Saturday, October 27, 2012


The Hill, which is a respectable but clearly right-leaning news source, gives us some of the GOP's November talking points if President Obama loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College:
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the politicians whose past criticisms of the Electoral College system would draw new scrutiny if there is a split verdict in this year’s presidential election.

... Obama said he supported eliminating the Electoral College as a Senate candidate during a WTTW television debate against Republican Alan Keyes in 2004.

...Shortly after the 2000 election, as a newly-minted Senator-elect, Clinton called for direct elections of the president. She argued the country has changed since the Electoral College was put in place.

... Five days after the 2000 election, [Senator Charles] Schumer called the U.S. voting system "antediluvian" and called for a study of simplified procedures. He, too, favored scrapping the Electoral College but said three-fourths of the states would never ratify an amendment....
Other Electoral College opponents are listed, all of them Democrats. Supporters of the status quo are also listed; they're a mixed group (Joe Biden, for instance, has opposed changing the system, as well as Mitch McConnell).

Yes, it's true that the Electoral College is ridiculous. But it's also true that both campaigns have been trying to win 270 electoral votes, not 50% of the popular vote plus 1 -- and Mitt Romney is on the verge of losing that contest. If this were a popular vote race, the candidates wouldn't be practically living in Ohio and other swing states -- Mitt Romney would have taken up residency in Texas, or somewhere else in the Deep South, and he'd be trying to run up the score there, while the president would be spending so much time here in the Northeast that they'd assign him his own traffic lane in Midtown Manhattan.

But this is why it's going to be a problem if Obama loses the popular vote. The "hypocrite Democrats" message is going to be the polite edge of the Republican election-stealing wedge, while nastier right-wing operatives burrow into whether some poor Democratic elector in Ohio or Wisconsin ever had a tax lien or missed a mortgage payment or drove drunk. Maybe the GOP won't be able to steal the election, but it won't be for lack of trying.

So let's hope Kos is right when he says registered-voter polls are more accurate than likely voter polls. Let's hope RAND and TIPP are right and Gallup is wrong. Let's hope Obama's get-out-the-vote operation is as amazing as it claims to be. Because it's going to get ugly otherwise.


Raenelle said...

I should know better than to underestimate the Repubs, but how could it get worse? I mean what aspect of civility and respect is left for them to trample? I'm with General Grant on this. Fuck worrying about what they are going to do.

: smintheus :: said...

Republicans tried to raise the same specter in 2000...that Gore would win the EV but lose the popular vote. But once it came down to fighting over the electoral vote for weeks on end, the popular vote was nearly forgotten.

If this year's EV is close, it may well come down to Ohio. And if OH is close, by OH electoral law it will take weeks before a final tally is known.

: smintheus :: said...

Oh yeah, likely voter filters are not reliable and registered voter numbers have been better in recent, hotly contested elections than LV numbers. That's because in close elections the voters excluded in LV filters are more likely to turn out.

The other day Gallup published a demographic overview of what the electorate looks like under their LV model. It's quite revealing. Gallup doesn't highlight this...just the opposite, in fact...but the overview shows that Gallup is minimizing the Democratic turnout in every possible way. Every single demographic that is more likely to vote Democratic will, according to Gallup's model, turn out in 2012 at a lower rate than in previous elections (including Hispanics and blacks). And all the demographics inclined to vote Republican are treated by Gallup as more likely than ever to vote.

That simply does not pass the sniff test. Supporters of Obama are as enthusiastic about him as Romney's supporters are about him. The Hispanic population has grown considerably since 2008, and backs Obama more strongly this time, and has very good reason to vote against Republicans. But Gallup gives Hispanics exactly the same share of the vote as in 2008. It's just nonsense.

Gallup's LV screen questions are pretty obtuse, as I've said before. They systematically discriminate against urban voters and voters who move their place of residence.

barent said...

Again, thus all presupposes that reality will play a role in how the GOP will spin the election. The mere fact that Obama will have a closer election will be spun the exact same way as if he lost the popular vote. The conclusion is already established (deligitimacy), only the evidence will change. Obama and the debs should just ignore it and treat the GOP like the creepy pedophile uncles that they are,

Victor said...

One way or the other, there will be blood.

Conservatives have lost whatever self-restraint they once may have had - especially in the past 4 years.
And many of them will completely lose their sh*t if Obama wins reelection.

They have been uber-armed by the NRA, and primed full of hate for Obama, Democrats, and Liberals, by FOX News, Conservative Op-ed writers, and Right Wing Radio Rushwanda.

They will want blood.
If I still lived in Fayetteville, NC, and Obama won, I'd take off my Obama-biden bumper-stickers.
I took enough grief for them back in '08, when it was clear that even there, people were tired of Republicans, war, and the economy.

toto said...

Presidential elections don't have to be this way.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the conventions.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc