UPDATE 8:11, Sun. Nov. 11: Asterisks below indicate data slightly revised since this post's original publish date of 3:43 PM Thursday, Nov. 8.
(This post is very numbers-heavy but bear with me and get through it. I guarantee it will be worth it.)
Needless to say, I'm as disappointed as any Republican that we lost Tuesday's election. The next four years with Obama back in office and an emboldened Reid-led Democrat Senate are not going to be pretty.
I also must admit to being surprised about the election results because I really believed the polls that showed Mitt Romney had this in the bag. I believed Rasmussen and those University of Colorado professors who have never been wrong predicting a presidential election since 1980. I believed Dick Morris and Michael Barone. I believed Rush and bought his argument that "D+" polls were unrealistic, that Democrats could not possibly vote in greater numbers than Republicans.
But in the end, the news was bad for us.
Did more Democrats vote for Obama than Romney? Yes.
Did Obama win virtually every swing state? Yes.
Did Obama trounce Romney in the electoral college? Yes.
Did Obama overwhelmingly get the overwhelming majority of blacks, Hispanics, and the youth vote -- especially single women? Hell, yes.
Did over 2.0 million fewer people vote Republican in 2012 than in 2008. Yes.
All these facts about the election have led many pundits to conclude our populace is trending precipitously Democratic, that we are no longer the "center-right" nation we used to be.
However, I'd like to propose that this is not necessarily the case. And here's why:
While the Republican lever was pulled by 1.3* million fewer people than in 2008, Obama's vote count from 2008 decreased by over 7.6* million. Put in percentage terms, the Republican vote decreased by 2.3%* from four years ago, but one-tenth* of Obama's 2008 voters rejected Hope and Change this time around. That is, in my opinion, a significant drop and a genuine rejection of Obama's policies, regardless of the fact that Obama beat Romney anyway.
In addition, the gap by which Obama beat Romney is significantly less than John McCain. In 2008 he beat McCain nearly 9.5 million votes. He beat Romney by only 3.5* million. (Yes, I can complain about Republican voters who for whatever reason couldn't bring themselves to vote for Romney, but that's another topic for another post.) And this is what gives me hope for the future.
My argument becomes stronger when you look at the individual states and the District of Columbia. Compared side by side here are the observations:
- The percentage of votes Obama lost from 2008 and 2012 was greater than the percentage of votes Romney lost compared to McCain in every state except for Alaska, Louisiana, and New Jersey.
- Obama lost voters in every state except for Louisiana and North Carolina (both of which Romney won). Some of these losses were actually quite huge and were not confined to the red states. These are the most egregious examples:
Arizona*: Obama got 841 thousand votes, compared to 1.03 million in 2008, an 18.7% decrease.
Kentucky: Obama got 679 thousand votes, compared to 752 thousand in 2008, a 9.7% decrease.
Utah (where Mia Love unfortanetly lost her Congressional bid): Obama got 229 thousand votes, compared to 327 thousand in 2008, an entire 30.0% decrease. By contrast, Romney got 12.7% more votes than McCain.
West Virginia: Obama got 235 thousand votes, compared to 304 thousand in 2008, a 22.7% decrease.
California*: Obama got 5.89 million votes, compared to 8.27 million in 2008, a 28.8% decrease! Unfortunately, Romney got 23.7% fewer votes than McCain (the largest percentage loss for Republicans than in any other state other than Alaska), which means that a staggering 3.4 million fewer Californians voted in 2012 than in 2008.
District of Columbia: Obama got 222 thousand votes, compared to 246 thousand, a 9.5% decrease.
Hawaii: Obama got 303 thousand votes, compared to 326 thousand in 2008, a 7.0% decrease.
Illinois: With 99.7% reporting at this writing, Obama has 2.92 million votes, compared to 3.42 in 2008, a 14.7% decrease.
New Jersey*: With 99.2% reporting at this writing, Obama has 1.96 million votes, compared to 2.21 million in 2008, an 11.5% decrease.
Pennsylvania: With 99.7% reporting at this writing, Obama has 2.91 million votes, compared to 3.27 million in 2008, a 11.3% decrease. By contrast, Romney has 2.61 million votes, compared to McCain's 2.65 million, only a 1.4% decrease.
Indiana*: With 99.9% reporting at this writing, Obama has 1.14 million votes, compared to 1.37 million in 2008, a 17.0% decrease.
Missouri (where Dem Claire McCaskill trounced Republican Todd foot-in-mouth Akin): Obama got 1.21 million votes, compared to 1.44 in 2008, a 15.7% decrease.
Ohio*: Obama got 2.69 million votes, compared to 2.93 million in 2008, an 8.0% decrease.
For those interested: The state-by-state data