Achilles Tar Heel
July 13, 2012
IN 2008, Barack Obama won the presidency with a coalition that was impressive in its range: Young people loved him, African Americans overwhelmingly supported him, and he was a hit with college graduates. But he also picked up votes in key states from working-class whites—a group he’d struggled to win over in the Democratic primaries. Four years later, that coalition isn’t looking so good. Obama remains popular with minorities and college-educated whites, but enthusiasm among white working-class voters has collapsed.
Why Obama Shouldn't Be Taking the Black Vote for Granted
July 12, 2012
There’s no question that Hispanics are among the most coveted voting blocs for November’s election. Numerically, they’re the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. population. Major media regularly monitor their presidential preferences.
Super PAC Expands Midwestern Playing Field
July 12, 2012
If there’s anywhere the GOP’s fundraising advantage could pay dividends, it’s in the demographically vulnerable and undefended flank of Obama’s path to 270: the Upper Midwest.
Romney At The NAACP: A Filial Tragedy
July 11, 2012
Mitt Romney’s appearance at the NAACP convention in Houston was the occasion for much media tittering—after all, the candidate’s prior attempts to ingratiate himself with African-Americans had produced some awkward moments. The speech did not disappoint in the awkwardness department — Romney opened with a cringe-worthy line of praise for the convention’s organ music, and the same organ later tried to prematurely usher him off the stage, like a verbose Oscar recipient.
The Chart That Explains The Current Electoral Map
July 10, 2012
The contours of the electoral map might seem disorienting to those accustomed to the old red-blue divide of the last decade. A bevy of states haven’t returned to their Bush-era patterns—instead, they've moved in opposite directions. Traditionally Republican North Carolina remains doggedly competitive, and Romney isn’t even contesting New Mexico. At the same time, Obama is well beneath 50 percent in states that he carried by 10 percent or more in 2008, like Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Don't Try This at Home, J-School Grads
July 09, 2012
A few years ago, national journalists discovered Detroit—or, rather, discovered that the city of Detroit was a dream subject. Its ruins of abandoned buildings made for astounding photo spreads of an apocalyptic wasteland, and writers big and small tried to wrestle with the question of how the former auto capitol of the world could have turned into this shell of a city. Detroiters hate these stories, say they’re the journalistic equivalent of rubber-necking.
New Data on Obama's Massive Demographic Advantage
July 09, 2012
It’s widely acknowledged by political observers that the country’s demographic change in the last four years—particularly the increase in minority voters and decline of white non-college voters—favors President Obama’s re-election bid. What’s less obvious is exactly how much these changes favor Obama—especially in the swing states that loom so large in this coming election. These data can be hard to come by.
NBC/Marist Polls Show A Balanced Electoral Map
June 29, 2012
When NBC/WSJ released a poll showing Obama up by 3 points nationally but by 8 in the swing states, it predictably led many to conclude that Obama has a larger lead in the swing states than he does nationally. But as acknowledged here and here, the evidence for a structural Obama advantage in the Electoral College is unpersuasive, at least at this early stage. Just one day later, NBC released three polls conducted by Marist University showing a tight race in three critical battlegrounds: North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Michigan.
So, you think Obama leads by 8 percentage points in the swing states, as suggested by last night’s NBC/WSJ survey? Before you jump on the bandwagon, understand what that entails: a blowout. In 2008, Obama carried NBC/WSJ’s twelve swing states by 7.7 percentage points. A result like last night’s poll would require a repeat performance, even as most polls show Obama’s standing substantially worse than four years ago. Obama’s big 7.7 percent advantage was driven by decisive victories in several states, including big states like Michigan and Pennsylvania.
More information is usually for the best, but last night’s NBC/WSJ poll took an unusual step that could detract from our understanding of the horse race. In addition to reporting Obama’s 3 percentage point lead, NBC/WSJ decided to note that Obama leads by 8 percentage points in 12 swing states: the ten true battlegrounds where both sides are investing resources, plus Michigan and New Mexico (rolls eyes). Predictably, political reporters have jumped on this data, implying that Obama holds a structural advantage in the Electoral College.