21 January 2013

GE 2012 - End Analysis


The 2012 US Presidential Election: 
Barack Obama (D) vs. Mitt Romney (R)
A complete analysis



This is my apolitical analysis of the 2012 General Election for President of the United States. It is very extensive and extremely detailed, based on the numbers and the numbers only. The most important table in this report is what I call the “EVERYTHING table”, for once you learn to interpret the figures, just about every detail about this election is in this one table, which also functions as the 2012 Partisan Rankings, going into 2016.

Important "housekeeping" details:

Color coding: blue (Democratic), red (Republican) or green (Independent). Virtually everything is linked.

The vote tallies are now officially 100% in, but even then a small amount “straggler” write-in votes (somewhere between 0.005-0.008%) may come in over the next months. This is not unusual.

Speaking of the percentual, this brings me to a critical point: math. This is all simply about the numbers and what they report about victory, loss and trends. But because of rounding to the next highest 1/100th of a percentage point (the standard in electoral research), there can be a 0.01% deviation between the margin we would assume by simply subtracting the losing percentage from the winning percentage as opposed to taking the actual raw vote margin and dividing it by the total number of votes. This was the case for President Obama's national margin in both 2008 and in 2012. In 2008, it looks as if his margin should be +7.27% (52.87% - 45.60%), but it really is +7.26%. In 2012, it looks like his percentage margin should be +3.84% (51.02% - 47.18%), but it really is +3.85%. So, in the tables provided below, there will be a number of cases where the calculated margin difference or margin shift appears to be off by 0.01% - it is not. The figures are indeed correct.

Contents:

I. In a nutshell – national PV and EC numbers, 2012
II. Introductory summary
III. The EVERYTHING table / a "reduced" re-election?
IV. Re-Alignment confirmed?
V. Electoral "firsts" from 2012
VI. The polling wars
VII. Conclusion


I. In a nutshell - National Popular Vote, 2012 over 2008

USA DEM GOP IND Total DEM % GOP % IND % Margin Mar % % of NPV growth rate












2012 65899728 60929174 2325959 129154861 51,02% 47,18% 1,80% 4970554 3,85% 100,00%
2008 69499428 59950323 2009529 131459280 52,87% 45,60% 1,53% 9549105 7,26% 100,00%
Diff: -3599700 978851 316430 -2304419 -1,84% 1,57% 0,27% -4578551 -3,42% 0,00% -1,75%














"Electoral College", 2012 over 2008:


Year Obama EV Obama EV % Romney EV Romney EV % EV Margin EV Margin %
2012 332 61.7% 206 38.3% D +126 D +23.4%














2008 Obama EV Obama EV % McCain EV McCain EV % EV Margin EV Margin %


365 67.8% 173 32.2% D +192 D +35.6%














Diff: -33 -6.1% +33 +6.1% -66 -12.2%

In 2008, I made both NPV and EC projections. Due to the very disparate national polling for 2012, I only made an Electoral College Prediction, which you can read here in "Bonncaruso's final Electoral Landscape (No. 8)". I predicted Obama 303 / Romney 235, which means I missed only one state in the predictions, based purely and alone on polling averages: Florida.

Though I will be posting a lot of the state numbers here, the entire EXCEL table of the numbers for all 50 states plus DC, including exact numbers for the minor party candidates and breakdown by Region of the country, is HERE AT GOOGLE DOCS.

II. Summary:




On November 6th, 2012, President Barack Obama was re-elected as the 44th President and Joe Biden was re-elected as the 47th Vice-President of the United States of America - with the Democratic Presidential Ticket having received 51.02% of the national popular vote as opposed to Mitt Romney's/Paul Ryan's 47.18%, which calculates to a +3.85% national winning margin. The remaining 1.80% of the national popular vote went to third party and write-in candidates (Gary Johnson: 0.98%, Jill Stein: 0.36%, Virgil Goode: 0.18%, "other": 0.18% and write-in candidates, including Terry Randall: 0.18%).

The Democratic national winning margin of +3.85% will be critical in measuring the partisan rankings of each state in the Union and will serve as the baseline for the next presidential election, in 2016. 

Obama/Biden won 3 of 4 geographical regions of the USA: 

They won all of the East, including all subregions. 

USA DEM GOP IND Total DEM % GOP % IND % Margin Mar % % of NPV growth rate
Northeast 15848611 10497997 427579 26774187 59,19% 39,21% 1,60% 5350614 19,98% 20,73%
2008 16651909 10765920 392874 27810703 59,88% 38,71% 1,41% 5885989 21,16% 21,16%
Diff. -803298 -267923 1809 -1069412 -0,68% 0,50% 0,18% -535375 -1,18% -0,43% -3,85%












New England 4076182 2695309 124760 6896251 59,11% 39,08% 1,81% 1380873 20,02% 5,34%
2008 4224453 2614454 127900 6966807 60,64% 37,53% 1,84% 1609999 23,11% 5,30%
Diff. -148271 80855 -3140 -70556 -1,53% 1,56% -0,03% -229126 -3,09% 0,04% -1,01%












Middle Atlantic 11772429 7802688 302819 19877936 59,22% 39,25% 1,52% 3969741 19,97% 15,39%
2008 12427456 8151466 264974 20843896 59,62% 39,11% 1,27% 4275990 20,51% 15,86%
Diff. -655027 -348778 37845 -965960 -0,40% 0,15% 0,25% -306249 -0,54% -0,47% -4,63%




Obama won the Midwest, but Mitt Romney picked-up the West North Central sub-region.

USA DEM GOP IND Total DEM % GOP % IND % Margin Mar % % of NPV growth rate
Midwest 15790935 14840313 557673 31188921 50,63% 47,58% 1,79% 950622 3,05% 24,15%
2008 17287837 14293856 533529 32115222 53,83% 44,51% 1,66% 2993981 9,32% 24,43%
Diff. -1496902 546457 1809 -948636 -3,20% 3,07% 0,13% -2043359 -6,27% -0,28% -2,95%












East North Central 11185616 9740403 345741 21271760 52,58% 45,79% 1,63% 1445213 6,79% 16,47%
2008 12283221 9365679 350471 21999371 55,83% 42,57% 1,59% 2917542 13,26% 16,74%
Diff. -1097605 374724 1809 -721072 -3,25% 3,22% 0,03% -1472329 -6,47% -0,27% -3,28%












West North Central 4605319 5099910 211932 9917161 46,44% 51,43% 2,14% 494591 4,99% 7,68%
2008 5004616 4928177 183058 10115851 49,47% 48,72% 1,81% 76439 0,76% 7,70%
Diff. -399297 171733 1809 -225755 -3,04% 2,71% 0,33% 571030 5,74% -0,02% -2,23%



Obama won the West, and just as in 2008, he won the same 1 of 2 sub-regions.

USA DEM GOP IND Total DEM % GOP % IND % Margin Mar % % of NPV growth rate
West 15040233 11989147 764226 27793606 54,11% 43,14% 2,75% 3051086 10,98% 21,52%
2008 15720712 11765160 617078 28102950 55,94% 41,86% 2,20% 3955552 14,08% 21,38%
Diff. -680479 223987 147148 -309344 -1,83% 1,27% 0,55% -904466 -3,10% 0,14% -1,10%












Mountain West 4030766 4818653 235833 9085252 44,37% 53,04% 2,60% 787887 8,67% 7,03%
2008 4208635 4471281 184924 8864840 47,48% 50,44% 2,09% 262646 2,96% 6,74%
Diff. -177869 347372 50909 220412 -3,11% 2,60% 0,51% 525241 5,71% 0,29% 2,49%












Pacific West 11009467 7170494 528393 18708354 58,85% 38,33% 2,82% 3838973 20,52% 14,49%
2008 11512077 7293879 432154 19238110 59,84% 37,91% 2,25% 4218198 21,93% 14,63%
Diff. -502610 -123385 96239 -529756 -0,99% 0,41% 0,58% -379225 -1,41% -0,15% -2,75%

Notice that the Mountain West region actually GREW over 2008.

Romney won all of the South, including all sub-regions, just as McCain did in 2008.

USA DEM GOP IND Total DEM % GOP % IND % Margin Mar % % of NPV growth rate
South 19219949 23601717 576481 43398147 44,29% 54,38% 1,33% 4381768 10,10% 33,60%
2008 19838970 23125387 466048 43430405 45,68% 53,25% 1,07% 3286417 7,57% 33,04%
Diff. -619021 476330 110433 -32258 -1,39% 1,14% 0,26% 1095351 2,53% 0,56% -0,07%












South Atlantic 11027735 11406697 285081 22719513 48,54% 50,21% 1,25% -378962 -1,67% 17,59%
2008 11091122 10983353 224562 22299037 49,74% 49,25% 1,01% -107769 -0,48% 16,96%
Diff. -63387 423344 60519 420476 -1,20% 0,95% 0,25% -486731 -2,15% 0,63% 1,89%












East South Central 3236993 4933846 115539 8286378 39,06% 59,54% 1,39% 1696853 20,48% 6,42%
2008 3511420 4916249 106452 8534121 41,15% 57,61% 1,25% 1404829 16,46% 6,49%
Diff. -274427 17597 9087 -247743 -2,08% 1,93% 0,15% 292024 4,02% -0,08% -2,90%












West South Central 4955221 7261174 175861 12392256 39,99% 58,59% 1,42% 2305953 18,61% 9,59%
2008 5236428 7225785 135034 12597247 41,57% 57,36% 1,07% 1989357 15,79% 9,58%
Diff. -281207 35389 40827 -204991 -1,58% 1,23% 0,35% 316596 2,82% 0,01% -1,63%

The South Atlantic sub-region actually GREW over 2008.



Raw Vote Statistics

Close to 129.2 million valid votes were cast in the 50 states of the Union plus D.C., making this election the second largest in history, after 2008. That makes for 2.3 million less votes in 2012 than in 2008, but the actual negative growth rate was -1.7%. This is the second time since the Reagan Revolution of 1980 that a re-election brought in fewer total votes than the election before (1996 was the other cycle).

President Obama / Vice-President Biden received close to 65.9 million votes, also setting a record for the second-highest raw vote number for one candidate in the history of the USA, after their 69.5 million vote total from 2008. Obama/Biden earned roughly 5 million more votes than Mitt Romney, and also 3.8 million votes more than George W. Bush / Dick Cheney garnered in 2004. 

The popular vote, by state is either HERE AT GOOGLE DOCS. or here at blogspot.



Voter Turnout statistics

The voter turnout for 2012 was 58.9% (in 2008 it was 61.6%), which is a lower turnout rate than either 2008 (61.6%) or 2004 (60.1%), but higher than 2000 (54.2%), 1996 (51.7%), 1992 (58.1%), 1988 (52.8%), 1984 (55.2%) or 1980 (54.2%). So, of the last 9 presidential elections, 2012 had the third highest voter turnout rate, which means that both of Obama's elections had a higher turnout rate than both of Clinton's and both of Reagan's. In second place is Bush 43's 2004 re-election.

The state with the highest voter turnout of the entire nation in 2012: Wisconsin, with 72.5%.  
The state with the lowest voter turnout of the entire nation in 2012: West Virginia, with 46.3%.

You can download the complete voter turnout stats from 1980-2012 HERE.

Swing comparison to 2008:

Since President Obama won in 2008 with a +7.26% margin, the partisan shift (also known as the “Swing”) from 2008 to 2012 is: -3.42%. This is calculated as the new margin minus the old margin:  3.85 - 7.26 = -3.42. (I know, I know, looks like it should be -3.41, but please see math note from above about rounding, this is important). The individual state swings are in the "Everything Table" below.

Obama's 2012 popular vote win translated into an Electoral College win of 332 EV (61.7%) to Romney's 206 EV (38.3%), making an Electoral College margin of +126 EV (+23.4%). Obama won the electors from 26 states plus D.C. For the sake of simplicity, as of this point, DC will be listed as a “state”. Romney won the electors from 24 states. President Obama got 33 less electors in 2012 than in 2008, Romney got 33 electors more in 2012 than McCain got in 2008, which means that the EC margin, 2012 over 2008, shifted by 66 electors away from Obama, a swing of -12.2%. The Electors met in the various states on December 17th, 2012 and the votes were read in a joint session of Congress on January 4th, 2013, in accordance with law. There were no "faithless electors", which means that the projected electoral vote totals as of November 9th, 2012 (when Florida was called for President Obama) held.


III. The "Everything" Table:

Based on the results of the GE 2012, I have created an table, which, once one learns to interpret the numbers, tells pretty much everything we need to know about the election. It is a comparative table of the GE Nov. 6, 2012 to the final Electoral Landscape polling averages (Diff. 1) and to the winning margins from the GE in 2008 (Diff. 2). The table is sorted according to winning margin, from Obama's largest down to his leanest, then from Romney's leanest to his largest. This makes for a sort of "hourglass" formation of the numbers:


Rank '12 State EV 2012 Margin '12 Swing: '12 / '08 2012 FINAL PA Diff: '12/'12 PA
Diff: '08/'08 PA 2008 Final PA Margin - '08 State Rank '08

1 DC 3 83,63 -2,30 80,00 3,63
16,93 69,00 85,93 DC 1

2 HI 4 42,71 -2,55 27,00 15,71
9,26 36,00 45,26 HI 2

3 VT 3 35,60 -1,41 37,00 -1,40
10,01 27,00 37,01 VT 3

4 NY 29 28,13 1,27 25,20 2,93
-2,14 29,00 26,86 NY 5

5 RI 4 27,46 -0,35 21,00 6,46
9,71 18,10 27,81 RI 4

6 MD 10 26,08 0,64 21,67 4,41
8,14 17,30 25,44 MD 7

7 MA 11 23,14 -2,67 19,00 4,14
4,48 21,33 25,81 MA 6

8 CA 55 23,12 -0,91 15,80 7,32
0,03 24,00 24,03 CA 10

9 DE 3 18,63 -6,35 17,00 1,63
4,28 20,70 24,98 DE 9

10 NJ 14 17,68 2,15 11,00 6,68
0,08 24,90 15,53 NJ 16

11 CT 7 17,33 -5,04 11,50 5,83
6,37 16,00 22,37 CT 11

12 IL 20 16,86 -8,25 17,50 -0,64
7,96 17,15 25,11 IL 8

13 ME 4 15,29 -2,03 11,03 4,26
2,72 14,60 17,32 ME 12

14 WA 12 14,78 -2,30 13,74 1,04
7,82 9,26 17,08 WA 13

15 OR 7 12,09 -4,26 6,00 6,09
0,78 15,57 16,35 OR 15

16 NM 5 10,15 -4,98 8,00 2,15
-6,20 21,33 15,13 NM 17

17 MI 16 9,48 -6,96 4,79 4,69
4,44 12,00 16,44 MI 14

18 MN 10 7,69 -2,55 6,25 1,44
-4,20 14,44 10,24 MN 21

19 WI 10 6,94 -6,96 4,63 2,31
2,56 11,34 13,90 WI 18

20 NV 6 6,68 -5,81 4,67 2,01
5,66 6,83 12,49 NV 19

21 IA 6 5,81 -3,72 2,14 3,67
-0,90 10,43 9,53 IA 23

22 NH 4 5,58 -4,03 2,50 3,08
2,31 7,30 9,61 NH 22

23 PA 20 5,38 -4,93 4,20 1,18
-2,44 12,75 10,31 PA 20

24 CO 9 5,37 -3,58 1,87 3,50
2,33 6,62 8,95 CO 24

25 VA 13 3,87 -2,43 0,77 3,10
1,37 4,93 6,30 VA 25

26 OH 18 2,97 -1,61 3,24 -0,27
2,28 2,30 4,58 OH 26

27 FL 29 0,88 -1,93 0,61 1,49
1,02 1,79 2,81 FL 27


Total EV: 332




























538 3,85 -3,41 1,22 1,22
1,22 7,54 7,26 USA --
















Rank '12 State EV 2012 Margin '12 Swing: '12 / '08 2012 FINAL PA Diff: '12/'12 PA
Diff. 1 2008 Final PA Margin - '08 State Rank '08

24 NC 15 2,04 2,37 2,40 -0,36
-0,29 0,62 0,33 NC 29

23 GA 16 7,81 2,61 8,25 -0,44
1,35 3,85 5,20 GA 20

22 AZ 11 9,04 0,56 7,67 1,37
4,05 4,43 8,48 AZ 18

21 MO 10 9,38 9,25 10,12 -0,74
-0,33 0,46 0,13 MO 22

20 IN 11 10,20 11,23 11,20 -1,00
-0,15 1,18 1,03 IN 28

19 SC 9 10,47 1,49 6,00 4,47
-3,57 12,55 8,98 SC 16

18 MS 6 11,50 -1,67 15,00 -3,50
2,67 10,50 13,17 MS 13

17 MT 3 13,65 11,27 8,68 4,97
0,74 1,64 2,38 MT 21

16 AK 3 13,99 -7,55 22,00 -8,01
6,96 14,58 21,54 AK 6

15 TX 38 15,78 4,02 17,50 -1,72
-1,24 13,00 11,76 TX 15

14 LA 8 17,21 -1,42 14,07 3,14
8,20 10,43 18,63 LA 8

13 SD 3 18,02 9,61 12,00 6,02
0,91 7,50 8,41 SD 19

12 ND 3 19,62 10,97 17,50 2,12
7,31 1,34 8,65 ND 17

11 TN 11 20,40 5,34 18,00 2,40
1,06 14,00 15,06 TN 10

10 KS 6 21,72 6,80 19,80 1,92
-2,08 17,00 14,92 KS 11

9 NE 5 21,78 6,85 17,25 4,53
-4,07 19,00 14,93 NE* 12

8 AL 9 22,19 0,61 15,00 7,19
2,25 19,33 21,58 AL 5

7 KY 8 22,69 6,47 14,00 8,69
3,82 12,40 16,22 KY 9

6 AR 6 23,69 3,84 27,00 -3,31
9,10 10,75 19,85 AR 7

5 WV 5 26,75 13,66 14,00 12,75
5,43 7,66 13,09 WV 14

4 ID 4 31,69 6,39 36,00 -4,31
2,30 23,00 25,30 ID 4

3 OK 7 33,54 2,25 25,90 7,64
1,14 30,15 31,29 OK 2

2 WY 3 40,82 8,58 40,00 0,82
9,24 23,00 32,24 WY 1

1 UT 6 47,89 19,87 46,33 1,56
4,02 24,00 28,02 UT 3


Legend:

-The number at the left is the "Partisan Ranking" that results based on the descending order of margins for each candidate. Obama's largest winning margin was in DC, so DC is No. 1 in the Liberal / Democratic Rankings. UT was Romney's largest margin, so UT is No. 1 in the Conservative / Republican rankings. These rankings will be used as a baseline for the 2016 elections.

-Each state name is hyperlinked to a "bio" that I created for all the states at the end of 2011. These bios will shortly be updated. Stay tuned.

-Next to the state name is the number of electoral votes.

-Next to the EV is the EXACT winning percentage margin from 2012, in descending order for the winner and in ascending order for the loser. This makes for an hourglass formation.

-the "Swing '12 / '08" is the mathematical difference in margin between those two cycles, per state. You can see the exact '08 margin on the right side of this table, past the black dividing line. Obviously, by the swing numbers, a plus value for one side is automatically a negative value for the other, which means that in spite of less votes cast in 2012 than in 2008 and a reduced winning margin, President Obama actually IMPROVED his statistic over 2008 in six states: NJ, MD, NY (where he won by a larger margin than in 2008), AK, MS and LA (where Romney won by a lesser margin that John McCain from 2008), which means that those 6 states "swung" more Democratic in 2012. Based on this, we automatically know that the remaining 45 states in the Union (including DC) "swung" Republican. Interestingly enough, in 2008, 46 states swung Democratic in that year.

-the " 2012 Final PA" means the polling averages, all of which are documented in Electoral Landscape No. 8, and the complete EXCEL table of all polling data going into election day is HERE.

-the "Diff: '12 / '12 PA" is the mathematical difference between the actual winning margin and the final polling average. The closer this number comes to "0", then the more accurate the polling average was. Since the standard margin of error for polling is between +/-3 to 4%, a number greater than +/-4 here means that the composite polling was outside the margin of error.

-over the black dividing line in the middle are the 2008 statistics, in mirror-order to the 2012 statistics.

I have also published the table via GOOGLE DOCS, and if you go to the link, you can re-sort the table according to other variables other than margin. This is what makes the table so useful. There are actually 6 tables for you there, and also a table of all the links to the final vote data as released from the respective state SOS or BOE offices, plus Dave Leip's figures from uselectionatlas.org, and also my copied of this data, which I have archived on Google Docs for posterity.

We can see from the EVERYTHING table that Mitt Romney (R) did especially well in the Big-Sky Country / part of the Mountain West and also in the parts of the South that intersect with Appalachia and the so-called "Bible Belt" - namely, the states that bucked the trend in 2008 (the "Clinton 6", as I call them), but in the Midwest, which the Obama team called its "Firewall" the entire time, the President was able to hold the entire Firewall.

Some interesting side-data:

As was the case in 2008, there were two states in 2012 where the winning percent margins were almost identical to each other:  in 2008, McCain won Kansas and Nebraska by +14.92% and +14.93%, respectively. In 2012, Obama won Colorado and Pennsylvania by +5.37% and +5.38%, respectively. In both cases, the difference in the winning margin was only 0.01%!

-We see a number of states that looked extremely competitive in the polling averages, but on election night, they really were not very close at all (something I will be dealing with in detail with the report comparing the polling to the final results), most notably: NH, IA, WI an MN.

-There were no percentage margin record breakers in 2012, but in terms of raw votes, 19 "states", or more than 1/3 of the Union, set new raw-vote records for President:  

Arizona (2,306,559 total votes)
Colorado (2,569,520 total votes) - second highest growth rate: +7.00% over 2008
Delaware (413,890 total votes)
D.C. (293,764 total votes) - highest growth rate of all: +10.50% over 2008
Florida (8,491,019 total votes)
Iowa (1,582,180 total votes)
Louisiana (1,994,065 total votes)
Maryland (2,707,327 total votes)
Massachusetts (3,167,767 total votes)
Minnesota (2,936,561 total votes)
Nevada (1,014,918 total votes)
New Hampshire (710,972 total votes, an increase of exactly 2 votes over 2008!)
North Carolina (4,505,372 total votes)
North Dakota (322,932 total votes)
South Carolina (1,964,118 total votes)
Utah (1,020,647 total votes)
Virginia (3,854,489 total votes)
Washington State (3,145,305 total votes)
Wisconsin (3,068,434 total votes)

In setting these new records, both Nevada and Utah crossed over the 1 million vote line and Wisconsin crossed over the 3 million vote line for the first time in their respective histories. If you look closely at this list, you will see that of the 19 listed here, every single battleground (contested) state except for one is on the list: Ohio. The Buckeye State fell short of its 2008 raw vote record by 130,977 votes (-2.29% growth rate). Ohio was the most polled state, the most visited state and the state with the most presidential ads of an state in the Union. Interesting. Please also notice that 13 of these 19 states, or 2/3 of them, were won by Obama

The other 32 states (including Ohio) had a drop off in raw-vote totals over 2008, most notably (nationally, it was -1.75% growth rate, these are all the states with -5% or higher) these 14 states:

Vermont (-12.82% growth rate)
Oklahoma (-8.74% growth rate)
Alaska (-7.88% growth rate)
New York (-7.58% growth rate) - one of the states most affected by Hurricane "Sandy".
Kansas (-6.33% growth rate)
New Jersey (-5.96% growth rate) -  one of the states most affected by Hurricane "Sandy".
Missouri (-5.86% growth rate)
West Virginia (-6.18% growth rate)
New Mexico (-5.59% growth rate)
Tennessee (-5.51% growth rate)
Rhode Island (-5.45% growth rate)  -  one of the states somewhat affected by Hurricane "Sandy".
Michigan (-5.36% growth rate)
Connecticut (-5.33% growth rate) -  one of the states somewhat affected by Hurricane "Sandy".
Illinois (-5.10% growth rate)

In other words, these 13 states were the highest drivers of negative growth in the raw vote total, 2012 over 2008. Notice anything about this list? 12 of these 14 states were landslide states for their respective candate, and the two other states (MO, MI) were near-landslides and not in play in 2012.

The two states that paralleled the national -1.75% growth rate were Kentucky (-1.66%) and Montana (-1.77%).


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Based on the statewide figuresHere a table comparing the margin spreads (numerically):

Margin
BO - '08
EV - '08
BO - '12
EV - '12
DIFF (EV):

JM - '08
EV - '08
MR - '12
EV - '12
DIFF (EV):












+30 and up
3
10
3
10
0

2
10
4
20
+10
+20 to +30
8
143
5
109
-34

4
21
7
50
+29
+10 to +20
10
105
8
72
-33

8.75
89**
9
84
-5
+5 to +10
4
33
8
81
+48

5
39
3
37
-2
+2 to +5
2
47
2
31
-16

1
3
1
15
+12
+1 to +2
1
11
0
0
-11

--
--
--
--
--
Subtotal
28
349
26
303
-46

20.75
162
24
206
+44
Under +1
1.25
16**
1
29
+13

1
11
0
0
-11
TOTAL
29.25
365
27
332
-33

21.75
173
24
206
+33

**, from 2008, refers to NE-02.

What does this table mean? It shows the amount of electoral strength for both presidential tickets in both 2008 and 2012, based on margin range.

For instance, we can see from the table that in both 2008 and 2012, Obama won 3 states with a margin of +30% or more over his opponent, worth 10 electoral votes in both cases. In fact, it was the same three "states" in the same order: DC, HI and VT. We can see that the number of states where Obama won by between +5% - up to +10% doubled between 2008 and 2012. We also see that Mitt Romney improved on McCain's statistic in both the +20% to +30% and in the +30% upward categories.





IV. A "reduced" Re-Election?



We can see from the statistics above that President Obama was re-elected in 2012 with a lower winning percentage and a lesser winning percentage margin than in 2008 in both the National Popular Vote and in the "Electoral College". This is not the first time in history that this has happened, but comparing it to the past requires us to first define the word "incumbent". 

Naturally, an incumbent is a sitting President who is up for election, but that does not necessarily mean "re-election", since 7 times in our history a sitting Vice-President has seceeded to the Presidency due to the death or resignation of the President, and in 4 of those cases, that person went on to be the nominee in the next election: Roosevelt in 1904, Truman in 1948, Johnson in 1964 and Ford in 1976.

The last "incumbent" who won with a lesser margin than the party margin for the previous election was Harry S. Truman, in 1948, but his name was not on the Democratic ticket for President in 1944. FDR's name was. Who knows what kind of statistic would have come out for 1944 had Truman's name been on the ballot for President rather than FDR's?

FDR won in both 1944 and in 1940 by lesser margins than the election before, but FDR was the only president in our history elected to a 3rd and 4th term in office and thanks to the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution, this is a feat that will never again be duplicated. It is really not fair to compare a president's second election to FDR's 3rd or 4th elections. Who knows if Eisenhower could have surpassed his 1956 statistic had he been allowed to run again in 1960 and had won a 3rd term. Ditto for Reagan, had he been allowed to run for a third term in 1988, ditto for Clinton, had he been allowed to run for a third term in 2000. We know that all three of these Presidents stated that, given the chance, they would have run for a third term.

Woodrow Wilson was elected by a far lesser margin in both the NPV and in the EC in 1916 vs. 1912 and he was indeed the last President since Obama who, like Obama, was officially on the ballot for "President" for both elections. But the two elections were unequally yoked: Wilson went from a three-man race against Teddy Roosevelt (Bull Moose) and incumbent President William H. Taft (R) in 1912 to a strict two-man race against Charles Hughes (R) in 1916. BTW, the general wisdom in 1916 was that Hughes was a shoo-in to win. Hughes went to bed on election night absolutely sure that he would win (0:59):


Who knows what the statistic would have looked like had the two elections (1912, 1916) been equally yoked. Not only that, both of Wilson's wins were minority wins in the NPV. That is not the case with Obama.

There is one more incumbent who won with a lesser margin in his re-election than in his first election, but most would shake their heads in disbelief: Abraham Lincoln (R) won in 1864 by an ever-so-slightly less margin (-0.05% less) than in 1860 but as was the case in 1916 for Wilson, the two races were unevenly yoked: our first Republican President went from a four-man race in 1860 to a two-man race in 1864 and on top of that, the race of 1864 was conducted with 1/2 of the Union missing, due to the Civil War. Not only that, the electoral map of 1860 was only about 1/2 of today's Union and the Republican party as we know it was only on the national scene for 4 years - it was in it's infancy, so to speak.

So, we can try to compare Obama's reduced margin from 2012 to those four incumbents of the past, but there is no direct comparison possible. This is the first time in history that an incumbent President whose name was on the ballot for "President" both times in a row, and in two equally-yoked races and an electoral map with the same number of states up for grabs, won with a lesser winning percentage and winning percentage margin.

There is more.

This re-election has seen the electoral map change the very least of all in all of our history: only two states switched sides in 2012, both Romney pick-ups: IN and NC.

Compare the maps of 2008 to 2012 (moving .gif, 5 second lapse between frames). The two states (plus NE, because of NE-02) that were red for Obama turn green to indicate that a shift is coming, and then they land red for Romney:



Here the state switches (pick-ups) in all the successful re-elections of the last 112 years:

In 2012, two states switched sides over 2008: IN and NC (to Romney).

In 2004, three states switched sides over 2000: NH (to Kerry), IA and NM (to Bush).

In 1996, five states switched sides over 1992: FL, AZ (to Clinton), MT, CO and GA (to Dole).

In 1984, five states switched sides over 1980: GA, WV, MD, RI and HI (all to Reagan).

In 1972,  seventeen states switched sides over 1968: WA, TX, MN, MI, WV, MD, PA, NY, CT, RI, ME, HI (from Humprey 68 to Nixon 72) + AR, LA, MS, AL and GA (from Wallace 68 to Nixon 72) - all to Nixon.

In 1956, four states switched sides over 1952: WV, KY, LA (to Eisenhower), MO (to Stevenson).

In 1948, eighteen states switched sides over 1944 : WY, CO, OH, WI, IA (to Truman), LA, MS, AL, SC (to Thurmond), OR, MI, NH, CT, NY, PA, NJ, MD, DE (to Dewey).

In 1944, three states switched sides over 1940: IA, WI, WY (all to Dewey).

In 1940, eight states switched sides over 1936: MI, IN, IA, ND, SD, NE, KS, CO (all to Willkie).

In 1936, four states switched sides over 1932: NH, CT, PA and DE (all to FDR).

In 1916, twenty states switched sides: OR, SD, MN, WI, IA, IL, MI, IN, WV, PA, NJ, NY, DE, CT, RI, MA, ME (to Hughes), UT,CA, WA (to Wilson).

In 1904, five states switched sides over 1900: MO, CO, NV, ID and MT (to Roosevelt).

In 1900,eight states switched sides over 1896: KS, NE, SD, WY, UT, WA (to McKinley), KY (to Bryan).

So, as you can see, in terms of successful re-elections, this is the most landlocked EV map the USA has ever seen.

This is also the first time since 1944 where the incumbent picked-up absolutely no states at all.


Electoral Columns

I have already done an extensive study comparing Obama's electoral columns from 2012 and 2008 to Bill Clinton's and also an study of the last 6 election cycles, which you can read HERE (Clinton 6 vs. Obama 3) and HERE. It is most fascinating stuff. But to go in line with the pick-up statistics from above, we see that, although Obama lost almost one-half of his winning margin from 2008, he retained practically all of his electoral column from 2008. Jon King from CNN, shortly before Colorado was called for the President on Election Night, made the following commentary, which pretty much sums it all up. Watch:



That sums it up quite well. After a presidential campaign that cost at least $2,000,000,000  between the candidates, Romney Romney was only able to pick-up two states, and one of them, Indiana, was not even competitive in 2012. The other one, North Carolina, was his closest race and was a narrower win than Obama's win in Ohio.

In 2008, Obama's national winning margin (+7.26%) fell between his winning margins in Virginia (+6.30%) - Ranking 25, and Colorado (+8.95%), Ranking 24. 

This time, in 2012, Obama's national winning margin (+3.85%) fell between Ohio (+2.97%), Ranking 26 - and Virginia (+3.87%), Ranking 25.  His national margin is, for all intents and purposes, practically identical to the Virginia margin, but interestingly enough, his margin is pretty much the same distance away from Ohio (0.88 points over) in 2008 as it was over Virginia in 2008 (0.96 points over). This is yet another piece of evidence that the demographic shift in Virginia may be turning it into a bellwether state.

You will also notice that the top three states (DC,HI, VT) in the Partisan Rankings, the bottom four states (CO, VA, OH, FL) and three states right in the middle (DE, CT,OR) on the Obama side retained their same ranking number from 2008. On the Romney side, only TX retained the same ranking as it had in 2008:

Rank '12 State Margin '12
Rank '08 State Margin - '08
1 DC 83,63
1 DC 85,93
2 HI 42,71
2 HI 45,26
3 VT 35,60
3 VT 37,01
4 NY 28,13
5 NY 26,86
5 RI 27,46
4 RI 27,81
6 MD 26,08
6 MA 25,81
7 MA 23,14
7 MD 25,44
8 CA 23,12
8 IL 25,11
9 DE 18,63
9 DE 24,98
10 NJ 17,68
10 CA 24,03
11 CT 17,33
11 CT 22,37
12 IL 16,86
12 ME 17,32
13 ME 15,29
13 WA 17,08
14 WA 14,78
14 MI 16,44
15 OR 12,09
15 OR 16,35
16 NM 10,15
16 NJ 15,53
17 MI 9,48
17 NM 15,13
18 MN 7,69
18 WI 13,90
19 WI 6,94
19 NV 12,49
20 NV 6,68
20 PA 10,31
21 IA 5,81
21 MN 10,24
22 NH 5,58
22 NH 9,61
23 PA 5,38
23 IA 9,53
24 CO 5,37
24 CO 8,95
25 VA 3,87
25 VA 6,30
26 OH 2,97
26 OH 4,58
27 FL 0,88
27 FL 2,81
24 NC 2,04
28 IN 1,03
23 GA 7,81
29 NC 0,33
22 AZ 9,04
22 MO 0,13
21 MO 9,38
21 MT 2,38
20 IN 10,20
20 GA 5,20
19 SC 10,47
19 SD 8,41
18 MS 11,50
18 AZ 8,48
17 MT 13,65
17 ND 8,65
16 AK 13,99
16 SC 8,98
15 TX 15,78
15 TX 11,76
14 LA 17,21
14 WV 13,09
13 SD 18,02
13 MS 13,17
12 ND 19,62
12 KS 14,92
11 TN 20,40
11 NE* 14,93
10 KS 21,72
9 KY 16,22
9 NE 21,78
10 TN 15,06
8 AL 22,19
8 LA 18,63
7 KY 22,69
6 AK 21,54
6 AR 23,69
5 AL 21,58
5 WV 26,75
4 ID 25,30
4 ID 31,69
7 AR 27,00
3 OK 33,54
3 UT 28,02
2 WY 40,82
2 OK 31,29
1 UT 47,89
1 WY 32,24








USA 3,85
-- USA 7,26









This means that exactly 1/3 of the Obama electoral column remained absolutely stabile in terms of Partisan Ranking.


Though according to most network calls on election night, Ohio put the President over the top, the state from 2012 that was the "tipping-point state" was Colorado, which was the same tipping-point state in 2008. This means that Obama could have lost the three states under Colorado in the Partisan rankings and he would still have won-relection. This is also key evidence that Colorado may be becoming a bellwether state.


IV. Re-alignment confirmed?

In the 2008 analysis, I postulated that Obama's victory over John McCain also represented a re-alignment election, due to the new combination of states that appeared in the Obama electoral column and also the noted absence of some key "Clinton states".

It appears that my hypothesis was correct, for President Obama was able to retain three key states that no Democrat has had in his column twice in a row since 1936: Florida, Colorado, and probably most importantly, Virginia. And that in spite of vigorous opposition and a closer election this time around. And he won NC once and came very, very close to retaining the state again in 2012.

Bill Clinton won CO and VA one time each, but not in the same election. He never won VA or NC.

Jimmy Carter won FL and NC in 1976, but he did not win either VA or CO. He lost FL and NC in his 1980 defeat to Ronald Reagan.

Harry Truman was the last Democrat to win those four states (FL, NC, VA and CO) against John Dewey, in 1948.

Much more detail on this in the Blog entry: Obama 3 vs. Clinton 6.

In light of the results of 2012, I am now quite sure that 2008 was indeed a re-alignment election, reflecting a demographic shift that did not hold just for one, but now, two elections.



V. Electoral "firsts" from 2012

-President Obama is the first African-American to be elected President and also to be re-elected.

-Joe Biden is the first Roman Catholic to be elected Vice-President and then re-elected as Vice-President.

-President Obama currently holds the record for the largest number of raw votes ever won by a candidate (2008) and also the second largest number of raw votes ever won by a candidate (2012).

-Mitt Romney is the first Mormon to be nominated by a major party. He is also the 3rd Presidential candidate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in just the last generation to lose a presidential election, after Michael Dukakis (1988) and John Kerry (2004).

-2012 was the first election ever where both Vice-Presidential candidates were Roman Catholic, so according to the candidates' public professions of faith, the only candidate of the four from the two major tickets who was a Protestant was: President Obama.

-2012 was the first time since 1972 where both candidates from the losing ticket lost all of their home states (Romney: MI and MA, Ryan: WI).

-Obama/Biden is the first Democratic ticket since 1936 to win two election cycles (election, re-election) with over 50% of the popular vote. It is also the first ticket of any party to get over 51% both times since Eisenhower.

-2012 was the first election cycle ever where a former President formally placed the name of a candidate in nomination at the national convention: Bill Clinton (D), at the Democratic National Convention.

-2012 was also a year of firsts for the Republican Party internally: the first woman candidate for the nomination (Michele Bachmann), the first African-American candidate for the nomination (Herman Cain) and the first time that two Roman-Catholic candidates battled-out it out within the party for the nomination: Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. 2012 was also the second time in a row where the last Republican president, George W. Bush, Jr., did not attend the nominating convention.

-2012 saw the first female, and at the same time, the first Jewish presidential nominee from a 3rd party: Jill Stein (The Green Party). 


VI. The Polling Wars

2012 saw a huge disparity in the predictions from the national polls vs. the composite state polling. One polling organization, namely GALLUP, was far, far off in predicting the national results. As it ended up, GALLUP has admitted to using a polling model that misjudged the white vote percent of the overall electorate by 6%. GALLUP predicted a white electorate of 78%, whereas on election day, the white electorate was 72%.

2012 also saw the advent of a number of fly-by Republican leaning organizations that produced polling results that were far removed from reality. Of course, a lively discussion could be had as to whether those organizations were really looking to put out accurate numbers, or whether they were trying to drive the narrative, following an ideological plan.

In the next weeks, I will be putting out an exact report - per pollster, of how they did, but we do now know that Democracy Corps (a Democratic polling outfit), which showed Obama +4 right before election day, and RAND polling (which uses online polling and a method unlike all others), which showed Obama +4.38%, came the closest to the actual results. Next in line was a Canadian firm, ANGUS REID, which also produced very good state results.

The Democratic leaning firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) got it right in all of the states they polled. Conversely, Rasmussen polling, which claims to be independent, but in reality is deeply tied to the extreme Right-Wing scene, missed most of the battleground calls, and just as was the case in the GE of 2008 and the mid-term elections of 2010, had a provable mathematical bias of roughly 4 points to the right in virtually all of its polling.

VII. Conclusion

The election of 2012 was not nearly as close as the pollsters and pundits wanted us to believe. Obama's +3.85% margin of victory doesn't even classify as a truly close election. Of the 15 elections in our history win by under 5 points, Obama's re-election is the 13th on that list. George W. Bush, Jr's re-election from 2004 is 9th, Carter's 1976 election is 8th, Nixon's 1968 election is 5th and the hotly contested 2000 election is 3rd:

Rank
Year
DEM %
GOP %
Other %
Margin %
DEM EC / %
GOP EC / %
EC Margin / Margin %
NPV winner
EC winner
1
1880
48.22%
48.31%
3.47%
GOP +0.10%
155 / 42.0%
214 / 58.0%
GOP +59 / GOP +16.0%
Garfield
Garfield
2
1960
49.72%
49.55%
0.74%
DEM +0.16%
303 / 56.4%
219 / 40.8%
DEM + 84 / DEM +15.6%
Kennedy
Kennedy
3
2000
48.38%
47.87%
4.25%
DEM +0.52%
266 / 49.4%
271 / 50.4%
GOP +5 / GOP +1.0%
Gore
Bush, Jr.
4
1884
48.84%
48.25%
2.87%
DEM +0.57%
219 / 54.6%
182 / 45.4%
DEM + 37 / DEM +9.2%
Cleveland
Cleveland
5
1968
42.72%
43.42%
13.86%
GOP +0.70%
191 / 35.5%
301 / 55.9%
GOP +59 / GOP +20.4%
Nixon
Nixon
6
1888
48.63%
47.80%
3.57%
DEM +0.83%
168 / 41.9%
233 / 58.1%
GOP +5 / GOP +16.2%
Cleveland
Harrison
7
1844
49.54%
48.09%
2.37%
DEM +1.45%
170 / 61.8%
105 / 38.2%
DEM +65 / DEM +23.6%
Polk
Polk
8
1976
50.08%
48.02%
1.90%
DEM +2.06%
297 / 55.2%
240 / 44.6%
DEM + 57 / DEM +10.6%
Carter
Carter
9
2004
48.27%
50.73%
1.00%
GOP +2.46%
252 / 46.7%
286 / 53.2%
GOP +34 / GOP +6.5%
Bush
Bush
10
1876
50.92%
47.92%
1.16%
DEM +3.00%
184 / 49.9%
185 / 50.1%
GOP +1 / GOP +0.2%
Tilden
Hayes
11
1892
46.02%
43.01%
10.97%
DEM +3.01%
277 / 62.4%
145 / 34.7%
DEM + 132/ DEM +27.7%
Cleveland
Cleveland
12
1916
49.24%
46.12%
4.64%
DEM +3.12%
277 / 52.2%
254 / 47.8%
DEM + 23 / DEM +27.7%
Wilson
Wilson
13
2012
51.03%
47.18%
3.85%
DEM +2.65%
332 / 61.7%
206 / 38.3%
DEM +126 / DEM +23.4%
Obama
Obama
14
1896
46.71%
51.02%
2.27%
GOP +4.31%
176 / 39.4%
271 / 60.6%
GOP +95 / GOP +21.4%
McKinley
McKinley
15
1948
49.55%
45.07%
5.38%
DEM +4.48%
303 / 57.1%
189 / 35.6%
DEM + 114 / DEM +21.5%
Truman
Truman




Also, for the fourth time in a row when a Democratic candidate won in the Electoral College, he won with an electoral landslide. Between 1992-2012, the Democats who have won (Clinton, Obama) have won with between 332-379 EV. Conversely, the highest EV total that the Republicans have been able to achieve in 20 years is 286 EV.

I would also like to note that, having followed the polling for two years straight before the election, that President Obama had an absolutely consistent lead of between +3.5 and +4 points in the all-important bellwether state of Ohio every single month. You could take the pollig for Ohio and play "drop the needle", start at any one poll, count back 5-7 polls, average them, and the result was invariably always the same: Obama +3.5 to +4. And behold, Obama won nationally by +3.85%. Ohio was telling us the story of this election the entire time. As it has for 26 of the last 28 election cycles.

Finally, statistics here, statistics there, a win is a win is a win. President Obama has solidly won re-election, there can be no talk of "minority win", "lack of mandate" or "imploding electoral columns". Yes, some of his state wins were decidedly leaner than in 2008 (i.e. Wisconsin), but not so close as the polling was leading the public to think.

Looking into the future, the Democratic Party has now won five of the six last Presidential election in the national popular vote and four of the last six elections in the electoral college. For twenty years, the Democratic electoral firewall has been larger than the Republican and at least four states that were once considered rock-solid Republican territory have been won by Obama at least once (3 of them twice) and will surely be in play again in 2016: CO, VA, FL and NC. This means that the Republican Party will still have to fight to reclaim electoral territory it lost in 2008 and failed to recoup in 2012.

We are looking at a changed electoral landscape since 2008. There is no doubt about it now. 2012 proved the point.

Lacking in this report is any mention of Nebraska's second electoral district, for which I am preparing a special report, to which I will link here later.

Coming in the next months:

-EXCEL tables for every state, by county.
-An analysis of the largest counties.
-Updated state bios / partisan rankings.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Website references:

The best site I know is David Leips USELECTIONATLAS.ORG, which has the most comprehensive data I have ever seen on one site for presidential elections throughout US history.

Another site which has been updated quite well this year is the WIKIPEDIA entry for the GE 2008.
A third site, but less reliable as it is not updated as often, is the so called GREEN PAPERS.
The fourth site, created by Dr. Michael McDonald, from George Mason University, was excellent in following the state-by-state process of reporting the vote tallies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Constructive comments and critique are always welcome. Please keep it polite and respectful.