March 23rd, 2013

What happens in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas

Watch for this trend to spread:

With much fanfare and hullabaloo, President Obama’s former campaign, Organizing for Action, recently launched a 10-year effort to turn red Texas into a true swing state. The plan, officially unveiled in a meeting in Austin on February 26 by Obama operative Jeremy Bird, hails the onset of Battleground Texas. Texas is not a swing state, at least not yet, but Battleground Texas intends to treat it like one in a sustained and systematic way so that it becomes one…

Bird’s team has developed a five-point contact plan for identifying and courting low-information, low-frequency voters. These voters are average folks who pay little attention to politics and current events and have left no trail allowing either party to identify which party they’re more likely to vote for. Bird’s volunteers call these prospects and use a script to ascertain whether they are persuadable to the Democrats’ point of view. Volunteers perform a “gut check” on the prospective voter, and these gut checks have proven to be accurate nearly 95% of the time. If the prospect is not identified as persuadable, then the volunteer files them away and does not call them again. But if the prospect appears to be persuadable, then the five-point plan comes into play. Volunteers will call the voter again, based on current events, to deliver information crafted to shape the prospect’s beliefs. For instance, if a volunteer has identified a suburban Fort Worth mom as a persuadable Democratic voter based on social issues, Todd Akin’s remarks on rape would have generated a second phone call. Richard Mourdock’s comments would have generated a third. A fourth call may have focused on the ObamaCare birth control mandate, casting it as a service to women and casting opposition to it as a “war on women.” The fifth call would have simply given the prospect information on where to vote. Job done. Someone who probably would not have voted at all has been processed over a few weeks into a likely Democratic voter. At the very least, they have become far less likely to vote for the party of Akin and Mourdock, who have been cast along with their party as villains. Obviously, none of the recent Democrats’ remarks on rape that aired during Colorado’s gun control debate would get any play at all in these calls. They are one-sided information streams, intended to create velocity on the way to creating a vote.

I have a couple of questions. The first is: why can’t conservatives counter with a campaign of their own? Is it that conservative arguments don’t have the intrinsic appeal to low-information voters that liberal ones do?

The second is: why wouldn’t the approach described in the above quote annoy people more than it would influence them? How do the phone-bankers ingratiate themselves with people?

In his article, Preston observes that:

[Bird’s approach] succeeded in defying the polls that in 2012 showed 2008 Obama voters less likely to turn out for him a second time, by minting entirely new voters through fear and disinformation.

But 2008 Obama voters did stay home—or perhaps even voted for Romney (who got a million more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008, whereas Obama got three and a half million fewer in 2012 than in 2008). And although many new voters most definitely voted for Obama, if they were young people (and we can assume the vast majority were), they would have been natural Obama voters anyway, since that was by far his strongest demographic. So how do we know what Bird’s approach did or didn’t do?

In fact, even though Obama continued to do very well with young voters in 2012, he did not do better with them than he had in 2008. It’s instructive to revisit the age breakdown of 2012 Obama voters:

In winning reelection, Barack Obama won 60% of the vote among those younger than 30. That was down somewhat from 2008, when Obama won nearly two-thirds (66%) of the votes of young people.

So he lost support among the young—many of whom of course were different people than in 2008, since anyone 26 or over in 2008 was over 30 in 2012, replaced by those who had been between 17 and 21 in 2008 and unable to vote at the time. And he lost support among all other age groups as well:

He also maintained a slimmer advantage among voters 30 to 44 (52% Obama, 45% Romney), while losing ground among those 45 to 64 and those 65 and older.

And it was not even all the young with whom Obama did so very well in 2012—it was the non-white young:

Obama’s support among young voters declined among many of the same subgroups in the overall electorate in which he lost ground, particularly whites, men and independents. Obama won a majority of white non-Hispanics under 30 in 2008, but lost this group to Romney this year. In contrast, Obama won young African Americans and Hispanics by margins that were about as large as in 2008.

His losses among young voters since 2008 might have been even greater, but for the fact that the under 30s are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. Just 58% are white non-Hispanic, compared with 76% of voters older than 30.

So the reason Obama won seems to boil down to the fact that the demographic of under-30 voters has become much less white than the rest of the population, and they carried the day. I am fairly certain that some people would say it’s racist to point out that fact (of course, they are probably the same people who say it’s racist to criticize Obama for anything). But facts are facts; I merely report them.

So in summary: although Obama did worse among most demographics in 2012 than he had in 2008, he didn’t do worse enough to lose the election. And Romney didn’t do better enough than McCain to win it. So it’s not so clear how much effect a program such as Bird’s actually would have.

So why are conservatives so much gloomier in 2012 than they were right after the election of 2008, when Obama’s support has declined rather than increased between the two elections? The real difference between the results in 2008 and 2012 was that Obama’s victory in 2008 was understandable to conservatives, who knew it was at least in part a reaction to widespread weariness and hatred of Bush, the recent financial crisis causing people to want a change, and Obama’s newness and promise (albeit false promise). In 2012, Bush was long gone, the financial crisis should have been owned by Obama, and his newness and promise had been replaced by a dismal record. And yet he won.

And then there’s the future. Such projections are always tricky, but because the birth rate among minorities (most particularly latinos) is higher than among whites it is predicted that forty years from now whites will become a minority in this country. That is almost sure to change voting patterns and skew them ever leftward.

21 Responses to “What happens in Texas doesn’t stay in Texas”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    It’s been said, by hopeful conservatives, that Hispanics are socially conservative, so….
    Problem is, they’re mostly high-tax, big government (benefits) voters. Since they don’t expect to be paying the big taxes.
    Democracy can last, as has been often said, until the voters discover they can vote themselves boodly from the public treasury (aka other people’s tax money).
    Or that Congress discovers they can buy people’s votes with money from the public treasurey (aka other people’s tax money).
    Can’t think of a way to change this.

  2. Ann Says:

    It’s a natural human tendency to look for a quick-fix, isn’t it? I think that’s why so many Republicans are now looking into the nuts-and-bolts aspect of Obama’s win, hoping that by copying those it will make a difference. I think you point out very well why that might not be the case.

    I do remember reading recently, though, that Gov. Susana Martinez has been saying that Republicans have got to start making a greater effort to reach out to those people (like she was at one time) who tend to vote Democratic but can be persuaded that the Republicans stand for their values more than the Democrats do. And she emphasized reaching out on a one-to-one basis, not just relying on ad campaigns, etc.

    Re Republican gloom over the 2012 loss: They made a big mistake in discounting Obama’s unique personal appeal. Very understandable, especially given all his failures and the state of the economy. I also note they’re doing the same thing now in evaluating that loss and struggling to come up with ways to make the Republican party more appealing.

  3. holmes Says:

    With the influx of voters from California, Texas could become more purplish if those voters become more engaged/activist.

    The problem is that a lazy Red state with an inactive voter population that isn’t able to confront and organize against this kind of push is different from a lazy Blue state. A lazy blue state has a far more entrenched political apparatus, usually supported by public sector unions. Red state governments are more hands off and therefore more ripe for the taking.

  4. Beverly Says:

    I’m glad you foregrounded this, Neo.

    We can use the same technique to support truth, justice, and the American way.


    It’s also a great idea to give everyone the heads-up about the left’s tactics, as always.

  5. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I think Republicans need to develop the ability to put the issues in bumper-sticker type sayings that have been poll tested for effectiveness. The dems do it and it works. Listen to dems on talk TV or radio shows. They keep saying the same things. They have obviously coordinated their messaging.

    I’m not good at making up those kinds of slogans, but here are a few I thought of:

    “The affordable care act has made healthcare less affordable.”

    “Obama overspends, life as we know it ends.”

    “Obama said I could keep my doctor. Under Obamacare, my doctor says he can’t keep me.”

    “Obama forbids drilling on federal lands and gasoline prices keep rising.”

    “Built a profitable business? Obama says you didn’t.”

    “Obama works night and day to create jobs. His best efforts aren’t working and neither are a lot of us.”

    “Obama lied, job opportunities died.”

    Yeah, they’re lame. I’m sure there are creative people (Jay Leno ‘s writers, for instance) who could distill this sort of short message into pithy lines that could be tested on small groups of the target voters. Then they could be sent out to Republican operatives and politicians to use on talk shows, interviews, press conferences, and campaigns.

  6. thomass Says:

    ” Is it that conservative arguments don’t have the intrinsic appeal to low-information voters that liberal ones do?”

    Usually harder to fit conservative thoughts onto bumper stickers, yes. Also; if we make simplistic arguments we get shredded for doing it by the left/media complex. They’ve got that whole conservatives are idiot anti intellectual / knowledge / science thing they’ve already built up.

    But anyway; you’ve touched on the shredding thing with the fact check commentary.

  7. Alcibiades Says:

    People are gloomier because the damage to the country will go on longer 4 more long years and be far harder to fix. And also because its four more years of dealing with a media that has become utterly corrupt and will do anything to support Democrats.

  8. physicsguy Says:

    I actually think this strategy by the Democrats will work. It is supported entirely by the premise that the MSM will continue to be a propaganda arm of the DNC. As long as these targeted voters have no chance to hear any sort of negative news with respect to the message the Dems are selling, then the strategy will work beautifully. They just need boots (or Birkenstocks) on the ground to contact all these people.

    Again, destroy the MSM and a big support of the Democratic agenda will be removed.

  9. John Work Says:

    This strategy has already worked in Colorado. And it is being coupled with the Dims vote fraud – I think there were over 12 rural counties in Colorado in the last election where the count of registered voters was higher than the population.

  10. rickl Says:

    Here’s another article about Colorado:

    Danger ahead: Colorado leftwing coup a blueprint for America

    These vampires need to be taken out. And that’s all I’ll say about that.

  11. Occam's Beard Says:

    J.J., how about

    “Any bankrupt will tell you: You can’t spend your way to prosperity?”

  12. bobbymike Says:

    Bush was not long gone in 2012 – 50% of voters still blamed the economy on him and they voted for Obama 90 to 10 or so.

    2012, like 2008 was depressing because it is the first time in US history the media took an ACTIVE and OVERT role in electing the President. They have always been biased don’t get me wrong but they were paid Democratic operatives in these elections.

  13. bobbymike Says:

    Also we are living in the age of the idiot voter and it seems to only get worse. The amount of historical and economic ignorance in about 50% of voters is shocking.

  14. artfldgr Says:

    here is how it works
    jin up the public to make democratic, leftist socialist liberal choices…

    then when your neck deep in crap, leave the place to go to a nice place that you like… the poor end up forhead deep in crap… and you end up voting the same crap to improve the place you just went to..

    ie. they are fleeing california and moving inot texas, nevada, etc.

    colorado is already gone…

    and the same has happned with chicago…
    (they went from chicago to where? california mostly)

    personally, i am waiting to die, and thats that.
    the game is over and with them seizing money in greece (as if russian billionairs are going to say, oops, oh well), and spain… UK banks lost all profits..
    and its coming here to the US..

    ergo 400 million rounds of hollowpoint
    armored vehciles
    check point booths
    civilian labor camps which are up and running and which i showed the army manual and link to the army website

    those working for americorps, have to wear the juden symbol… ie. a white armband to show you are the lowest caste in society, and only one step from being singled out for extermination…

    when will they start up the pink stars?

    oh wait… thye started the gays wearing the nazi pink stars in protest years ago… so gays already wear the juden marks VOLUNTARILY .

    how long before the war starts?
    the big one?

    because if we are rioting in the streets, you can tell that the senkaus, south korea, japans, taiwan, singapore, and others are going to fall

    and in another place georgia, which has already half fallen with little response, will be seized by russia. russia is alreayd stationing troops near the baltics, finiland and the south.

    iran and iraq are cooperating, and now chemical weapons are used in syria, to which israel has attacked.

    most of the world now hates and blames the US for the ills, which is a key plank of social justice, and the bottom of this post.

    if anyone disagrees with me, why not let me know how this is going to navigate a big war when the leadership of these kinds of state LOVES war as the crisis that lets them hammer the world into shape (see fabian glass)

  15. Ymarsakar Says:

    Strategic masters don’t worry about small losses on the tactical level.

    Given that most American don’t even accept that they are in a war against the Left, the “strategic victories” are below 1 and above -1 here.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    The primary issue isn’t bumper stickers. It’s intent. The Left intends to make people fear, hate, and wish to destroy Republicans, conservatives, Americans, anybody who stands against the Left.

    Meanwhile, several people, whatever they call themselves, are merely thinking of “convincing people to vote against Democrats/Leftist socialism”.

    Yeah, that has about as high an odds of winning as trying to convince mass murderers that they shouldn’t kill those defenseless victims over there. Let’s just “disarm him”, meanwhile mass killer-kun over there has superior firepower and you got nothing, no training, no weapons, no intent equal to the killer’s.

  17. gcotharn Says:

    The Dem strategy, in reality, is designed to move Texas Mexicans to the polls. There are a lot of Mexicans in Texas, and Dems have a good opportunity to turn Texas purple.

    Repubs have this going to them: Texas is absorbing huge numbers of new residents who are refugees from blue states. Blood red voters, almost all.

  18. sergey Says:

    American public is now too stupid to preserve american cultural heritage, while universal suffrage is held. 18 years old are inherently looking for utopia and lack any real knowledge how world works. It will make sense to raise minimal voting age up to 21 or, better, to 25. But it will be impossible politically to achieve.

  19. James Says:

    Romney lost because his message focused on the ‘makers’. While the Democrats hurt the poor as much as the Republicans, at least they pretend to care. Even if your entire campaign is about keeping taxes low for the rich, you run on creating more jobs. As a mater of coarse, you do not mention keeping taxes low of the ‘makers’ at all.

    The path to more Republican Latino voters it to associate the Democratic party as the same type of government corruption general associated with South American countries. Then run the Republican as pro-justice pro-fairness.

  20. gcotharn Says:

    I concur.

  21. Bill West Says:

    After leaving office Obama will become the Executive Director of Organizing for Action. He will earn a large salary and will travel within the country and abroad.

    If you think Carter was a lousy ex-president because of his remarks about a sitting chief executive, wait until you hear what Obama has to say.

    He will continue to have an adoring press, moral authority and a nearly unlimited budget.

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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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