Skip to comments.Election Eve 1980: Dead Heat
Posted on 11/04/2012 9:13:57 AM PST by SamAdams76
November 1980. We had an incumbent Democrat president who was the darling of the media and was swept into office in 1976 on a theme of "hope and change". Finally we were going to put Vietnam, Nixon, Watergate and all that other baggage behind us and elect a "hip" president who would occasionally show up for work in blue jeans, roll up his sleeves and magically fix all the problems of America.
We were going to ban nuclear power plants and develop "clean" energy sources. Countries around the world would like us again, respect us and want to make nice with us...
Is all of this starting to sound familiar?
In 1976, Jimmy Carter appeared out of nowhere to capture the Democrat nomination. He was fawned over by the media. I still remember Inauguration Day on January 20, 1977, when he and Rosemary got out of their limo during the parade and walked down the boulevard. We were getting a "new" kind of president.
I was in high school during that time and we had all the closed-circuit TVs (I still don't know what that means but that's what they called them in those days) in every classroom. Teachers were shedding tears of happiness and exclaiming that this man was going to bring the country together and change the world for the better. My history teacher told our class that we were watching history unfold and that we were fortunate to be starting out our lives under the leadership of such a noble and historical figure. He told us, before Carter had even entered the Oval Office, that we had before us the next president that would be carved on Mt. Rushmore.
I'm surprised they didn't hand Carter a Nobel Peace prize right then and there - even though Carter hadn't done anything yet. (They would make up for that oversight just 32 years later.)
For those who don't remember January 20, 1977 - well, it was not too much different than January 20, 2009. Hope and change was in the air.
Well we know the rest of the story. Horrible economy. Crushing debt. Middle East unrest. A lowering of America's standing in the world. High unemployment. High gas prices and long lines. Record amounts of people on welfare and food stamps. Crumbling infrastructure. A general feeling of malaise.
Sound familiar? The only thing missing up until a week ago was the long gas lines.
So after four years of Carter, you'd think challenger Ronald Reagan would be a slam dunk, right? Well you would be wrong. The mainstream media was all-in for Jimmy Carter during the election of 1980. So even though Reagan was headed for a landslide victory, the mainstream media did all they could to portray this as a "horse race" all the way to the bitter end.
To the left is an image of the Newsweak cover the week before the 1980 election. Even at that late moment in the race, the media had the race in a dead heat. Reagan was on his way to a 40+ state 400+ EV victory but you would not know it the weekend before the election.
I remember that election very well. At 7PM, the networks newscasts still acted like it was anybody's race to win. At 8:15PM, they were calling Ronald Reagan the next president of the United States. It was the quickest turnabout I ever saw in the media. You'd think all the news anchors would show up for work the next morning in neck braces - due to the whiplash.
However, I don't think the results of 1980 was a surprise to anybody in the media or involved with the campaign. Due to no internet or alternate media, it was easy for the mainstream media to keep Reagan's landslide a secret until the last possible moment - in the hopes that the American people would buy into it and maybe vote for Carter after all.
Things have changed in 2012 but not all that much. A surprising amount of people still get their news (if they get it at all) from mainstream media only. And they could be swayed to vote for Obama if they feel that Romney is not getting any traction and mired in a "dead heat" with Obama despite the debates, Benghazi and all of that.
I am expecting a solid Romney victory on Tuesday night despite all the yapping about dead heats and virtual ties. I am hoping that this election will for once and for all, expose the liberal bias in the mainstream media.
To close out my little article here, the following are the five words/phrases that I do not want to hear again for quite a while after November 6:
Sorry Ohio, but I'm just more than a little bit tired about hearing about you guys. Next time I drive to Chicago from Boston, I might just detour south by way of West Virginia and Kentucky. However, if you hand Romney at least a 5 point victory - I'll happily pass on through the Ohio Turnpike.
Finally, my prediction, for what it's worth. Assuming Romney keeps all the McCain states from 2008, add to it FL, NC, VA, IN, OH and CO. That's very doable and gives Romney 275 EVs - enough to win and I'll be happy with that. Bonus states are PA, WI, MI, IA, NV, NH and MN. That scenario is also possible and it brings Romney up to 347 EVs. If that happens, I'm buying a bottle of Dom Perignon.
My actual prediction is somewhere in the middle. Subtract PA, MN and MI and Romney is left with 301 EVs. That will be my best guess.
So true. Well done!
Every election where the GOP is slated to win is always shown as “too close to call”.
1984 - The press knew Reagan was going to win, but they really just kept the polling talk to a minimum.
2000 - Although the DUI story really put a wrench in it.
In the elections where people knew the Dem was likely to win:
Every poll for weeks were always showing the Democrat comfortably ahead. I don’t recall a single time in 1996 where a press dork said it was close.
Thank you for posting this! I was wondering this morning what the media and the polls were saying just before the Reagan landslide. Amazing that Reagan won, with little or no alternative news sources.
In addition to the list of Carter’s “accomplishments”, I think the biggest factor in his defeat, IIRC, was 17% interest rates. Nobody could buy a house, even up here!
Just one minor point, for the record:
Carter’s wife was Rosalyn, not Rosemary.
Now, a couple of those terms aren’t bad.
As to predictions, I think Romney gets between 311 and 362. I know that’s a big spread, but I think he could also get Oregon, Iowa, and Maine (or at least 1 EV from there), and will take PA, OH, WI.
NBC wasn’t happy about Reagan’s 1980 win.
Dan Rather analyzes Ronald Reagan’s win over Jimmy Carter
(Uncles Walter and Dan not happy campers.)
And now the interest rates are 4% and nobody can sell a house.
Thanks for posting. I, too, was wondering about 1980 and how the media portrayed the election in the weeks preceeding it. Those turkeys.
Thanks for those links, Jack!
Be sure to have your various video recording devices working overtime on election night to record the same unhappy Leftists.
Great, great post I wasn’t around in 1980, but I imagine on Election Day it’s going to be a landslide.
I remember it well. It was one of the longest election days but a glorious election night. I don’t remember a lot of numbers but I know Gallup and others showed a very tight race, even if Reagan was ahead. Carter was still considered competitive in FL and TX, both of which he ended up losing by large margins. So that was one year in which many polls were flat out wrong or failed to catch last minute trends.
Taking OH out of your conclusion, here’s my view.
Romney takes all the McCain 2008 states, plus NC FL CO IN VA. This yields 257 EVs.
Then only one of the following must be won for a Romney victory:
MN(10) + [NH(4) or IA(6) or NV(6)]
WI(10) + [NH(4) or IA(6) or NV(6)]
NH(4) + NV(6) + IA(6)
Dejavu will pull us through!
I've linked to this thread in the Sunday Morning Talk Show Thread.
I was stationed at the Pave Paws down at Otis AFB the night Reagan won. I was actually listening to WBZ on the radio because I was in the Ra-dome that night. Working with some civilians that were tried and true democrats. What long faces!!!
That night was awesome! I'll never forget. I really thought, because of the media, that Carter was going to win. When Reagan won EVEN Massachusetts that night, it was absolutely shockingly great!
1980 Election Map Red=Reagan, Blue=Carter
No need to bother recording this stuff. People will be posting all the best clips on youtube.
go to about 1:10 in
Watching those clips, you didn't see the talking head meltdown that you see these days because back then, you had to act professional and at least pretend to be neutral when broadcasting the news.
Walter Cronkite - a great cure for insomnia by the way. I never did see why he was so worshipped as he was. Towards the end of the clip you linked, a young Dan Rather tells us why Reagan won: Reagan ran a classy campaign and didn't make any mistakes and then sealed the deal during the debates. On the other hand, Carter looked hapless and didn't give the American reason any good reason to re-elect him.
Sounds like a carbon copy of this campaign.