March 31, 2013

60-40 NATION:

No, the 2012 election didn't prove the Republican Party needs a reboot (John Sides, March 31, 2013, Washington Post)

The forecasting model here on Wonkblog--which I helped develop--predicted an Obama win.  As did models that relied on a broader survey of economic indicators, like that of political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien (here) and that of Nate Silver.  As did a statistical averaging of all the major forecasting models.  It is hard to defeat an incumbent even in a slowly growing economy, and we could easily chalk up Romney's loss to that fact.  This makes most of Gerson and Wehner's advice, however sensible, beside the point.

Claim: "Romney's biggest general-election problem is that he did not believe he could beat a GOP primary field...without tacking sharply right on key issues."

That is from the National Journal's Ron Brownstein, although he is far from the only one to make this claim.  And it does seem true that Romney had to tack right in the primary.  But when the general election rolled around, who did voters perceived as ideologically closer to them, on average: Romney or Obama?  Romney. [...]

Claim: "Obama may not have created a new liberal movement--and he may not do so in the next four years. But the emerging liberal majority can."

That is from Bob Moser of The American Prospect.  There were similar sentiments in many other places--as in this Buzzfeed headline "Welcome to Liberal America."  The same thing was said after Obama won in 2008. For example, John Judis wrote a piece entitled "America the Liberal."

It is certainly true that Americans are moving left on some issues--most notably same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.  But Obama did not win the election because America is becoming more liberal, he won it despite the fact that America has become more conservative.

Posted by at March 31, 2013 3:20 PM

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