My mother and I have had a constant discussion about the upcoming Presidential debate. With the absence of Fred Thompson in the field, my love has very obviously turned to Mitt Romney. He is my candidate, and although I believe he’ll have the nomination wrapped up by the time the Virginia primaries, I would vote for him there and I’ll vote for him against Obama when the time comes.
My mother doesn’t think Mitt Romney has the chops to beat Obama come election day. (Although she’s not necessarily in disagreement that he should win from what I gather, she’s more disappointed that although everyone knows he is a middle of the road republican he has had to cater to the extreme right in some respects to win the nomination – a fact that I give him the one eyebrow on too.) I take a fairly different stance on why Romney will beat Obama, and it’s because the people who voted for Obama the first time are simply not going to vote again.
This morning, I got some numbers to back me up.
In 2008, more than 65 million Americans cast Democratic votes in congressional races, a 13 million-vote edge over the Republicans. In 2010, the Democratic vote dropped to 35 million, 6 million less than the Republicans, which took power in the House and evened out the Senate. Now, it could be argued that those numbers mean very little because it was a mid-term election. The presidential race historically always brings out much higher numbers than mid-terms because, well, voting for the President is important. (Although, this is a flaw in most people’s thinking – your congressional races are arguably more important but that’s a blog post for another day.)
The interesting part about this is where the numbers dropped – and where they didn’t:
- The number of voters under 24 who voted in 2010 dropped by 60 percent, and those between 24 and 29 by almost 50 percent. Young people, who overwhelmingly voted for Obama in 2008 declined by almost 11 million votes in the mid-terms.
- Among over-65-year-olds, the core of the Tea Party movement, the voting numbers barely changed, from 17.6 million in 2008 to 17.5 million in 2010.
- The African-American vote fell by 40 percent, and the Hispanic vote by almost 30 percent.
- Among the mostly white voters who earn more than $200,000 per year, the turnout fell by only 5 percent, from 7 million to 6.5 million.
- Voting by those with annual incomes under $30,000 dropped by 33 percent.
Overall, the democratic vote fell by about 50% across the board in the midterms, while the Republican vote stayed about the same. This election was 20 months into President Obama’s administration – and he had already lost 50% of the base that voted for him the first time. His approval rating was higher than then it is now – and the people who voted for him couldn’t go out and vote for the people he championed.
What does this mean for the upcoming election?
It means, that unless Obama can totally turn around the economy in the year he has left – the same numbers will plague him in the polls. It’s not that the democrats don’t like Obama, it’s just that they won’t be inspired to go to the polls, and if they don’t go to the polls, he won’t win. Obama is relying heavily on a group of people who have jobs that don’t give you off time to vote, who might not have reliable transportation to the polling location, and generally have bigger things to worry about than who is president. These people need to be inspired to take time out of their day to vote, otherwise they just become apathetic to the entire scene. (This is also, by the way, how Kerry lost in 2004 – he didn’t inspire the democratic base and they mostly stayed home.)
Republicans on the other hand, while not inspired by Mitt Romney to the level that the democrats were with Obama, won’t actually stay home and abstain from voting like the democrats do. The numbers, which I’m actually too lazy to go get, prove that the republicans typically go out and vote with the same frequency regardless of who the candidate is, and they vote republican.
My prediction is that unless President Obama can turn his entire ship around and motivate the left again, Mitt Romney will win.
Who will you be voting for in 2012?