Why Romney Will (Probably) Win the Popular Vote
The most consistent and reliable polling company in America history, the Gallup Poll, has shown an interesting trend in every presidential election since 1980. In the last three weeks of the race, we always see an upward surge that favors the Republican candidate.
I spent a few hours studying the history of presidential polling from July to November going all the way back to 1960. A few things were immediately apparent.
- The poll leader in a competitive election who “peaks early” more often than not loses the general election. The Democrat often begins with a big lead at the time of his convention, yet the Republican gains ground in the final weeks. Most likely this is due to the large number of “undecideds” and independents in rural areas who trend toward the GOP in the last few weeks.
- Poll leads often crisscross in the last few weeks. In 1980, Carter was ahead by three percentage points in October, but lost to Reagan in one of the greatest Electoral College landslides in history. In 2000, most pollsters had George W. Bush well ahead in the last week of polling, and yet Al Gore won the popular vote. Then in 2004, John Kerry was ahead by 7 points in July and was tied or held a lead several times in September and October. A final Gallup poll on the eve of the election had Kerry up by a point, yet he lost handily to Bush.
- Even in “non-competitive” elections in which the Democrat has won by a large margin, we still see an upsurge in polling for the Republican candidate from early to mid-October to the final vote count on election day.
|Election Year||GOP Candidate||Lowest October Gallup percentage||Final percentage|
Since 1976, the Republican candidate has surged from the lowest October Gallup Poll percentage up an average of 6.1 points. This can be explained by two factors.
- There are more registered Democrats than Republicans so the voters committed to one party in early polls early tend to favor the Democrat.
- Late-breaking Independents are most often from rural areas and tend to be more conservative.
Since less than ten percent of voters are undecided by late September, the majority tend to break toward the Republican by Election Day, whether he is an incumbent or a challenger. Therefore, anything above a 44 percentage point low in the Gallup Poll in the month of October is good news for the Republican candidate. Since Reagan pulled off this “come from behind” feat in 1980, this has been the case in every election.
Mitt Romney’s lowest Gallup poll percentage in October 2012 was 45 percent. The most recent Gallup Poll (10/21/2012) shows Romney leading Barack Obama by six percentage points, up to 51 percent. This is close to the 6.1 percent average.
Barring a huge blunder by Romney or an “October surprise,” Romney will most likely win the popular vote. The most accurate poll in 2008 was Rasmussen. That poll has Romney leading Obama 49 to 47. We can expect this to tighten further in the next two weeks.
Since no one casts a vote for “undecided” on Election Day, the numbers on November 6th, 2012 might look something like this.
Romney - 50% Obama - 49% Third Party - 1%
However, if the final vote turns out to be less than a percentage point difference, there is a good chance that Obama could win the Electoral College without winning the popular vote (as Bush did over Gore with only 48 percent of the vote in 2000). Obama simply has to narrowly capture Ohio’s whopping 18 electoral votes. It’s hard to see a path to a Romney victory without Ohio in his column.
Although unlikely, there is also a chance in three different scenarios that the Electoral College could turn out in a tie (as it did one time before between Jefferson and Hamilton in 1800). The most likely scenario for an Electoral College tie has Romney picking up the swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada and Obama taking Ohio and the other swing states, which would give a result of 269 to 269 Electoral Votes.
In that case, the Republican dominated House of Representatives would vote (one vote per state delegation) to break the tie for president, while the Democrat led Senate would vote to break the tie for vice president. So we’d have the alternately comical or disastrous (depending on how you look at it) scenario in which Romney would be the president and Joe Biden would be the vice president.
Why Obama Is Good for the Conservative Movement
Gradual reformation in national politics is all about gaining ground in the midterms. Midterm elections are sometimes regarded as a referendum on the sitting president’s performance. They usually don’t turn out well for the party of the president. Over the past 21 midterm elections, the president’s party has lost an average 30 seats in the House, and an average 4 seats in the Senate. After Obama trounced McCain in 2008, I made the following prediction.
10/5/2008 – Barack Obama’s Catch-22 is that he has promised to balance the budget, cut taxes on 95 percent of wage earners, introduce universal healthcare and a trillion dollar package of social programs. Most would agree that this is a tall order. If he fails, will it be possible to blame the Republicans? If the Democrats go too far to the left and the economy continues to scuffle along, we’ll likely see something similar to 1994 and the Gingrich revolution against Clinton. I don’t think the USA will become a left wing country so quickly. But we will see.
Although I wrongly predicted the outcome of the election, the mid-term “revolution” prediction turned out to be a huge understatement. While most mid-terms favor the opposing party of the current president, the “Revolution of 2010” was the greatest political shift of our generation. The Democrats lost 69 seats in the United States House and Senate. There was a vast effect on local and state races as well. Gallup observed that the “greatest movement away from the Democratic Party came between 2009 and 2010, when the number of states with a Democrat advantage fell from 34 to 23.” In fact, we have to go all the way back to 1946, when Harry Truman’s Democrats lost 66 seats (in the 48 states that then made up the USA) to find a bigger shift away from the president’s party.
An Obama win has great implications for the conservative movement as well. If Obama wins the 2012 election, the Republicans may still gain ground in the congressional and senate races. Many pro-life conservatives will be elected at all levels. By 2014, we could see yet a greater shift and Obama will be a “lame duck.” Republicans could block his appointments and legislation. With a super majority in both houses any legislation might be veto proof. That’s what pro-life advocates need to work for. Then the stage could be set for a true conservative president in 2016 who would bring lasting reformation to the United States federal government.
So contrary to nearly every conservative’s opinion, the election of Obama to a second term would not spell the end of liberty in America, but it might rather signal the “death rattle” of liberalism.
Why Romney Is Bad for the Conservative Movement
“This is a party which never conserves anything…. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor.”
– Robert Lewis Dabney (1820 – 1898)
On the other hand, If Romney wins, the 2014 elections will likely swing toward the Democrats. The Senate will surely be Democrat controlled. Any conservative, pro-life Supreme Court judge will be blocked. Romney, although certainly better than Obama, is still a step backwards in many ways. Ironically, Republicans could accomplish more with Obama in office and a majority in both houses than with Romney and the current status quo. There is a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, but there no fiscal conservative policy among a majority of these Republicans.
George Bush was the biggest spender and the greatest fiscal liberal in American history, more so than even Barack Obama. Most Republicans don’t believe that, but facts are facts. Anyone willing to look at the data honestly will see this.
We hear a lot of pundit talk about the soaring national debt, but debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is a better indicators of the health of an economy. This is the amount of national debt of a country as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A low debt-to-GDP ratio indicates an economy that produces a large number of goods and services and probably profits that are high enough to pay back debts. Governments that aim for low debt-to-GDP ratios and can stand up to the risks involved by increasing debt as their economies have a higher GDP and profit margin.
If we look at this indicator, we see that the Republicans led by George W. Bush were responsible for wrecking our economy and sending us into a recession that we have not yet recovered from in over four years. I would argue that Obama’s stimulus plan did more to prolong the recovery than anything else. However, if Obama wins in 2012, it will be because Americans realize that the Democrats have been more conservative than the Republicans in spending vs. GDP for the past 20 years.
A few reasons to consider voting for the Constitution Party candidate
In every election since 1992, I have supported the Constitution Party candidate for president. Although I know that in our current political scenario, a Third Party candidate has no chance of winning and little or no effect on the election, I have several reasons for recommending that you consider this.
If you live in a state other than a so-called “swing state,” your vote does not count on a practical level. The Electoral College provides that the contest is not one-man-one-vote in the presidential election. For example, no matter how you vote in Texas, Romney will win. No matter how you vote in California, Obama will win. And your vote will not be counted when the Electoral College meets, but only the votes of the electors from your state. A vote for a Third Party cannot possibly harm Romney in about 38 states, but it would help build the Third Party. So other than a scenario in which a handful of Third Party votes might affect the outcome of a swing state election, the idea of supporting a Third Party with the sole purpose to help build critical mass in the long term is a valid one.
I also take seriously the notion that the rise of a serious Third Party contender could do one of two things to the Republican Party.
- Block the Republican Party’s ability to win in the presidential race, thus causing the GOP’s extinction and replacement similar to the way in which the Republicans replaced the Whig Party after the election of 1860.
- Force the Republican Party to advance a true conservative agenda led by principles and not political compromise merely to gain office.
The GOP needs conservative Christians to win. However, if we keep supporting moderate and liberal Republicans, then that is what we will get forever. If we cause moderate Republican candidates (Dole, McCain, etc.) to lose due to our lack of excitement, then the GOP will be forced to either wake up – or they will become extinct.
The reason for supporting the Constitution Party (or another biblically-principled Third Party candidate such as Alan Keyes of Tom Hoefling) is not to win in 2012, but to build for the future. The Constitution Party is now the largest of the Third Parties – now even larger than the Libertarian Party. In a time of national crisis, it would be good to have a party that confesses Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lord over America already organized and on the ballot in all 50 states.
In the final analysis, the problem not with the Republican Party, but with the American Church. We’ve been crippled by antinomianism, pietism and a defeatist eschatology. The clamoring for Romney as the only alternative to avoid disaster is out of fear and unbelief. Many don’t think we can win without compromising, but I know our best days are ahead if we would simply resolve to refuse to compromise with our vote.
We’ve seen time and again that every “conservative” Republican nominee for president has promised to cut taxes, end social welfare programs and reduce the size of government. Yet every Republican president since Nixon has expanded social welfare, grown the size of government and all have ended their terms by raising taxes. The one exception is George W. Bush, who coupled his tax cut with the largest increase of government spending in history.
Every Republican president since Nixon has also promised pro-life advocates that he would appoint only “strict constructionist” judges to the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, yet the majority of these Republican appointed judges (Burger, Blackmun, Powell, Stevens, O’Connor, Souter and Roberts) have voted to extend abortion rights. We did get Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and (maybe) Alito as “consolation prizes.”
Every Republican president since Nixon has increased funding to Planned Parenthood, while giving a few token pro-life measures such as the Mexico City Policy and the so-called “partial birth abortion” ban. Due to the exceptions and loopholes, however, neither of these saved the lives of the unborn in any measurable amount.
King Makers or Standard Bearers?
The problem is that many Christians want to be “king makers.” We think that if we support a candidate, then he has to support us. Instead we ought to be “standard bearers.” We should lift up a high standard and force so-called conservative candidates to reach for it in order to receive our support.
I take the strategy of Personhood USA, a national pro-life organization that seeks to amend each state constitution defining the unborn as “Persons” and allowing for no exceptions to protect the right to life. If a candidate endorses Personhood, the Personhood PAC in each state endorses that candidate. If not, we withdraw our support. If an incumbent candidate breaks his or her promise, we withdraw our support in the primaries and work to unseat that candidate. We do not simply work as shills for the Republican Party in order to build a GOP majority. This is a simple principle that can be applied to almost every political issue of importance.
There are some glaring statistics that show that having a Republican president in office has been bad for the pro-life movement. The abortion rate under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush peaked out at 1.6 million per year. Under Bill Clinton, it dropped to 1.3 million, remained at 1.3 million under George W. Bush and has leveled off at around 1.2 million after four years of Obama.
Another shocking statistic is to look at the number of people who have shifted to a pro-life view under Clinton or Obama (see the graph above). I believe the reason for this is that people see the pro-abortion stance of the president for what it is. When evil is exposed for all to see, there is a backlash. Under Barack Obama, without question the most pro-abortion rights president in history, the abortion rate is lower than at any time since the 1970s and more Americans are pro-life, now topping 50 percent.
To those who wonder how this could be the case, I ask the following questions.
- Which pro-life policies enacted under Clinton and Obama caused the drop in the number of abortions?
- Which restrictions on abortion at the state level saved lives?
While everyone may have their own perspective on this, I submit that the bright side of having two strongly pro-abortion presidents in Clinton and Obama, is that we saw more people on the streets in front of the abortion mills. We saw more Christians volunteer their time for pro-life efforts on the local level because we understood we were unlikely to win in the political arena. In the meantime, most Republicans were merely paying lip service to the sanctity of human life. During the administration of George W. Bush, when he had Republican majorities in both houses of Congress for six years, we saw few pro-life gains.
Christians conservatives went to sleep under George W. Bush thinking that they had “their man” in the White House. They mistakenly believed that Bush was the “real deal” and would implement a conservative agenda. A brief look at his record as the governor of Texas would have told well-meaning Christian conservatives a different story. That was the number one reason why I would not vote for Bush. Now we have a candidate who was far more liberal as the governor of Massachusetts than any Republican presidential candidate in recent history. That is the reason why I certainly will not vote for Romney. He will cause many Christians to lose their sense of vigilance.
It is true that Barack Obama has been a disaster for America. Obama is taking us toward the cliff at 100 mph, while Romney may hit the brakes a bit and take us there at 50 mph. But I am convinced we won’t see true political reform until the cliff is in plain sight. Rather than jump on the bandwagon to head toward the cliff at a slower, more acceptable pace, I prefer to stand for righteousness until the edge becomes apparent to everyone. In the meantime, I need to cry out to tell people grab the steering wheel and turn the car around.
Conservatism is pretend salt
Over a century ago, the Reformed luminary, Robert Lewis Dabney spoke of the ineffectual conservative movement. Note that the term, “Radical,” in the early 1900s, was used to describe those whom we would call “liberal” today. In reading this, also note that Dabney’s criticism of conservatism as “pretended salt” is still true over 100 years later.
This is a party (the Northern Conservatives) which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.
This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always, when about to enter a protest, very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance. The only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip.
Sad, but true. We will see what happens today.