“I voted for Obama in 2008, but I’m not going to vote for him this time.”
By Adam Geller
We’ve all heard someone utter this phrase, or something close to it by now. Whether we are in the business of politics, analyzing polls and focus groups, or having a more casual conversation about the political scene, this is a statement that seems to come up more often as we draw closer to Election Day 2012.
Now, to be fair, there are plenty of folks who are saying, “I voted for Obama in ’08, and I will vote for him again in ’12.” As long as we are being fair, let us also acknowledge the fact that we have yet to hear anyone state that they voted for McCain last time, but this time they will vote for Obama.
So, the pressing question is the extent to which previous Obama voters will, in fact change their mind. How many mind-changers are needed to make a difference, and swing the election away from Obama?
The answer is: not that many.
Rather than add to the body of analysis that already exists on a state-by-state basis, I want to simply concentrate on the popular vote. In sticking with an analysis of the popular vote, I make every assumption that much of the movement that I describe herein would take place in the battleground states with which we are all familiar.
Let’s start with a reasonable, conservative (small c) theory: let’s assume that no more than one-out-of-ten 2008 Obama voters actually do, in fact, change their minds and this time vote for the Republican. Now, some may say that the actual number may be higher than that, but for now, let’s stick with a smaller safer assumption. Let’s also assume, for now, that turnout matches 2008 turnout.
First, let’s go back and look at the actual popular vote results. Recall that in 2008, the vote tally was:admin | Filed under: 2012 Presidential Politics | Tags: "Ronald Reagan", Adam Geller, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Buyers Remorse, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, John McCain, National Research Inc., Polls, Ross Perot | 18 Comments »