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Malstrom’s Mea Culpa
Posted by: MichaelW on Wednesday, November 05, 2008

He went (way) out on a limb and it broke. You've gotta give him kudos for owning up to it though:
Well, I was wrong. I was expecting Obama not to perform as well as Kerry, especially in Pennslyvania (which Obama did perform better coming out of Philly), and for McCain to perform slightly better than Bush in those areas.

Political analysts will be crunching the post-election data for quite some time. In the end, I believe it will come down to people seeing Obama as a ‘fresh face’, McCain being totally inconsistent on message (when you think of Obama, you think ‘change’. When you think of McCain, you don’t think of a slogan). In the end, you must have people vote for you, not against another guy. McCain gave plenty of reasons to vote against Obama, but not too many to vote for him ...

Anyway, playing the contrarian can make you very right and, alas, very wrong. But if you don’t play a game and make a prediction with reasons why, then what’s the fun?
The bolded sentence above, I think, probably explains a good deal of why McCain lost. In the end, Obama delivered a stronger message, and the voters bought what he was selling. Whether they actually will want what they bought remains to be seen, but there's no question that Obama was the better salesman.

According to Capt. Ed, a lethal result of McCain's failed message was that some 7 Million fewer Republicans showed up the polls than in 2004:
In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry by winning 62.04 million votes. In 2008, Obama won 62.443 million, a gain of only 400,000. In 2004, Kerry garnered 59.028 million votes; John McCain only got 55.386 million. That means this election saw 3.24 million fewer votes than four years ago. Far from being more energized, the nation appeared to be more apathetic.

Using these numbers, we can see that Barack Obama succeeded in turning out his base much more effectively than McCain did his. How do we know that it’s a base turnout rather than a tsunami of opinion to Democrats? For one thing, Dems didn’t pick up a boatload of new seats in the House, and they may underperform expectations yet in the Senate. They did gain some strength with independents, but only gaining between 11-20 seats in the House tells us that they found votes in districts they already control, more than finding converts.

[...]

John McCain and the GOP didn’t get their turnout in this race. They lost almost seven million voters from 2004, a rather stunning number. We’ll be chewing on this for a while, but that’s more than 10% of the Bush vote that got lost in this election. Did they stay home, or did significant numbers of them defect to Obama? I’m guessing the former. The GOP demoralized their base by acting like Democrats for too many years, and the winds of “change” proved too dispiriting this time around.
Ed may be right, but from my experience here in Northern Virginia I'd have to say that Obama's GOTV effort, and overall campaign apparatus, was much more efficient and effective. That being said, it sure didn't help that McCain offered little reason for people to vote for him than against Obama which, incidentally, is how John Kerry ran his campaign in 2004.

In any event, I hope that Malstrom's huge error in analysis doesn't dissuade people from continuing to read his other offerings, as they are quite good. He took a chance and failed, but I don't think that means he has nothing to offer. At least he has integrity, as evidenced by his mea culpa.
 
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Hmmm....tell you what, if GOP turnout had been as high, McCain could’ve pulled it off, which speaks against the "Palin drag" among "independents" some are touting. Meaning Palin wasn’t the problem here, and hopefully we hear from her again.

Message to the GOP: When you neglect your base, your base neglects you.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McCain being inconsistant? Well, maybe.

I gotta tell ya, though that part of McCain’s problem is that while campaigns are usually won and lost on a small set of issues, Obama’s issue list was so long as to prevent focusing on the small issue set. You might call Obama a ’target rich environment’.

And Shark, I gotta agree with you, here. Or more correctly, you seemingly agree with that point as I made it last night.

IN fact, if you’ll read the post, I said this was going to happen... McCain was going to lose... because McCain was ignoring the base... and said in Mid October.

And to complete the circle...
A look at history is helpful, here… and with that let’s be honest, now… Reagan happened because of the walking disaster that was and is Jimmy Carter. We now have in Obama someone who comes down to Carter’s left… which is something, I must say, I didn’t consider possible in Presidential politics until recently. There are many Americans… (in this cycle, they call themselves Obama supporters) … who don’t give a crap about politics until such time as it hits them in the wallet. I’m telling you, people, it will, with Obama, even worse than with Carter…and we need a serious conservative out front to capitalize on it as we did in 1980.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
7 Million fewer Republicans showed up the polls than in 2004
In other words, not a single Independent voted for Bush in 2004? Where does Ed get the idea that all of those people that didn’t vote for McCain were Republicans?
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
Capt. Ed’s numbers are wrong. Turnout this time was probably around 130 million. Turnout in 2004 was around 122 million. Capt. Ed just added up the vote thus far without realizing that they’re still adding up the vote. Check back in a couple days for the real numbers.
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Where does Ed get the idea that all of those people that didn’t vote for McCain were Republicans?
That’s a good point. But it does stand to reason that a goodly portion of them were, unless there’s some reason to think that Independents sat out this election.
Capt. Ed’s numbers are wrong. Turnout this time was probably around 130 million. Turnout in 2004 was around 122 million. Capt. Ed just added up the vote thus far without realizing that they’re still adding up the vote. Check back in a couple days for the real numbers.
Jeff, if you haven’t already, see here.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
BO’s campaign organization was miles ahead of Mac’s. Miles. I donated multiple thousands to McPalin and the RNC, and had a couple of snail mail thank yous to show for it. I signed my cell up for BO’s updates (to learn whether I won a "Biden as VP" bet) and was barraged with updates on the campaign, GOTV efforts, where I could volunteer, and last night, 3 minutes after BO clinched, a thank you TXTed from the campaign. Throw in the money advantage and it is amazing McPalin kept it as close as they did.

Whoever is running the show in 2012 should be taking copious notes from the campaign BO just ran.
 
Written By: Tom Mathers
URL: http://
That’s a good point. But it does stand to reason that a goodly portion of them were, unless there’s some reason to think that Independents sat out this election.
Or unless they chose to vote for Obama. Which is the whole point of elections, people choose.
 
Written By: Nikolay
URL: http://
I’m seeing the phrase "Obama Republican" turning up in the Florida press. Not by the press, but self-identification in interviews and letters to the editor in Central Florida (Florida’s "swing" area).

We also had Amendment 2 on the ballot, which passed (barely topping the required 60%), defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Perhaps the problem in much of the country was Republican turnout...but I think here, part of the base simply deserted.
 
Written By: Silussa
URL: http://
The biggest fear of Americans is that their country becomes like Canada
Lol@malstrom. You made me waste precious seconds reading that garbage.
 
Written By: TomD
URL: http://
1. I am sure some Republicans voted for Obama simply to be part of a historic election and "prove" they are not racist. Plus the bandwagon effect.

2. I am sure some Republicans stayed home or voted for Obama simply because they are emotionally very tired of having to defend their ideology and leaders after 8 years of the MSM and peers bashing Bush, etc. I, for one, met Obama’s win with some mental relief. Opposition is much easier on the psyche. Plus they can hope this punishes the GOP into reforming.

Which effect is bigger? I suspect #2.

I do regret not voting for Obama now. Thinking about it, I realize that if I voted for him, I could have had a free reign to criticize him, sort of an inoculation against the "racist" charges that could come.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Since Malstrom has comments closed, please convey my thanks to him for at least brightening up my gloomy morning and putting a bounce (albeit temporary) in my step on Nov. 4th. Unlike Tom above, I enjoyed the article even though Sean’s prediction was off. I will visit him again as he can be self-effacing and is a good writer with an engaging style.
 
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