Will Voter ID Laws Cost Obama Reelection?
July 16, 2012
The possibility that new voter-ID laws could disenfranchise thousands of Democratic- voters in pivotal swing states has received considerable attention recently. After all, 9.2 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania lack photo identification, including 18 percent of registered voters in heavily Democratic Philadelphia. But these flashy numbers might be misleading. If voter-ID laws have consequences for voter turnout, they’re difficult to detect. Several studies conducted in the wake of the 2006 midterms showed a weak correlation between tougher voter-ID laws and reduced turnout.
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.
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.
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.
The Insidious Legacy of the “Andy Griffith Show” Theme
July 06, 2012
I’m not blaming Andy Griffith—not the actor, who died this week in his home state of North Carolina at 86, the age he has always seemed to me. It’s not his fault that the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show had the impact that it had on me—and, I presume, on others who found themselves watching the series at some point during in its eight-year network run in the 1960s or in its perpetual cycle of cable reruns. The tune is, without question, one of the catchiest trifles ever composed for commercial consumption. It’s bouncy and swinging, with an angular, syncopated melody.
North Carolina is Still a Toss-Up
July 06, 2012
No state gives political analysts more headaches than North Carolina, a state that barely voted for Obama in 2008's clear national victory yet remains competitive in this year's much tighter race. Yesterday, the Washington Post reclassified North Carolina as leaning Romney; I disagree. Although most would concede that Romney has a slight but discernible advantage in the Tar Heel state, North Carolina is still a toss-up.
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.
Can North Carolina Be a Tipping Point State?
June 21, 2012
In 2008, Obama won North Carolina by less than 1 percent while winning by 7 percent nationally. After four years, Obama’s big national lead has vanished, but Obama and Romney are spending away in the populous and diverse mid-Atlantic state. According to the Washington Post’s ad-tracker, the two campaigns spent $1.7 million in North Carolina last week, similar to the other big battleground states like Florida ($1.8m), Ohio ($1.9m), and Virginia ($1.5m).