Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

New Evidence That 2008 Was a Major Aberration for Democrats
The New Republic ^ | August 30, 2012 | William Galston

Posted on 08/30/2012 6:18:58 PM PDT by neverdem

By itself, the state of the economy is enough to guarantee a close election, and every national survey during the past two weeks has put Obama and Romney in a statistical tie. Now another key factor points in the same direction—the shifting balance between the political parties. This matters because party preferences and voting patterns are more closely linked today than they have been in several generations—and two recent in-depth surveys of the party system document that a clean Democratic victory, of the sort the party enjoyed in 2008, is exceedingly unlikely. The surging Democratic tide of four years ago has ebbed, exposing a partisan shoreline that more closely resembles what prevailed in 2004.

Let’s begin with the Gallup poll released on August 29. At this time four years ago, 54 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of the Democratic Party, versus 39 percent with an unfavorable view. Republicans trailed badly, with 41 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable.

Not that much has changed for Republicans since then. Today, their favorable rating stands at 44 percent, and unfavorable at 50. The big shift has come for Democrats, whose edge over Republicans has completely disappeared. Only 43 percent of registered voters have a favorable view of the Democratic Party (down 13 points), while 52 percent have an unfavorable view (up 13 points). The erosion has been especially severe among men (15 points), whites (17 points), voters 35 to 54 years old (17 points), and Independents (12 points). Only nonwhite voters are more favorably inclined toward the Democratic Party than they were four years ago. And while a successful convention can provide a boost, history suggests that any such improvement in public perceptions of a political party is likely to disappear by Election Day.

On August 23, the Pew Research Center released a report entitled “A Closer Look at the Parties in 2012”, backed by more than 20 pages of detailed tables. Pew’s findings are consistent with Gallup’s. In 2008, Democrats plus Independents who lean Democratic constituted fully 51 percent of registered voters, versus only 39 percent for Republicans plus Independents who lean their way. But now, the 12-point Democratic edge of four years ago has shrunk to only 5 points, 48 to 43, statistically indistinguishable from the split in 2004. Among whites, the Republican edge has expanded from 2 points to 12; among white men, from 11 points to 22. While Democrats have lost ground in every age cohort, they still maintain an edge of 19 points among Millennials, down from 32 points in 2008.

Drilling down more deeply, Pew finds finer-grained trends. Republicans have made only modest gains among college-educated men, and none at all among college-educated women. But among men with less than a BA, Republicans have turned a 6-point deficit into a 3-point edge; among less educated women, the Democratic advantage has been pared from 20 points to 8. Relative to 2008, Republicans have made no gains among registered voters with household incomes of $75,000 or more, but they are doing much better among those making less than that. And all of these changes are more pronounced among white voters.

These demographic trends map onto geographical shifts. Republicans have gained no ground in urban areas, but they’re doing much better in the suburbs and in rural communities than they did four years ago. They have made larger gains in the South, Midwest, and West than in the Northeast, which remains a Democratic Party bastion.

The breakdown by religion tells an intriguing story. It’s no surprise that Republicans are doing even better among white evangelicals than they were four years ago. But they have turned an even split among white mainline Protestants into a 12-point advantage, and they have transformed an 8-point deficit among white Catholics into a 9-point edge. (This last statistic may help explain why the Romney-Ryan ticket is doing better than expected in the upper Midwest.)

The Pew survey portrays 2012 party system that is not only more evenly balanced than in 2008 but also more deeply divided. 71 percent of conservatives (81 percent of white conservatives) now identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, while 84 percent of liberals identify with or lean toward Democrats. The gap in attitudes toward fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy is astounding. 82 percent of Republicans, but only 29 percent of Democrats, favor a smaller government providing fewer services. 66 percent of Republicans, but only 33 percent of Democrats, choose reducing the deficit over spending to boost the economy. (Only 10 percent of Republicans support the 2009 stimulus package, compared to 68 percent of Democrats.) Support for the president’s health reform law tops 80 percent among Democrats but doesn’t reach double digits among Republicans.

A careful reader might object, reasonably, that a 5-point edge in preferences among registered voters, tough down from 2008, is still good news for Democrats. But matters are more complicated than that. In 2004, according to Pew, the Democrats enjoyed a 3-point edge but ending up losing the popular vote by more than 2 points. Over the past four elections, in fact, the eventual popular vote margin has been, on average, 5 points more favorable to Republican candidates than the balance among registered voters would have suggested. If that pattern is repeated in 2012, the 5-point pro-Democratic edge in voter preference turns into a popular vote tie—which is what every national survey is now showing.

The bottom line: if the 2012 election is more about mobilizing the persuaded than persuading the perplexed, then the current standing of the two parties suggests that the election will be very divisive—and very close.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: 2012election; bush43; bushsfault; demographics; election2012; stupidparty; wearewithstupid; wearewithuneducated
With the slightest opposition to or disagreement with Obama denounced as racism, I won't be surprised with a large Bradley effect.
1 posted on 08/30/2012 6:19:07 PM PDT by neverdem
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Yea! It appears that the democrat”1000 Year Reich” fizzled in less than two years!!!

2 posted on 08/30/2012 6:23:03 PM PDT by ontap
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Eh, not sure about that this time around. I think in 2008 that would have been more of the case than in 2012. Obama being sold as some decent man of change who would be inclusive etc. Anyone opposing such a great man was of course only opposing him because he was black. I don’t think voters now feel as shy about saying he sucks and no they are not going to vote for him because he has an actual flop record to run against.

3 posted on 08/30/2012 6:29:39 PM PDT by snarkytart
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

Democrats are a Major Aberration.

4 posted on 08/30/2012 6:30:00 PM PDT by smoothsailing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: snarkytart
I don’t think voters now feel as shy about saying he sucks and no they are not going to vote for him because he has an actual flop record to run against.

We'll see. I've read that it's harder to get conservatives to agree to participate in polls. Maybe that's one reason rats are oversampled. Posters in this forum have said that they refuse to take polls. Others give false answers. I've done that at least once.

5 posted on 08/30/2012 6:42:24 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

“Relative to 2008, Republicans have made no gains among registered voters with household incomes of $75,000 or more, but they are doing much better among those making less than that.”

Translation: Obama won the wealthy in 2008 and the dems have regularly been the party of wealth and elitism. The meme of the intelligentsia has been a lie and known for the powerful lie that it is. That is their primary hope this fall and also their primary frustration. Their rich friends are not emptying their pockets for them— even after they attacked marriage.

6 posted on 08/30/2012 6:42:37 PM PDT by lonestar67 (I remember when unemployment was 4.7 percent)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: smoothsailing

Aberration.... Abortionist.... Homosexual supporter.... AntiChristian.... Yes the Dem’s are in total a party of aberrtion(s).

7 posted on 08/30/2012 6:43:08 PM PDT by Jumper
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: neverdem

It wasn’t an aberration. It was a manufactured perfect storm. The perfect nominee, the worthless opponent, the hated incumbent, the crisis created at just the right time, the drooling, compliant and cooperative media. They aligned all the stars together deliberately to subjugate us.

And they may succeed! Unless the people rise up as one great tide and flood them as Moses did the Egyptians. Then we must keep an eye on the leaders who replace them, and throw them out of office when they too begin to act like condescending despots.

8 posted on 08/30/2012 6:52:42 PM PDT by cotton1706
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: snarkytart

Nobody who did NOT vote for Obama is voting for him this time. So the same base is still there against Obama.

This time we have a lot of disenfranchised voters who voted for Obama in 2008, but will not either vote for him or bother to show up to vote in 2012.

So it really is a question as to how many fewer swing supporters Obama has in addition to those disenfranchised voters who might not vote at all.

Gasoline/energy, economy, jobs, scandals and unemployed younger voters will make this much greater swing against Obama than telephone call polls down registered voters of one party or the other, IMHO. Obama’s extremely partisan agenda has made very clear he doesn’t want to appeal to the moderate Democrat vote, opening the door for the present version of the “Reagan Democrats”.

We are setting up for a massive landslide.

9 posted on 08/30/2012 6:55:05 PM PDT by Wildbill22
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ontap

It would have never taken off if Bambi had been vetted the way he was supposed to.

Congress dropped the ball big time and is still not willing to pick it up.

10 posted on 08/30/2012 7:09:15 PM PDT by 353FMG (The US Constitution is only as good as those who enforce it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Wildbill22
Whenever I see predictions like this I think of the old baseball unwritten rule: Never talk to a pitcher who is pitching a no-hitter, you might jinx it.


11 posted on 08/30/2012 7:10:28 PM PDT by Michael.SF. (Romney was right about the Olympics, but neither the Brits or the Dems will admit it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Michael.SF.

Maybe its I am in the South but people I know who make 75 Plus hate Obama

12 posted on 08/30/2012 8:38:40 PM PDT by scooby321 (AMS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: snarkytart
Mediocre never gets any better with efforts to make it better. Back in Chicago, Obama was a pretty good community organizer. As a Senator, Obama was a pretty good community organizer. As U.S. President Obama is still a pretty good community organizer..He forgot the fact that as he moved up the advancement ladder that his responsibilities would change accordingly.
13 posted on 08/30/2012 8:56:50 PM PDT by oyez ( .Apparently The U.S. CONSTITUTION has been reduced to the consistency of quicksand.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: neverdem
If you look back at 50+ years of Presidential elections, Democrat victories are, in general, aberrations. Each one has an unusual circumstance which results in a Democrat victory.

1960 - JFK squeaks out an overnight win in Illinois - pushing him over the electoral top - by having thousands of dead Chicagoans with the same hand-writing vote for him in the last hours.
1964 - LBJ wins on the memory of a slain hero.
1976 - Jimmy Carter slips past Gerald Ford as the country is still recovering from Watergate and Nixon's resignation.
1992 & 1996 - Bill Clinton wins a plurality of the vote thanks to the entry of Ross Perot into the race.
2008 - Barack Obama gets enough white guilt vote to beat a pathetic candidate who was only interested in being the nominee, not the president.

14 posted on 08/31/2012 6:26:17 AM PDT by TexasNative2000 ("You can either limit growth or limit government. We choose to limit government." Paul Ryan.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson