Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Can We Just Euthanize The WaPo?

Cilizza is occasionally a decent analyst, but his thinking here is premised on a fundamental flaw.

He notes that Obama put together a winning coalition of minorities and the young in 2008 and 2012, but he then makes a spurious conclusion about 2010: that his coalition didn't come out to vote when he wasn't on the ticket.

This is not a problem unique to Obama.  The constituencies most likely to vote Democratic tend to be absent in midterm elections.  This is the biggest structural defect that Democrats face: their voters tend to only consistently vote in presidential elections.

I think, though, that Obama's campaign apparatus has realized that they have to motivate voters more consistently.  I expect higher turnout from those groups in 2014.  Probably not enough to flip the House, but enough to hold the Senate.

But Cilizza relies too much on a single poll to draw his conclusions.  There is another poll that shows a collapse in Obama's approval rating.  That may very well be the case, but it would be nice to see another data point.

Another factor is that if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, you can expect the gender gap to widen.  There are plenty of "culturally southern" white women who will vote for Hillary, who would never vote for Obama.  Pair her up against a loud mouth like Christie or Cruz and that number will only increase.

A final factor is... whatever.  Does anyone really think polling numbers in 2013 tell us ANYTHING about the election of 2016?

The structural advantage the Democrats have is that the Democrats have safely banked about 253 of the needed 270 electoral votes.  And that's not giving them Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida or Virginia.  That doesn't account for the fact that the GOP's prime demographic - old white people - is... how shall I say this... shrinking every year.

Nor does it account for the fact that the GOP continues to go out of its way to alienate blacks, Hispanics and the young.

So, yeah, Hillary probably beats Christie.

But making that conclusion based on a single poll and some faulty historical reasoning is pretty lazy.

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