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Arroyo_Doble
11-16-2011, 12:34 PM
Obama’s Choice: Ohio or Virginia (http://nationaljournal.com/columns/obama-s-choice-ohio-or-virginia-20111115)

The president needs white working-class voters in the Rust Belt and upscale professionals in swing states. Can he woo both?

http://cdn-media.nationaljournal.com/?controllerName=image&action=get&id=12943&format=homepage_fullwidth


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been parodied for changing his positions over his political career. But when it comes to devising an election strategy for 2012, President Obama is the candidate at risk of being seen as a waffler.

The president’s advisers are stuck between pursuing two distinctly different strategies and two very different kinds of voters, each of which is crucial to his reelection. The first is an “Ohio strategy,” which means adopting an aggressively populist message to win back blue-collar voters in Rust Belt states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The second is a “Virginia strategy,” which would emphasize a more centrist message aimed at upscale white-collar professionals and college-educated suburbanites. The Virginia strategy would also appeal to voters in Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina, and would probably be bolstered by a mobilization of young voters and minority groups, who make up a significant share of the electorate in those states.

Publicly, the president’s reelection team insists it’s actively competing in every state. In reality, though, the White House will have to choose between a specific reelection message that appeals more to one demographic than the other. The administration’s decision to cater to environmentalists by postponing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is a clear sign of the dilemma. The president decided to punt on a job stimulus measure in order to placate parts of the coalition that elected him in 2008. Environmental sensitivities took precedence over job creation.

The problem for the president is that voters are in a populist mood, but he himself isn’t much of a populist. As a law professor, community organizer, and legislator, Obama lacks the biography and political touch to convince those voters that he’s a fighter for them. Even though his campaign has drawn comparisons to Harry Truman’s 1948 campaign, the analogy is weak. Obama has consistently underachieved in attracting working-class whites and seniors ever since he first campaigned for president. The latest Gallup weekly tracking poll shows his approval stuck at 39 percent with seniors, 40 percent among people with a high-school diploma or less, and 42 percent in the Midwest—all below his national averages.

The president can’t turn back the clock and make voters forget that he spent much of his term pursuing policies that seemed threatening to the Rust Belt’s manufacturing engine. The Democrats’ environmental agenda, particularly its recent push for a cap-and-trade system to regulate carbon emissions, was a major political loser in that part of the country. Health care reform hasn’t been a winner, either: In a symbolic thumping, a referendum against Obama’s health care law was backed by 66 percent of Ohio voters during last week’s elections, including in Democratic strongholds like Cuyahoga County.

noonwitch
11-16-2011, 01:35 PM
Ohio has more electoral votes than Virginia.

Arroyo_Doble
11-16-2011, 01:38 PM
Ohio has more electoral votes than Virginia.

I think the argument is broader than those two states and has to do with the competing political imperatives in the coalition President Obama was able to form in 2008.

Rockntractor
11-16-2011, 02:46 PM
The president needs white working-class voters in the Rust Belt and upscale professionals in swing states. Can he woo both?It would be more like can he lie convincingly to both.

Arroyo_Doble
11-16-2011, 02:50 PM
It would be more like can he lie convincingly to both.

At least more convincingly than Romney.

Rockntractor
11-16-2011, 03:06 PM
At least more convincingly than Romney.

I'm not impressed with Romney either, you think Obama is a better liar?

Arroyo_Doble
11-16-2011, 03:08 PM
I'm not impressed with Romney either, you think Obama is a better liar?

No. Romney has the ability to believe what he says even if it conflicts with what he said not 15 minutes earlier. Obama hasn't figured out how to do that yet.

Molon Labe
11-16-2011, 03:24 PM
um...Virginia won't make the same mistake twice. We ALWAYS vote Republican until Obey me came along.



fool me once shame on me..you.

Fool me...you don't get fooled again. :D

noonwitch
11-16-2011, 03:29 PM
um...Virginia won't make the same mistake twice. We ALWAYS vote Republican until Obey me came along.



fool me once shame on me..you.

Fool me...you don't get fooled again. :D

Obama doesn't need Virginia to win in 2012. I was surprised he carried it in 2008.

He needs Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, in addition to the states that he will likely easily carry-Minnesota, Michigan, California, New York, Illinois, etc.

Arroyo_Doble
11-16-2011, 04:01 PM
Obama doesn't need Virginia to win in 2012. I was surprised he carried it in 2008.

He needs Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, in addition to the states that he will likely easily carry-Minnesota, Michigan, California, New York, Illinois, etc.

He can win without two of the big three, OH and FL, assuming he loses VA, IN, and NC.

But if he loses NH, it goes to the House. If he loses NH and NE-01 (he leads in the latest poll I saw against all Republican candidates), he loses the race 270-268.

All this assumes he keeps everything else.

Odysseus
11-16-2011, 05:40 PM
No. Romney has the ability to believe what he says even if it conflicts with what he said not 15 minutes earlier. Obama hasn't figured out how to do that yet.
Obama has the capacity to say things that nobody would believe with a straight face. Even Romney can't do that.

He can win without two of the big three, OH and FL, assuming he loses VA, IN, and NC.

But if he loses NH, it goes to the House. If he loses NH and NE-01 (he leads in the latest poll I saw against all Republican candidates), he loses the race 270-268.

All this assumes he keeps everything else.

If the midterms are any indication, the Obama isn't likely to keep all of his states from the previous run. Obama's approval ratings have gone from the low 80s to the low 40s. Obama has lost a tremendous amount of approval among independents, and a significant number of Democrats (the special election in Anthony Weiner's old district means that even places that Obama carried by double digits are no longer safe). Any state that Obama won by less than 12% should be considered in play, and any state that he won by less than 7% should be considered a likely loss this time, just based on his dropping approval numbers, and presuming that the eventual Republican nominee doesn't decide to throw the race by not campaigning, a la McCain. Here are the states that Obama won in 2008, the number of electoral votes and the margin of victory. Anything in red is a likely turnover, and anything in bold is in play.

Florida (27) 49.0 47.2 Obama +1.8
Virginia (13) 50.2 45.8 Obama +4.4
Ohio (20) 48.8 46.3 Obama +2.5
Colorado (9) 50.8 45.3 Obama +5.5
Nevada (5) 50.3 43.8 Obama +6.5
Pennsylvania (21) 51.0 43.7 Obama +7.3
New Mexico (5) 50.3 43.0 Obama +7.3
Minnesota (10) 51.6 41.8 Obama +9.8
New Hampshire (4) 52.8 42.2 Obama +10.6
Wisconsin (10) 52.8 41.8 Obama +11.0
Mississippi (6) 39.3 50.7 McCain +11.4
Iowa (7) 54.0 38.7 Obama +15.3
New Jersey (15) 54.5 39.0 Obama +15.5
Oregon (7) 55.3 39.7 Obama +15.6
Washington (11) 53.7 40.7 Obama +13.0
Michigan (17) 52.5 39.0 Obama +13.5
Maine (4) 54.4 38.8 Obama +15.6
California (55) 58.7 34.3 Obama +24.4
Massachusetts (12) 57.0 35.7 Obama +21.3
Connecticut (7) 55.3 36.0 Obama +19.3
New York (31) 62.0 32.3 Obama +29.7
Illinois (21) 59.0 34.3 Obama +24.7

That means that Obama starts off with a likely drop of 74 electoral votes, with an additional 56 in play. Given the last election's tally, Obama/Biden 365 vs. McCain/Palin 173, having 130 electoral votes in play, with a likely loss of 74, gives Obama a margin of only 23 electoral votes out of those 56. If Obama cannot hold that line, he's toast. In addition, a number of formerly blue states have managed to work proportional allocation of electors into the process, thanks to Republican majorities after the 2010 elections. Even if Obama wins these states, he may not win enough of their electors to keep him in office.