November 9th, 2012

The missing Republican vote

Here’s my theory about the missing two million (or whatever it turns out to be) McCain 2008 voters: it represents mostly blue-collar men and women who were turned off by Romney’s rich-elitist-Bain persona and decided to stay home. In that regard, Obama’s attack ads not only affected swing voters but conservatives and Republicans as well.

Yes, there were also libertarians who sat it out or voted for Johnson. There were also those who hate both parties and have vowed “never again another “establishment Republican,” as well as those who think if they hasten the financial apocalypse it will bring on a brighter conservative future. But I think that when the smoke clears we’ll find out that the bulk of the stay-at-homes were as I have said. That’s my hunch.

41 Responses to “The missing Republican vote”

  1. Ann Says:

    I think you’re right.

    And it probably wasn’t just Obama’s attack ads, the Republicans not even mentioning Sarah Palin’s name at their convention must have infuriated a lot of these people.

  2. chuck Says:

    Romney’s rich-elitist-Bain persona

    Quite possible. I’m not blue collar, but that is how he affected me 😉 I also watched how he started working his way up through the Republican party corporate structure, so to speak, after the 2008 election, it was all very insidery. Unfortunately, American political parties are don’t work like corporations, they are coalitions. The Democratic party of FDR contained both segregationist Dixiecrats and left wing Jewish New Yorkers, go figure. But FDR was able the keep the support of both.

    And yes, I did vote for Romney, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about it. I think the missing blue collar vote was key to his loss in Ohio. That, and perhaps an overly centralized and regionally isolated campaign organization. One other thing to note is that the urban/rural split continues, it is really the cities against the rest of us. I don’t know how to bridge that gap.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Ann: agreed. There were a lot of reasons.

    I think the Romney people thought there were enough disaffected ex-Obama voters to help them, and didn’t want to offend the Palin-haters among them. That might have worked, except in so doing they may have offended too many conservatives. It’s Catch-22. They gambled and lost.

    I think they underestimated the loyalty of conservatives to whomever the Republican nominee would be; they thought that disapproval of Obama would be enough motivation for enough of them as well as their pick of Paul Ryan. Unfortunately, they fell a bit short. But I’m not sure what they could have done to counter the Bain-rich-elitist stuff. That’s Romney’s persona.

  4. vanderleun Says:

    “Obama’s attack ads not only affected swing voters but conservatives and Republicans as well.”

    The party cannot seem to learn the simple axiom: “Attacks must be answered.”

    And not answered down the road but when they happen.

  5. chuck Says:

    To expand on the city/rural thing a bit, I think it worth considering how to elect a big city Republican mayor. The last I can think of was Giuliani, and he capitalized on a split Democratic opposition and people sick of the crime rate. Philadelphia has elected Democratic mayors since 1952, and I can’t even imagine how that could be changed. Sigh.

  6. kaba Says:

    We shouldn’t ignore the number of former blue-collar workers who, thanks to the economy, are now on disability; prematurely retired; or just unemployed. Their immediate interest are probably more in line with an Obama Administration than it would have been with a Romney Administration.

  7. Steve Says:

    chuck, what if electoral college members were selected on a congressional district basis instead of a winner-takes-all statewide basis? In other words it is not just demography that counts it is also geography.

    Take the responsibility for reform out of the incompetent hands of the politicians in DC. Put it back in the hands of the states.

  8. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    Let’s wait and see what the vote totals are a month from now? the difference between November and December 2008 was about 2 million, give or take.

    A lot of absentee and provisional ballots to go thru.

  9. physicsguy Says:

    Chuck said, “One other thing to note is that the urban/rural split continues, it is really the cities against the rest of us. I don’t know how to bridge that gap.”

    Take a look a this map. You can pick out the cities by their blue color surrounded by red.

    It all makes sense. If you have to rely on yourself to make a living in a rural area, rather than the now standard “communal/communist” living of the city, then the Republicans will be your choice. However the demographic change over the past 50 years is for more people to be in the cities, and hence the dominance of the Democratic party even with its much more strident hard left approach… it just fits in with the big city lifestyle.

    However, the people in and around NYC are getting a small taste of what total reliance on the governement can do if that government fails to provide, and the people are not prepared to take care of themselves. Expect the social chaos that is on a small scale post-Sandy, to become more widespread as the economy collapses.

  10. rickl Says:

    kaba Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    We shouldn’t ignore the number of former blue-collar workers who, thanks to the economy, are now on disability; prematurely retired; or just unemployed. Their immediate interest are probably more in line with an Obama Administration than it would have been with a Romney Administration.

    All according to plan.

  11. Tesh Says:

    If staunch conservatives sat out because Romney wasn’t conservative enough, they missed the bigger picture and effectively gave Obama their support. That’s not just missing the forest for the trees, that’s setting it on fire.

  12. texexec Says:


    That link doesn’t work and I’d really like to see that map.

  13. texexec Says:

    Whoops, sorry….after 9-10 tries I finally got it to work.

  14. physicsguy Says:

    Hmmm… worked for me. Here, try this one and then you can click on the map and expand it:

  15. Curtis Says:

    As a note on physicsguy’s observation.

    On Staten Island alone, about 5,200 people applied for temporary FEMA housing, but only about two dozen people have been successfully placed.

  16. Sam L. Says:

    I have to guess the anyone-but-Obama vote wasn’t big enough.

  17. rickl Says:

    As I said last night:

    The Republican leadership has been telling fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, Tea Partiers, libertarians, constitutionalists, and those concerned about rampant illegal immigration that our views are not welcome in their party.

    I don’t think it’s a great mystery. In each of those disparate categories (social conservatives and libertarians pretty much hate each other) there were some, like me, who sucked it up and voted for Romney, and others who didn’t.

  18. rickl Says:

    Speaking of missing Romney voters……

    What Luck! Obama Won Dozens of Cleveland Districts with 100% of the Vote

  19. foxmarks Says:

    I should change my handle to “I told you so”, at least for a while… 😉

  20. rickl Says:

    Here’s an interesting thought from Belmont Club:

    203. Weary G
    One thought regarding the election and the lack of base turnout for Romney that may have sunk him. If the concept of The Wisdom of Crowds is be believed, perhaps those voters did not like the odds Romney would actually turn things around to the extent needed to truly save the country. Believing it very unlikely considering Romney’s RINO like past and the current culture in Washington that he would actually do anything significant except be in office when the roof caved in, they chose not to poison that well. Knowing full well that any collapse would be blamed on him, and nothing on Obama and the Democrats who held the reins for the 4 years previous, they decided not to make it any easier by putting a Republican in place. It was not so much a “Well, let’s give them exactly what they want and see if they like it!” attitude, but more of a “We are NOT going to take the blame for this. Let’s retain some credible deniability for when we need to pick up the pieces.”

  21. Lorenz Gude Says:

    @rick I’ve certainly thought exactly like Weary G over at Belmont Club, but voted or Romney on the basis that it is always better to have someone at the top who would be better able to cope with crisis. I think the president and his supporters are marching ‘Forward’ into the glorious past of social democracy. I don’t think making government a larger percentage of the economy (remember Obama saying that the public sector wasn’t doing enough for job creation!) will work, but it isn’t clear to me whether there will be a collapse or just stagnation like Japan. I think a collapse in Europe could cause the crash scenario, or perhaps the technocrats can keep the whole thing going for a while without a breakout of inflation. Still, the permanent QE that is the current policy looks like economic capitulation to me.

  22. Steve Says:

    More evidence that denial is not just a river in Egypt:

  23. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:


    I’ll go straight to full-on paranoia mode and claim it was VOTE FRAUD.

    Romney/Ryan didn’t lose because of ineffective messaging, they didn’t lose because the cheering conservatives who attended their campaign speeches by the tens-of-thousands suddenly had second thoughts, they didn’t lose because “Obama looked so presidential” as he feigned interest in the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy during his photo-ops with Gov. Christie. They lost because of MASSIVE (but, dammit, unprovable) voter fraud.

    So now what? Once we’ve lost trust in the “fair, free” vote, what else is there? It is THE ONLY POWER We The People wield over Leviathan. And as far as I’m concerned, we just lost that power.

  24. causauk Says:

    I see how the blue-collar theory explains our losing Ohio. Does it explain losing every swing state? Sure, having a candidate that appeals to blue-collar voters is necessary, but it isn’t sufficient. I don’t think the blue-collar theory explains Florida.

  25. Gary Rosen Says:

    foxmarks is obviously quite pleased about the outcome of the election because it “proves” how smart he is.

  26. Steve Gerow Says:

    I’m with Anonnymouse – I think there’s a possibility a Stuxnet-level program suppressed counting of Repubs.
    The results didn’t jibe with the RR enthusiasm level and what I saw as a GOTV volunteer. It’s impossible for me to believe less people voted for RR than for McC/P.

    IMHO some rich people ought to put out a very large reward for information about it.

    The GOP ought to do a lot of auditing on this one.

  27. Steve Says:

    Steve Gerow, that does sound like a grand conspiracy theory. Do all 50 states use the same machines to tally votes? It sounds like Team Romney managed to stuxnet themselves though by relying on ORCA. I like the advice from Glenn Reynolds: “Romney’s error was letting them set the narrative. Next time, the GOP will want less Karl Rove, more Lee Atwater.”

  28. DaveindeSwamp Says:

    A couple of points.

    Resentment does work. Team Romney failed to counter this from the lightbringer early on and as importantly, failed to counter it in the Primaries .

    Secondly, if anyone believes that the Communists did not engage in voter fraud, then I have seafront property in North Dakota for you. Bussing in hundreds of Somalis in Ohio should have set off alarm bells at all levels. Giving pizza and beer to idiot college students is another little klaxon horn.

    Thirdly, combine the idiots Akin (heavily supported in the primary by the DNC) and Mourdock with the soap opera fears of far too many women, alienation, which should never have been there, turned 51% of them to the man child who keeps them underpaid or out of work. How any woman, particularly “educated” women , could buy into the contraception nonsense is beyond me . I guess too much Lifetime Movies for Victims..

    Romney was a great candidate in my opinion, ill served by his staff and that whole “let’s not offend ” mindset. We still have Begala out there talking every kind of slander, the cancer death lies and the campaign team nor its supporters failed to every truly call them Communists out on it. Nice is great on the golf course, not when trying to save the Nation.

    A side note, many of my friends and acquaintances back in Virginia voted for the One. Their layoff notices arrived Friday. Be careful what you vote for, you just might get it. No, I’m not a damn bit sorry for them

  29. rickl Says:

    Steve Says:
    November 10th, 2012 at 9:46 am

    No, there are numerous kinds of voting machines in use across the country. But I think that electronic voting machines are probably easier to hack than the old-fashioned mechanical kinds, or paper ballots.

    After the 2000 fiasco, Congress passed a law that mandated “upgrades” to some form of electronic machine. (It was “reform”, dontcha know.) In my precinct, I had always used mechanical lever machines, but they were replaced by touch-screen electronic machines. There was no reason for that. Mechanical lever machines had nothing to do with the dimpled chads in Florida.

    I am now absolutely certain that this election was stolen. Can I prove it? No. But these are not just Democrats, they are Chicago Democrats, for crying out loud. They are world-class experts at this. When Obama was elected, one of the first things he did was transfer the U.S. Census to the direct control of the White House. All that data was used to target exactly those precincts in each state that would give them the most “bang for the buck”. It was done with surgical precision.

    After the horrors we have seen in the past four years, it is simply not possible that fewer people voted for Romney than McCain. Not. Possible. As I’ve said before, the Republican leadership has pissed off lots of people which certainly would have depressed turnout, but not to this extent. I was harshly critical of Romney during the primaries. He grew on me somewhat, but I never supported him to the extent that Neo did. Yet I swallowed my pride and voted for him. I can’t have been the only one. Romney wasn’t a great candidate, but he was a good-enough candidate. He had to have gotten large numbers of votes from the ABO crowd.

    The voters didn’t go missing; their votes did.

  30. rickl Says:

    I forgot to mention that I remember an election in Mexico several years ago, where one party was projected to win. The computers crashed on election night. When they came back up, the other party had won. Presto.

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: I don’t think fraud was accomplished on a massive scale, which is what would have been necessary, although of course I could be wrong. And Republican votes may continue to come in for a while, and the “missing” total may shrink.

    But two million people staying home who voted in 2008 isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. I don’t know many conservatives, but two of the ones I do know told me they felt uncomfortable with Romney and I got the impression they might not vote. I don’t know what they did in the end, but if I know a total of about 6 conservatives among all my acquaintances, and 2 were thinking of staying home or voting 3rd party, that says a lot.

    It would be highly instructive if someone runs the numbers and determines where the missing votes were. Are they evenly distributed? In certain countries only? Which counties? Are they blue-collar counties? Are they in big cities or not? I hope we find out more.

  32. Steve Says:

    rickl, Turnout percentages are always low right? High turnout means more than 50%. If dems cheated in OH and PA as seems likely they probably did it by stuffing ballot boxes to increase Obama’s total. There was no need to suppress Romney’s numbers. But Romney was down 2 million votes compared to McCain. And Republicans did poorly across the country at the federal level but did better at the state level. If you think it is some elaborate fraud was perpetrated across the country, remember this is the same administration that demonstrated remarkable arrogance and stupidity in Fast and Furious and in Benghazi. They are not beneath cheating but they are not smart enough to pull off something that big. I think the reason for the depressed turnout has to be pinned on Team Romney and the RNC.

  33. Steve Says:

    Team Romney screwing up the GOTV effort was kind of like a race car driver running low on gas, deciding not to do a pit stop and then running out of gas just before the finish line. No excuse for it.

  34. chuck Says:

    Romney was a great candidate in my opinion, ill served by his staff

    How does a great candidate, noted for his business acumen, end up with a poor staff? Perhaps he should have taken advice from more astute politicians, Palin for example. But to me it looks like he got snookered, and like a guy stuck with a manipulative girl friend, his staff isolated him from those who should have been his allies. I’m reminded that Patton got remarkable results from his staff despite the fact that none were considered brilliant men. I think Patton knew exactly what he was doing.

    The ORCA thing interests me, apart from the marketing hype of the name which should have killed it on the spot. I have just enough experience to imagine sitting in on the meetings, hearing the excuses, the happy reports, the ‘It’ll be done at the beginning of next month” assurances of a failing software project. Heh.

  35. rickl Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    November 10th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    rickl: I don’t think fraud was accomplished on a massive scale

    But that’s my point. It wasn’t on a massive scale, it was on a micro scale. Combined with the depressed Republican turnout, all they had to do was tweak a few precincts here and there, and they had the detailed data to do it.

    The only important race was the Presidential race, since the executive branch is now the most powerful branch of government. Obama can rule, not govern, by executive order.

    A couple of Republican Senate candidates shot themselves in the foot, and the House is now largely irrelevant.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: if analysis of the results indicates that the Republican vote was depressed only in certain key precincts, I’d say you may be right. But I’ve not seen anything that indicates that. Time will tell.

    One reason I don’t think it’s that was that not just Akins and Murdock but other Republican Senate candidates didn’t do well, either. Seems to be a trend to me.

  37. rickl Says:

    OK, neo, I won’t argue about it. I have my suspicions, but as I said, I can’t prove them.

    I didn’t do it! Nobody saw me do it! You can’t prove anything!
    ~ Bart Simpson

    That returns me to my original–and simpler–assertion that the elitist Republican leadership alienated large numbers of voters who should have supported them.

    I think it’s a combination of that and Democrat shenanigans.

  38. Gary Rosen Says:

    “I don’t know many conservatives, but two of the ones I do know told me they felt uncomfortable with Romney and I got the impression they might not vote.”

    Did they vote for McCain? This is really the point of curiosity here. Romney was obviously not the candidate of the “conservative base”. But it was also obvious, or seemed so, that this base warmed to him quite a bit more than they did to McCain, not to mention the fact they *really* wanted to vote out Obama. I’m like you neo, a more recent “changer” and not as hard core conservative but this seemed clear to me from the posts I read on right-wing blogs before the election. And even now while there is obviously criticism there is a lot less hating on Romney than there was on McCain from the right.

    So if there were “missing” votes – and we should wait until the complete final tally is in which may still take a while – where were they missed? I’m not saying I have an answer one way or the other but when the votes are all in Republicans should study this carefully.

  39. blert Says:

    We live in an era of astounding political databases that permit digital Gerrymanders.

    And that’s been going on for decades, now.

    With that level of data precision voter fraud is as on target as a smart bomb.

    Tells: voters polling in the high 90% range — always fraudulent…
    Unionized ballot collectors — the pre-vote — of absentee votes…
    Late / last ballot tabulations — always at the urban core — typically right next to city hall…

    As rural ballots toted up, Romney would pull ahead in Florida, from time to time. Within moments, and in response, ‘urban votes’ jolted ahead — leaving Romney ever further behind.

    And one last tell: the final vote WAS far away from the 95% confidence level of serious major polling organizations. North Carolina springs to mind. It wasn’t even considered a swing state! Romney b a r e l y notched it as a win.

    Oh, one more: the President’s stump demeanor was that of a resigned loser — while Romney was vibrant and upbeat. Both were paying top dollar for the best internal polling.

    What we have is Republican rationalization for their defeat by fraud; which, BTW, doesn’t work unless it’s deniable.


    Allen West at least has a nose.


    The safest, surest way for modern vote fraud is ballot destruction. With zip code linked party preferences now tucked into national political databases — it’s a small matter to ‘disappear’ a set percentage of this or that zip code — and shave the tally enough to toss your man over the top.

    I understand that absentee voters can use the Internet to see if their ballot made it in.

    A fraudster would merely run a Java script that always informs the voter that, indeed, their ballot has been received.

    There’s no audit trail to speak of.

    So, hyper motivated crowds in Ohio don’t correlate to voting more strongly than 2008?

    It doesn’t pass the smell test.

  40. Jorge Mayeda Says:

    wonderful website!! You could start many more. I love all the info offered. I will stay tuned.

  41. Ymarsakar Says:

    My hunch is that Leftist operatives got rid of 2 million. In 4 more years, they will have increased that to 3-4 million. They have already gotten rid of the predominant majority of military Republican absentee votes.

    They’ll keep doing it cause nobody wants to do what it takes to stop them.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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