Everyone knows how bad Dick Morris swung and missed on his political predictions last cycle. This week, Piers Morgan interviewed Dick Morris about his recent travails:
While the mainstream press routinely reports that President Obama is riding high and that Republicans are reeling, Gallup tells a rather different story about the popularity of our newly reelected president. Across Gallup’s entire history of presidential job-approval polling — dating back to 1945 — every president but one has had a higher job-approval rating in the January following his reelection than Obama has. No president has had a lower rating than Obama’s.
While 52% may be comforting in terms of trying to prevail in an election, it does not set a very robust baseline from which to launch a second term. (Interesting note: Reagan, Nixon, and Eisenhower’s approval ratings at this stage of their respective presidencies dwarf President Obama’s.)
This likely comes as no surprise, but the way that Obama’s campaign team out-strategized the Romney team happened far earlier int he campaign process than many had assumed:
As usual, Keith Backer at the Battleground Watch blog has some really good information about the election. (If you don’t frequent his blog, and you’re an enthusiastic election follower, then I would recommend checking it out.)
A good piece in the Wall Street Journal digs deeper into the conventional wisdom regarding Romney’s loss. As it turns out, Romney’s turnout problems may have been worse than people previously thought. Sure, we know that he garnered about the same or less than McCain did in 2008. What we’re starting to see as the numbers are finalized throughout the country, is how poor he did amongst Hispanics. Obama did worse than 2008, but Gov. Romney failed to capitalize on the downturn. Obviously, there are many reasons for this. It’s the exception, not the rule, that one particular issue or gaffe (such as the famed comment made about the 47%).
What we are seeing is that the GOP needs to make a consistent and concerted effort to reach out to those groups who appear hesitant towards the conservative message.
This is the demographic argument that is getting so much attention, and properly so. The Republican Party can hope that a future Democratic candidate won’t equal Mr. Obama’s magnetism for minority voters. But the GOP would do far better by fighting aggressively for a piece of the minority electorate.
And that, for the record, was the GOP’s real 2012 turnout disaster. Elections are about the candidate and the message, yes, but also about the ground game. Republicans right now are fretting about Mr. Romney’s failures and the party’s immigration platform—that’s fair enough. But equally important has been the party’s mind-boggling failure to institute a competitive Hispanic ground game. The GOP doesn’t campaign in those communities, doesn’t register voters there, doesn’t knock on doors. So while pre-election polling showed that Hispanics were worried about Obama policies, in the end the only campaign that these voters heard from—by email, at their door, on the phone—was the president’s.
Often missed in talk of the GOP’s “demographics problem” is that it would take relatively modest minority-voter shifts toward Republicans to return the party to a dominating force. The GOP might see that as the enormous opportunity it is, rather than a problem. The key to winning turnout is having more people to turn out in the first place.
While it is true that Dick Morris swung and missed (by a wide margin) on this past election, he touches upon a wise strategic critique of the Republican Party. The GOP needs to get far better, and far faster, at responding to negative ads put forth by rivals. Our new motto should be, as Morris puts it, “ANSWER.”
There was a common belief throughout the campaign, that these negative ads weren’t having any real lasting effect. The evidence seemed to show that the race was tight, and with the conventional wisdom that late voters generally break for the challenger, as long as Romney was within striking distance he was in good shape. Well, that was “fighting the last war.”
Jim Messina, David Plouffe, and the rest of the Obama machinery, new that winning purely on their record was a long shot. Even those in the left leaning media, were surprised that Romney was not comfortably ahead given the status of the economy and unemployment rate. The negative ads proved highly effective in suppressing the GOP base. As a result, Romney’s campaign ultimately faltered.