Jan 30 2012

Tomorrow We Determine: Are Voters Engaged or Enraged?

Published by at 7:45 pm under 2012 Elections,All General Discussions

Major Update: Looks like PPP also detected a late Gingrich Surge:

Meanwhile, a Public Policy Polling survey, conducted Saturday and Sunday, has Mr. Gingrich with a manageable-looking 7 points deficit. And he was down just 4 points in interviews conducted on Sunday alone, according to a cross-tabulation provided to FiveThirtyEight.

Well, well, well. I saw one poll claiming Romney is winning Evangelicals and the Tea Party. Sounds fishy to me. I would say tomorrow is going to be very surprising – end update.

The other day I noted that primary polls this year were not to be trusted, especially in Florida since the turnout modes used by pollsters has little prayer of being right given this cycle is like none other – so there is no historic basis to any turnout model. The factors I listed that made this year so unique in Florida primary history:

First off, we still have the 2010 insurgent voter out there. This can be seen in the fact that the current GOP voters in Florida are not the same ones from 4 years ago:

Republicans have narrowed the Democrats’ registration edge in Florida since November 2008, when Barack Obama carried the state. And with the Jan. 31 primary still nearly two weeks away, more than 446,000 Florida Republicans have requested absentee ballots — far exceeding the 307,744 absentee requests for the 2008 GOP primary.

Figures released by the Division of Elections today show Florida has 11.2 million voters, with 40.5 percent registered as Democrats and about 36.2 percent as Republicans. The gap of 4.3 percentage points between Democratic and Republican registrations compares to a 5.8-point gap that favored Democrats heading into the 2008 presidential election.

Assuming the number of voters has not changed in Florida (still 11.2 million), the number of new GOP voters is euqal to the change in the gap between registered GOP and Democrat voters. This change is 1.5% or 168,000 new GOP voters, out of a total number 4, 054,400. This represents 4% of the total GOP voters.

4% is a large number when candidates are even 8% apart. A 4% shift moves a blow-out to a tie.

Another factor I noted was how Florida is actually in the kingmaker position this cycle, something they are never really in since they were historically one of the many Super Tuesday contests. This new pivotal position in the GOP selection process is going to really change the turnout models:

Florida moved their primary date up again this cycle (cutting their delegates from 99 to 50, with no super delegates) to move off of one of the Super Tuesdays. One thing is true, if voters don’t feel their vote counts, they don’t take the time to vote. Florida has never been in this position, where their vote will make a huge difference in who takes on Obama. So voters are going to come out in historic numbers (like they did in SC).

Just to be clear, this prediction has already come true in the early, absentee voting. This is a record voter turnout year already:

Early voting began statewide nine days ago, and according to figures released Monday afternoon by the Florida Department of State, which runs the division of elections, 293,760 people have already cast ballots.

But wait, there’s more. According to the state, more than 531,000 people have requested and were sent absentee ballots, and 338,753 have been returned and received by Florida officials.

Add it all together and more than 632,000 votes have already been cast before primary day.

The story goes on to claim this will help Romney because he has the better GOTV organization. But if his GOTV is activating 2010 insurgent voters, he is turning out his own opposition. Romney is now the establishment candidate after his brutal campaigning.

But something else may be in play right now, and that is Team Romney’s over the top negative campaign against the Tea Party insurgents. In the 2010 GOP landslide, a whopping 41% of the voters were Tea Parry supporters.

Exit poll data indicate that 41 percent of those voting in House races Tuesday said they support the Tea Party. Thirty-one percent of voters said they oppose the Tea Party. And a quarter of voters take no position on the Tea Party one way or the other.

I was about to concede the state to Romney, but I was hesitant to understand why polls moved so quickly. There is no policy reason for the move. Yes, there was a lot of Romney mud-slinging, but that tends to smear both candidates in the mud pit.

One thing I noticed in 2010 and in 2011/20012 was that America is still enraged and fed up with the status quo and the party/political establishment.  This anger and frustration resulted in these voters tuning out politics until action could be taken. This showed up in SC in spades, as the polls picked up the shift to Newt in the last week. I think these voters are not engaging until the last minute.

BTW, SC is accustomed to being a pivotal and early primary state. While they had a record turnout, the turnout models would hold up fairly well there since the SC role was not unusual.

A late poll coming out today lends credence to the possibility that Mitt Romney could be heading for a Dewey Moment:

The Sunday results of 646 likely GOP voters are as follows:

  • Romney 36 percent
  • Gingrich 31 percent
  • Santorum 12 percent
  • Paul 12 percent
  • Other/Undecided 9 percent

“The race will be tighter than expected,” Matt Towery, chief pollster of InsiderAdvantage told Newsmax.

As is noted in the accompanying story, Insider advantage was the first to detect the SC shift to Gingrich.

My rose-colored theory is that the insurgent voters of 2010 are still out there, but running silent and deep. They are spurning the pollsters, becoming undetectable. Also, as I noted in the previous post, even if the insurgent centrist voter is answering the poll, they could easily be thrown out of the ‘likely voter’ pool because of the simple fact Tea Party insurgents are new to the political process, many voting for the first time in a long time in 2010. And very few participating in the primary process. No previous voting in primaries gets you punted out of the ‘likely’ voter pool.

What if this key voting block is being missed by pollsters?

Does it really make sense the 2012 voter is that much different from the 2010 insurgent voter? Did the 2010 insurgent voter all of sudden decide to go milquetoast and support Romney? I see no reason for them to shift from angry backlash to pragmatic lambs. What happened in 2011 or 2012 to make them passive supporters of more of the same in DC?

I would expect if their support for Romney was real, Obama would be sinking in the polls, not rising as he is. Even Democrats are showing a come back against the GOP in the congressional ballot. Seeing the backlash against Obama and the Dems drop off over the last three weeks just as Romney is rising has me questioning if the rise is real support, or the 2010 tsunami voter has just gone silent until they hit the voting booth tomorrow.

My guess is a large turn out tomorrow helps Newt. I see nothing for the 2010 insurgents to all of a sudden become passive establishment followers. In fact, given how lame the GOP House has been since 2010, I only see rising frustration.

Which is why maybe tomorrow will not be as the polls say. The only problem with this theory is the fact that so many polls show a Romney cake walk. Hard to believe they are all wrong – unless the voters are not cooperating and indicating the truth out there.

Needless to say, tomorrow evening will set the path for this nation for the next 4 years. In terms of stopping the out of control federal government, there are few options left. Romney and Obama will fight all bold changes. They are so similar is hard to believe its worth having an election. But we shall see….


101 responses so far

101 Responses to “Tomorrow We Determine: Are Voters Engaged or Enraged?”

  1. jan says:

    P.S. Redteam

    I enjoy reading your posts too. You are clear in your opinions. And, while I don’t agree with your choice of candidate for our nominee, people aren’t ripping each other up here because of their differences. So, what happens is we can at least have a discussion about our differences. In the end, though, we all want nearly the same thing, which is to change the guy who currently resides in the WH.