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Perhaps it was just a superior Get Out the Vote Operation that swung the election?

When an incumbent president wins his reelection with a smaller percentage of the vote — and fewer actual votes — than he did in his first bid for national office, you know that his victory does not represent a realignment, particularly when the opposing party holds one House of Congress.

Many conservatives are gnashing their teeth about the opportunities lost in the election our man lost.  And many make some solid points.  We could have won this thing.  At RealClearPolitics, more dispassionate observers, Tom Bevan and Carl M. Cannon offer a list of 21 reasons why we didn’t.  I don’t agree with them all; they do leave out media bias, but they’re right on a number of issues, particularly Romney’s problem with Hispanic voters.

Maybe all these points are moot.  Maybe the real reason Romney lost, simply put, is that team Obama put together a better Get Out the Vote operation — having fine-tuned it while the Massachusetts Republican was preparing to battle his partisan rivals for his party’s nomination.

Perhaps had the GOP put together as sophisticated an operation as had the one Michael Scherer details in this article, we would have seen a different result last night.  (Via HotAir headlines.)

So many little things contributed to Obama’s victory, but it seems that the biggest among them was his ability to get his supporters to the polls, even those far less enthusiastic about their man as they were four years ago.

Even with that sophisticated operation, Obama won 9 million fewer votes than he did in 2008.  Had Republicans had a similar operation, Mitt Romney might have won at least as many votes as George W. Bush did in 2004 and so ousted the failed incumbent.

UPDATE: Yup, the unions helped gin up their turnout.



  1. I think the problem isn’t so much the GOP GOTV but the lack of GOP voters. When you have a uniquely awful president like the current one, it’s easy to believe that we’ll win enough independents to win the election. But it seems clear to me that the Democrats just have a bigger base. We need to seriously look at how we expand our base. Specifically, we need to look at how we attract more young voters and more non-white voters.

    Comment by chad — November 7, 2012 @ 8:12 pm - November 7, 2012

  2. I think the biggest factor was the mainstream media running interference for Obama so that people didn’t get to see any scandals. Not Fast and Furious, not Benghazi, and not a host of other things, including how radical his appointments are. The media created a teflon shield around him and that’s why the failures of his first term didn’t stick to him.

    Comment by QA_NJ — November 7, 2012 @ 8:20 pm - November 7, 2012

  3. QA_NJ, exactly right. Sometimes I think Republicans overestimate the affect of MSM’s bias, but on this one, there’s no question that their help of Obama on Benghazi, F&F, the actual condition of the economy, slanted “fact checking” of debates and speeches, and just a lot of other things certainly was good for more than the margin of victory. The Dems have two GOTV operations. One is part of the party apparatus. The other is the media.

    Comment by chad — November 7, 2012 @ 8:39 pm - November 7, 2012

  4. Not likely. Polling predicted the outcome. Want to know why Romney lost? Look at exit polling.

    You won’t like what you find.

    Comment by Wisco — November 8, 2012 @ 1:15 am - November 8, 2012

  5. Want to know why Romney lost? Look at exit polling.

    That’s a vast oversimplification. As Dan said, there were a number of cumulative small things. Voter turnout is one of them. It doesn’t matter if your candidate wants to legalize concentration camps for criminal violators; they can still win if the other candidate’s supporters are not motivated [self-, or otherwise] to vote for their guy (or gal).

    In this post, I think Dan is correct. A friend of mine in Denver reports getting accosted numerous times by Obama zombots with clipboards asking if he was registered to vote, etc—and he’s a Republican precinct captain. It wasn’t just in friendly areas they were doing that type of effort. Obama got insane support in El Paso County CO, which is the definition of a “staunch Republican stronghold” (it is, after all home to Focus On The Family, and about 65 other conservative Christian groups). In order to have that personal of an outreach project, you’ve got to be well-organized on the ground. As The Axe said several weeks ago, “We will beat them with our ground game.” He was right.

    Democrats have done true grassroots much better for years. It’s a big reason, IMHO, that Clinton won Colorado in 1992, which was still solidly red, if not exactly Republican. It’s true that Democrats have built-in support bases—like unions—to help them out, but they are generally just much better organized internally for that type of effort.

    So while the Dems are sending out people with clipboards on the street to actively court potential voters, the Republican equivalent seems to be putting out a few yard signs on the way home from the country club.

    Comment by RSG — November 8, 2012 @ 1:55 am - November 8, 2012

  6. Republicans did a good job except they are too gullible and naive. Who could imagine that a man that had overflow crowds, sometimes in excess of 30k, would lose to the man that couldn’t fill stadiums. Obama got less than 200 people at his rally that featured Stevie Wonder. If he can’t get them off their duffs for him and Stevie then how on Earth did he get them to vote. There is something rotten in Denmark and it lives in Cuyahoga County.

    Comment by Jeff King — November 8, 2012 @ 7:05 am - November 8, 2012

  7. Wisco you realize that polling is based on screens for likely voters right? So essentially Obama was reaching his voters and they were committed to voting, hence they made it through the screen. Also, the GOP turned out 8 million more voters in 2008.

    I said multiple times that I thought the election would be close and who turned out to vote would make a difference. The democrats got more of their voters to the polls.

    Sometimes I think Republicans overestimate the affect of MSM’s bias, but on this one, there’s no question that their help of Obama on Benghazi, F&F, the actual condition of the economy, slanted “fact checking” of debates and speeches, and just a lot of other things certainly was good for more than the margin of victory. The Dems have two GOTV operations. One is part of the party apparatus. The other is the media.

    I have believed that the media is completely in te tank for Obama. They are essentially a propaganda machine for the White House.

    I also believe the media wouldn’t go this far in the tank for anyone-democrat or republican-I think it is something unique to Obama. And if it isn’t unique to Obama and the media really has decided to totally commit to being the mouthpiece of the democratic party, our nation is in bigger trouble than I thought.

    And this leads to a comment I saw on facebook.

    That is essentially that for many people Obama wasn’t just the democratic nominee for president, and they viewed his presidency as transcendent. The commenter basically made the point that perhaps the support Obama has seen was more about these people being Obama voters, than necessarily democratic voters. In another election, and another candidate they may have either stayed home, or been open to other positions.

    Who knows for certain, in 2014 midterms and especially the 2016 presidential election.

    One thing interesting also about Obama is that in 4 years he may be toxic but I am not convinced if he isn’t that he will motivate voters to vote for some other guy in the same way that Clinton can.

    Comment by Just Me — November 8, 2012 @ 8:33 am - November 8, 2012

  8. I read that Dems practice “vote harvesting” in early voting – it’s easier to drive busloads of people in early voting for a week than bus them in one day, which explains why Dems always do well in early voting. We need to eliminate this. It leaves this open for fraud.

    Comment by ASR — November 8, 2012 @ 9:39 am - November 8, 2012

  9. I agree with a few posts above. The MSM has a teflon sheild around Obama. If you pulled someone aside and asked specific questions, the replies would probably steer the voter away from Obama. GOP NEEDS to break this stronghold. I just found out Romney got fewer votes that McCain! So, yes, the ground game needs to improve. At the head of this change, there NEEDS to be a true conservative in the race. I thought Santorum was it but he didn’t seem to catch on. I always wondered where Romney’s votes were coming from. Sure he stepped up the game and I thought he won all 3 debates and the Ryan selection was superior. There are conservative “purists” and they are stubborn SOBs that won’t vote if the candidate isn’t “perfect”..they sit out. I also agree with Rush….. this was Hard Work VS Santa Claus. Who’s gonna vote against Santa? This next 4 years is gonna be rough. I want my small business to grow but I need to stop if it gets too big….. A political party has set my limits for me. So much for “freedom”….. I’ve been talked off the ledge but I am still in a sour mood……

    Comment by Roger — November 8, 2012 @ 1:31 pm - November 8, 2012

  10. […] as I read about how team Obama brilliantly used the internet and social networking to “micro-target” their supporters did I realize how much less significant were those images I had seen […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » A candidate’s visual image may not matter as much in the age of the iPhone — November 9, 2012 @ 8:18 pm - November 9, 2012

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