April 10, 2012
Look For a Mitt Surge
Just a quick prediction: Now that Rick Santorum, the only viable Romney rival still standing, has dropped out of the race -- that's what "suspending our campaign" means in ordinary English -- look for a rapid jump upwards in Romney's popularity and general-election polling.
Until now, every poll pitting Romney against Barack H. Obama on various issues or general popularity has had two sources of negative responses:
- Liberals and liberal-leaning "centrists" who genuinely like the policies of Progressivism and Leftism, and genuinely hate the policies of conservatism, Capitalism, individualism, and Americanism. These are honest disagreers.
- Disingenuous conservatives who desperately hoped to pull Romney down, so that a "real conservative" could take his place on the general-election ballot. Some such conservatives falsely claimed that they liked Obama, just to tarnish Romney's best argument, "electability," in the primaries. (Call them the Lampooners: "If you nominate Mitt, we'll shoot this election!")
Group B may be sizeable, including supporters of all previous and then-current "not-Romneys" -- Michelle Bachman, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. As Romney rarely won an absolute majority in the sundry primaries, supporters of the other candidates necessarily outnumbered him. But obviously not every member of Group B is a Lampooner, or else Obama would be ahead by a runaway landslide of 25%.
It's impossible to know for sure what percent of the not-Romneys became Lampooners, actually telling pollsters they liked, supported, or would vote for Obama in November; but whatever that percent is, it's unlikely in the extreme that they literally will do so. Why would someone who thinks Romney is too moderate strike back by voting for the ultra-Progressivist Obama? It's absurd.
Therefore, we can expect the Lampooners by and large to vote for Romney in November, except for a tiny handful who are so disgruntled, they will sit out the election. (Arms folded, glowering at their neighbors, truculent faces daring someone to make sumpfin' out of it.)
Can we estimate the size of the Lampooners and their impact on polling? Let's get some ballparking going.
On today's Real Clear Politics newest-polls page (ABC: Obama +7, Rasmussen: tie, IBD-CSM-TIPP: Obama +8, all taken before Santorum's withdrawal), Barack Obama averages 5% ahead of Romney, 47.3% to 42.3%.
But roughly half of Republican primary voters supported a candidate other than Romney; this is Group B. Let's look at two guesses of the size of the Lampooner vote, 10% of Group B and 5% of Group B.
Suppose that one tenth of Group B were Lampooning in those polls; that would mean, in our example, that 4.0% to 4.5% of the pro-Obama responses actually came from conservatives who, in reality, intend to vote for Romney in the general... they only said the opposite to try to influence the primary vote.
If we shift the low end of 4% from Obama to Romney, that would make the new total 46.3% to 43.3% in favor of Mitt Romney.
- If only 5% of Group-B Republicans are Lampooners, then we should expect to see 2.0% to 2.2% switch from Obama to Romney, making the new total 45.3% to 44.3% in favor of Obama, which is well within the margin or error -- that is, a statistically dead heat.
(If we give a higher weight to the Rasmussen survey, which polls likely voters instead of registered voters and has a better reputation than the others, this "nominee effect" is magnified; Mitt would likely then be ahead of Obama in both the 10% or 5% scenarios.)
Taking into account the concerted internet campaigns for conservatives to "false-flag" or Lampoon the pollsters, I think it very plausible that the Lampooners did indeed represent 5% to 10% of the Republican primary electorate. Ergo, I expect that over the next month or so, the polling will shift 2% to 5% away from Obama and towards Romney, putting Romney ahead or at least even.
The national conventions start with the GOP the week of August 27th, in Tampa, Florida (a swing state we'll likely recapture); followed immediately by the Democrats the week of September 3rd, in Charlotte, North Carolina (what could possibly go wrong?) By that point, I expect Mitt Romney will hold a small but statistically significant lead over Barack Hussein Obama. And we'll likely see yet another surge towards Romney in late September or early October, a month before the election, as voters take a long and sober look at the economy.
As Samuel Johnson is reputed to have said (but probably didn't, exactly), the sight of the gallows doth wonderfully concentrate the mind.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 10, 2012, at the time of 5:29 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
I think you have possibly missed one other group, and possibly the more important. They are the delusionists and I've met a lot of them. They are nominally, perhaps rabidly, conservative, but believe that by not voting for either Romney or Obama that some third choice-- the perfect conservative by their own definition-- magically appears on the ballot and gets their vote. They are indistinguishable in their net effect from the Teachers, the ones who believe that politicians and parties "learn a lesson" when people don't vote for them. Yep, those Republicans will sure "learn their lesson" when Obama wins. Something about the Teachers always makes me wonder if they are qualified to teach, and whether THEY will ever learn the self-destructiveness of their approach.
The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel
Don't forget all the votes that James O'Keefe proved will be for Obama when he showed how he could have cast a ballot as Eric H. Holder. I expect that if there was a magic wand that could cause only legitimate votes to be counted, Obama would lose by a large margin.
The above hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel at April 11, 2012 6:59 AM
The following hissed in response by: Eris Guy
magically appears on the ballot and gets their vote
I am curious as to what theory of democracy means I should vote for a candidate I whose political positions with which I don't agree, whose promises I don't believe, and whose record of which I don't approve. How exactly is this democracy if I vote for a candidate I don't want to win?
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
How exactly is this democracy if I vote for a candidate I don't want to win?
Every election, without exception, is a choice between a very, very limited number of candidates. (It may seem like a "referendum," but in reality it's a choice.)
Unless you experience the ecstasy of one of the viable candidates being exactly who you want in office, who agrees precisely with your every policy desire, you necessarily must either vote for someone "with which [you] don't agree, whose promises [you] don't believe, and whose record of which [you] don't approve." Your only alternative is essentially not to vote.
Even if you write somebody in, that's exactly the same, except in extraordinary circumstances, as choosing not to vote. You can choose to do it anyway in order to "make a statement" or "send a message" -- I did that for my first two presidential elections; but you should understand (as I did at the time) that you're not helping elect the person you write in or the third-party candidate you vote for, nor are you creating a movement, breaking the back of the two-party system, or initiating a revolution of liberty.
Realistically speaking, you have three and only three choices this year: Barack H. Obama, Mitt Romney, or None of the Above. Your only party choices are Democrat, Republican, or some party that differs in name only from one of those two. Anything else, and you're back to None of the Above and "sending a message" (that will never be heard).
America is a "democracy" (actually a representative republic) because you have those two very distinct choices, in contradistinction to Iran or North Korea or Syria, or for that matter, most West European governments, where your only choice is Socialist Lite or Socialist Mid.
You can write in Ron Paul or the LP nominee or Robert Anton Wilson, if you really want; you have that option, and your vote will be duly recorded in some electoral database. But it will be as meaningless as meaningless can be, because you cannot possibly get enough folks to join your crusade to win even a single vote in the Electoral College... which is how we determine presidential elections in these United States.
This is not a political theory; it is the political equivalent of the law of gravity. And like it or lump it, you're stuck with it.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at April 14, 2012 1:03 PM
The following hissed in response by: Bart Johnson
A side effect of Santorum's suspension is that Gingrich will get a lot more votes than he would have otherwise. This will translate into more influence with, among other things, the planks in the platform. All-in-all, I wish Rick had stayed in, even if only at a minimal level that doesn't require a lot of money.
The following hissed in response by: Eris Guy
Every election, without exception, is a choice between a very, very limited number of candidates.
OK. That's a fine analysis and argument, though it does not answer the question I asked:
which theory of representative government says I should vote for a candidate who by his own record and promises does not, will not, and (probably) cannot represent me?
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