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Thread: The Post Mortem

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    Politics.ie Member livingstone's Avatar
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    Default The Post Mortem

    OK, so I thought it would be useful to have a new thread to discuss the political consequences of last night’s results. This isn’t about how awful it is that Barack Obama won, or how awful that those nice Libertarians didn’t win, or how awful drone strikes are. If you want to have a whinge about how the poor white people are being victimised or how much you hate Romney, take it somewhere else. This should be about what lessons are taken from the results.

    The Polls Are Right
    The polls showed a narrow popular vote win for Obama but a clear advantage for Obama in the EV. As it turns out, the polls have been broadly right. Ohio showed a likely Obama win by a few points, and so it was. VA and FL both showed toss-ups and so it was. There was a lot of clutching at straws on here and elsewhere that the polls were wrong, their sampling was wrong etc. What we can conclude is that polling companies are businesses and have a vested interest in getting it right, and they generally have the tools to get it right. Dismissing the polls (certainly of established firms) is not analytically sound without a real, sound basis.

    Party Affiliation Weighting is Bunkum
    This was my big bugbear. Poll after poll we saw posters here and GOP folk say that it couldn’t possibly be right because their ‘sample’ of Democrats was too high. The problem is that the number of Democrats and GOP answering polls was a natural figure – i.e. that is what the polls was finding. We repeatedly heard that Democrat turnout would not be the same as 2008, but never an explanation as to why repeated polls were showing strong Democrat turnout. My view was always that the polls should show what the polls show – party affiliation is too fluid a metric to control for. Calls for weighting affiliation at a given level were, essentially, calls for pollsters to ignore the polling data and substitute it with their own subjective judgement of what they thought party affiliation would be. That proved to be very misguided, and it turns out that the reasons polls were showing strong Democratic turnout was because that was what was going to happen. Of course, I’ve also said that this data in itself is difficult to rely on because it is such a fluid metric – I think many people will give the answer that fits most with their voting preferences (e.g. someone who voted for McCain, Bush and Dole but who now votes Obama might affiliate as a Democrat despite all other factors indicating that they are more Republican).

    Independents Are More Right Wing

    An interesting point was made by Paul Begala on CNN last night. Much has been made about the extent to which Romney won independents. His point is that the Democrats have succeeded in converting independents to Democrats, hence the Democrat advantage in party affiliation stats. But as a result of left-leaning independents coming to identify as Democrats, the collective positioning of the remaining independents will move rightward. The other point was that some on the far right no longer identify as GOP, feeling it is too centrist, and they have come to infiltrate the ranks of independents. So independents are now more right wing and more likely in the future to break for the GOP, but the upside for the Democrats is that the advantage they enjoy in party affiliation is becoming more clear and more solid.

    Gay Rights are No Longer Toxic

    In 2004, Bush used gay marriage as a tool to bring out the vote. It was unthinkable then that any President could be vocally supportive of gay marriage and still win the Presidency. Last night, for the first time in the US, a public ballot approved gay marriage and a President and Vice President who has been the most pro-LGBT rights President in history won re-election. A year ago when he announced his support, there were questions about how that would play in key swing states, particularly in Virginia, Ohio and Florida. Obama’s win sends a message – it is no longer an electoral liability to be actively supportive of LGBT rights. So more and more national politicians can start to ‘come out’ for gay marriage and other LGBT rights issues. The GOP has lost this particular battle, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

    The GOP’s Women and Minorities Problem is Real
    There should be no doubt – this should have been a blow-out for Romney. The economy is in a poor position, albeit getting better. Romney had a cash advantage and had been running for President for six years. The reason is simple – they lost women and they lost latinos. The latter, in particular, means that Nevada and Colorado are looking increasingly blue, along with New Mexico which now seems solidly blue. The problem becomes that there is nothing to suggest that the GOP will move towards reaching out to women and minorities, and also, the other problem on the horizon is that if Clinton runs in 2016, that coalition of women and minorities will not be unravelled by the GOP.

    The Blue Leaning Swing States Aren’t Really Swing States
    All the talk of Romney winning Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was just talk. He won them all reasonably comfortably.

    Nate Silver’s Stock is Sky High
    Expect to see Nate Silver command tremendous power in what he does next. The NYT did well to get him on board when no one knew who he was. Now he can essentially name his price for political and polling commentary after getting the popular vote almost bang on, along with, it seems, all fifty states.

    The threads on here have been really good, notwithstanding the attempts of the lunatics and racists to derail them. Despite disagreeing with them, posters like NYCKY and Skyrocket have been quite informative and analytical. I hope p.ie can continue to have decent posters on US politics (on both sides) and that the lunatics and racists can be ignored.

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    Politics.ie Member Victor Meldrew's Avatar
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    I'd qualify the gay issue in that it was not toxic this time. Wait till Obama steps down in 2016 and see who is running then.

    The Republicans need to realise that courting the tea party window lickers killed Romney. As did their competition selecting Mitt versus santorum, bachmann, perry and others... Too much crazy for too long..

    They need to realise that faced with a two horse race, the Tea party / flat earth / inbred bible thumpin' nuts will default to REP or stay away.

    Romney would have been electable if they had a less religious running mate. If Ryan had just been a secular libertarian / small govt guy, they would have made it.

    On top of "legitimate Rape". this sunk it.

    You don't win elections by scaring women....

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    Politics.ie Member livingstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor Meldrew View Post
    I'd qualify the gay issue in that it was not toxic this time. Wait till Obama steps down in 2016 and see who is running then.

    The Republicans need to realise that courting the tea party window lickers killed Romney. As did their competition selecting Mitt versus santorum, bachmann, perry and others... Too much crazy for too long..

    They need to realise that faced with a two horse race, the Tea party / flat earth / inbred bible thumpin' nuts will default to REP or stay away.

    Romney would have been electable if they had a less religious running mate. If Ryan had just been a secular libertarian / small govt guy, they would have made it.

    On top of "legitimate Rape". this sunk it.

    You don't win elections by scaring women....
    I don't think any of the likely Democrat nominees in 2016 will row back on the advances in LGBT rights either as a candidate or in the General. The likely candidates, excluding Clinton, are Cuomo and O'Malley - both of whom Govern states that have legalised same-sex marriage; or Biden, who pre-empted Obama's support. If, as I hope, Clinton runs, then her track record is certainly not against gay rights. Being pro gay marriage is going to become the new normal within the Democrats, which I think is a good thing.

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    Politics.ie Member seabhcan's Avatar
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    Peurto Rico voted to become the 51st state of the Union. Thats a big deal. Last time the US expanded was Hawaii and Alaska in the 1950's.

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    Dylan2010
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    its going to be a horrible 4 years for Obama , most likey the US fall back into a recession that will make 2008 look like happy days, the rest is just naval gazing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by livingstone View Post
    I don't think any of the likely Democrat nominees in 2016 will row back on the advances in LGBT rights either as a candidate or in the General. The likely candidates, excluding Clinton, are Cuomo and O'Malley - both of whom Govern states that have legalised same-sex marriage; or Biden, who pre-empted Obama's support. If, as I hope, Clinton runs, then her track record is certainly not against gay rights. Being pro gay marriage is going to become the new normal within the Democrats, which I think is a good thing.
    Orwellian.

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    Moderator NYCKY's Avatar
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    Last nights results give a lot of food for thought as well as probably some indigestion for Republicans.

    Absolutely correct in that Gay Rights are no longer the toxic issue they once were. I think two states passed same sex marriage initiatives yesterday which would have been unthinkable even 8 years ago. Tammy Baldwin was elected to the Senate and 3 or 4 openly gay Congressmen were also reelected. Everybody now has a gay cousin/coworker/colleague etc and attitudes have changed across the country. This issue needs to become what gun control became to the Democrats, they don't have to support it or embrace it but they have to learn to live with it and tolerate it.

    The Republicans have to do something on immigration and not just out of pandering but because it is a problem and that means compromising on the central issues, offering a path, an amnesty by some other name, but they have to move on it.

    The Republicans have to do more to attract minorities. Of the five non white Governors, four are Republicans and of the three Latino Senators, two are Republican, Mia Love came close to becoming the first black female Republican Congresswoman (but fell short) that said there is a dearth minorities in the Leadership and throughout the party that has to be addressed.


    Also, the Republican leadership needs to grasp the bull by the horns and start "imposing" candidates by working early to recruit and push electable candidates the way the Democrats did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by livingstone View Post
    The threads on here have been really good, notwithstanding the attempts of the lunatics and racists to derail them. Despite disagreeing with them, posters like NYCKY and Skyrocket have been quite informative and analytical. I hope p.ie can continue to have decent posters on US politics (on both sides) and that the lunatics and racists can be ignored.
    I just wanted to highlight this bit. Both NYCKY and Skyrocket argued their cause in a cogent and always polite manner. I didn't always agree with them (obviously) but I always took what they had to say on board and came away better informed.

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    Politics.ie Member livingstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYCKY View Post
    Last nights results give a lot of food for thought as well as probably some indigestion for Republicans.

    Absolutely correct in that Gay Rights are no longer the toxic issue they once were. I think two states passed same sex marriage initiatives yesterday which would have been unthinkable even 8 years ago. Tammy Baldwin was elected to the Senate and 3 or 4 openly gay Congressmen were also reelected. Everybody now has a gay cousin/coworker/colleague etc and attitudes have changed across the country. This issue needs to become what gun control became to the Democrats, they don't have to support it or embrace it but they have to learn to live with it and tolerate it.

    The Republicans have to do something on immigration and not just out of pandering but because it is a problem and that means compromising on the central issues, offering a path, an amnesty by some other name, but they have to move on it.

    The Republicans have to do more to attract minorities. Of the five non white Governors, four are Republicans and of the three Latino Senators, two are Republican, Mia Love came close to becoming the first black female Republican Congresswoman (but fell short) that said there is a dearth minorities in the Leadership and throughout the party that has to be addressed.


    Also, the Republican leadership needs to grasp the bull by the horns and start "imposing" candidates by working early to recruit and push electable candidates the way the Democrats did.
    This last bit is vital. If Boehner and McConnell - and they are now the leaders of their party - want to ensure a future for their party, they absolutely have to find a way to wrest control from the extremists. Two cycles in a row now, winnable Senate seats have been thrown away by having rubbish candidates. The fact is now clear - there is not enough room for both moderates and hardline Conservatives at the top of the GOP and McConnell and Boehner have to decide how they are going to return the GOP to being an acceptable party of the centre right which is grounded in fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility and limited Government (note, I didn't say 'no Government').

    How do they do that? Beats me - but the next four years will tell if there is room in the GOP for the two wings or whether they will split into a centre right party and a far right party. One step is to put people like Susanna Martinez and Kelly Ayotte front and centre. The big problem for them is that their next big call is how to avoid a fiscal cliff at the end of the year - and that process will bring out the crazies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by livingstone View Post
    OK, so I thought it would be useful to have a new thread to discuss the political consequences of last night’s results. This isn’t about how awful it is that Barack Obama won, or how awful that those nice Libertarians didn’t win, or how awful drone strikes are. If you want to have a whinge about how the poor white people are being victimised or how much you hate Romney, take it somewhere else. This should be about what lessons are taken from the results.

    The Polls Are Right
    The polls showed a narrow popular vote win for Obama but a clear advantage for Obama in the EV. As it turns out, the polls have been broadly right. Ohio showed a likely Obama win by a few points, and so it was. VA and FL both showed toss-ups and so it was. There was a lot of clutching at straws on here and elsewhere that the polls were wrong, their sampling was wrong etc. What we can conclude is that polling companies are businesses and have a vested interest in getting it right, and they generally have the tools to get it right. Dismissing the polls (certainly of established firms) is not analytically sound without a real, sound basis.

    Party Affiliation Weighting is Bunkum
    This was my big bugbear. Poll after poll we saw posters here and GOP folk say that it couldn’t possibly be right because their ‘sample’ of Democrats was too high. The problem is that the number of Democrats and GOP answering polls was a natural figure – i.e. that is what the polls was finding. We repeatedly heard that Democrat turnout would not be the same as 2008, but never an explanation as to why repeated polls were showing strong Democrat turnout. My view was always that the polls should show what the polls show – party affiliation is too fluid a metric to control for. Calls for weighting affiliation at a given level were, essentially, calls for pollsters to ignore the polling data and substitute it with their own subjective judgement of what they thought party affiliation would be. That proved to be very misguided, and it turns out that the reasons polls were showing strong Democratic turnout was because that was what was going to happen. Of course, I’ve also said that this data in itself is difficult to rely on because it is such a fluid metric – I think many people will give the answer that fits most with their voting preferences (e.g. someone who voted for McCain, Bush and Dole but who now votes Obama might affiliate as a Democrat despite all other factors indicating that they are more Republican).

    Independents Are More Right Wing

    An interesting point was made by Paul Begala on CNN last night. Much has been made about the extent to which Romney won independents. His point is that the Democrats have succeeded in converting independents to Democrats, hence the Democrat advantage in party affiliation stats. But as a result of left-leaning independents coming to identify as Democrats, the collective positioning of the remaining independents will move rightward. The other point was that some on the far right no longer identify as GOP, feeling it is too centrist, and they have come to infiltrate the ranks of independents. So independents are now more right wing and more likely in the future to break for the GOP, but the upside for the Democrats is that the advantage they enjoy in party affiliation is becoming more clear and more solid.

    Gay Rights are No Longer Toxic

    In 2004, Bush used gay marriage as a tool to bring out the vote. It was unthinkable then that any President could be vocally supportive of gay marriage and still win the Presidency. Last night, for the first time in the US, a public ballot approved gay marriage and a President and Vice President who has been the most pro-LGBT rights President in history won re-election. A year ago when he announced his support, there were questions about how that would play in key swing states, particularly in Virginia, Ohio and Florida. Obama’s win sends a message – it is no longer an electoral liability to be actively supportive of LGBT rights. So more and more national politicians can start to ‘come out’ for gay marriage and other LGBT rights issues. The GOP has lost this particular battle, and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

    The GOP’s Women and Minorities Problem is Real
    There should be no doubt – this should have been a blow-out for Romney. The economy is in a poor position, albeit getting better. Romney had a cash advantage and had been running for President for six years. The reason is simple – they lost women and they lost latinos. The latter, in particular, means that Nevada and Colorado are looking increasingly blue, along with New Mexico which now seems solidly blue. The problem becomes that there is nothing to suggest that the GOP will move towards reaching out to women and minorities, and also, the other problem on the horizon is that if Clinton runs in 2016, that coalition of women and minorities will not be unravelled by the GOP.

    The Blue Leaning Swing States Aren’t Really Swing States
    All the talk of Romney winning Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania was just talk. He won them all reasonably comfortably.

    Nate Silver’s Stock is Sky High
    Expect to see Nate Silver command tremendous power in what he does next. The NYT did well to get him on board when no one knew who he was. Now he can essentially name his price for political and polling commentary after getting the popular vote almost bang on, along with, it seems, all fifty states.

    The threads on here have been really good, notwithstanding the attempts of the lunatics and racists to derail them. Despite disagreeing with them, posters like NYCKY and Skyrocket have been quite informative and analytical. I hope p.ie can continue to have decent posters on US politics (on both sides) and that the lunatics and racists can be ignored.
    I can proudly say I was following Nate Silver before the New York Times hired him. I suppose it is a tribute to him that the NYT did not change the name of his blog.

    I have different view on Independents Are More Right Wing

    Independents have always been consider "Centrist" or midway between the Parties and capable of being voted in either direction. However, there are Independents who are more radical than either party and are farther to the left or right, like Libertarians, or Greens.

    At the moment the Democrats occupy the Centre, and have gained that vote. It is a corrective to the criticism of Obama as "Socialist".

    In the war of Quants versus Pols, the Quants like Silver won hands down. Pols like Karl Rove have egg all over their face.
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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