not to mention the atmospherics that simply aren’t there for the incumbent and it is difficult to believe that Obama will win.
So, all that said, I’ll predict a Romney win with slightly over 50% and around 279 electoral votes. I’ll also predict that Nate Silver will be donating $1,000 to charity and David Axlerod’s mustache will be absent Wednesday of next week.
UPDATE: A reminder for all the doubters out there who want to dismiss Rove – In 2008 Karl Rove predicted an Obama win with 338 EVs (actual: 365)
Say what you will about Karl Rove, but he knows politics. He has an article in the WSJ today in which he talks about the president’s mistaken belief that he had the power to schedule an address before a joint session of Congress and how he was reminded what “co-equal branches of government” meant.
He then discusses why Obama had to move the speech and how it now ends up in non-primetime before the opening NFL game of the season. Which brings us to our quote of the day:
The great danger facing Mr. Obama tonight is that the public simply tunes him out, viewing his pronouncements as either irrelevant or annoying.
It’s been a dramatic fall for a man who was, his supporters assured us in 2008, America’s best orator since Abraham Lincoln. Now he’s reduced to a warm-up act for a football game.
Amazing how that works, no? Talk, talk, talk and no action and pretty soon, well, people begin ignoring you. Imagine that.
Oh, and on the leadership issue? Rove discusses some recent polling, compares it with some previous polling and then tells a simple truth:
There was one other telling number, buried in this week’s NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll: When he was inaugurated, 70% felt that Mr. Obama had "strong leadership qualities." Today, only 42% feel that way. And when voters stop seeing a president as a strong leader, they generally stop seeing him as president.
Call it our second quote of the day.
And yes, it may cost the Republicans a chance to take the seat in November.
So what? Sometimes it is more important to get the attention of the party. If that costs a seat, then so be it. And that message is being sent. Miller, Paul, Angle, and now O’Donnell.
This is what the GOP should take from this race:
"This shows that conservative energy at the grassroots is at tidal wave levels," said Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and GOP lobbyist. "It may well cost us the Delaware Senate seat, but the same phenomenon will help Republicans, particularly in House races in November."
That’s right. Key word: “conservative”. And that energy is only going to be maintained with candidates of which that “grassroots” group approves. Mike Castle wasn’t that candidate. The same story played out earlier in Utah where free spending and GOP establishment candidate Sen. Bob Bennett was defeated. Mike Lee, the eventual winner, ran on a rather simple platform that resonated:
"I’m a lifelong conservative and I’ve long stood for the idea we need to limit the power of government in order to make life better for Americans," said Lee, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The Bob Bennett’s and Mike Castles (one of the only Republicans to vote for cap and trade in the House) of the world don’t fit in that scenario. And while it may cost a “probable” Republican seat or two in this election, that’s the usual short-term horserace view that continues to get Republicans in trouble. It’s not just about the number of seats, but who is sitting in that seat. Republicans will have plenty of seats – enough to block any further big government nonsense by Democrats. But they have to be seats filled with occupants that aren’t as likely to side with Dems as the GOP.
What the O’Donnell victory should prove to the Republican hierarchy is the “grassroots” isn’t going to support their candidates just because they’ve been approved by the NRSC or NRCC and the backroom boys. They’ve been trying to tell them that for years. Now they’re actually taking action. The insurgents are alive, well, active and making a statement. And Mike Castle wasn’t the answer to their desires.
What the O’Donnell race points out – as it did in the other insurgent victories – is the “base” is not going to stand idly by while the NRSC chooses candidates that don’t live up to their wants and expects them to support that candidate. Especially if the candidate is an old establishment moderate that shows up with the other side as much as he shows up with his own side.
Naturally this doesn’t sit well with the power brokers in the GOP. Watch the petulant Karl Rove all but denounce O’Donnell after it is affirmed she’s taken Mike Castle down (via Hot Air):
Again you hear the number count as the prime motivation for the GOP. “Well we coulda hada seat.”
Yeah, and you could of had the usual sort of person in that seat spending as much time caucusing with the big government Democrats as with Republicans. So what good is it, really?
Certainly O’Donnell has baggage. But apparently the conservative voters in DE decided her baggage was much more acceptable than Castle’s votes. And, as you heard Rove say, they surged at the end, turning out in much higher numbers than expected. The NRSC can ignore that or they can go with it. It appears the establishment GOP in the form of the NRSC will choose not to help fund O’Donnell’s race. And, naturally, Mike Castle, the sore loser, has said he won’t endorse O’Donnell. That way, I guess, if she loses the establishment GOP can say, “see, we told you so. Listen to us, we know what’s good for you and Delaware”. Sound familiar?
Then look around you and take a look what listening to the establishment on either side of the political spectrum has given us to this point.