"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

A miss is a miss

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

Several readers have indicated they believe there should be an explanation of why the six indices the column forwarded as ones to track before the final vote that would give one a good idea whether there would be a new president missed the mark.

All seem to have a perverse desire to see this humble scribe masticating on crow.

#1. The 80/40 rule which said if Obama took 80% or more of the minority vote then Romney had to take an almost impossible 60% of the total white vote. Preliminary final tallies show that neither hit the mark. Obama took 75% of the minority vote (including an impressive 72% of the Hispanic vote), and Romney came close to topping the 59% plus of the total white vote that Reagan garnered but did not go over the magic 60% mark. What was really deceiving to the public was the impression the media created of a massive turnout by showing long lines waiting to vote at places where there were not as many balloting places as before for budgetary reasons, or, as in Florida, where early voting time was cut in half. Actual turnout totals will not top either the 2008 or the 2004 elections.

#2. Watch how undecided independent women break. Initially they appeared to start breaking towards Romney after the first debate, but the predilection of stupid, white male GOP Senate candidates to start talking about rape and abortion soon brought many of them back to their concern as with other women about access to abortion and protection of contraceptive rights. When the smoke cleared Obama had a 12 percent advantage among women voters more than erasing Romney’s 7 % advantage with men voters.

#3. As goes Ohio – this said no Republican has ever won the presidency without taking Ohio and it still holds true. Polls appeared to show Romney gaining steadily on the President in Ohio but what the polls could not measure was the superior ground game Obama had in Ohio with far local store front offices in key neighborhoods and a far more sophisticated involvement plan for all its numerous volunteers. Romney’s team simply did not believe that Obama could recreate the 2008 coalition nor match the intensity. Not only were they wrong on that they had no idea how much more sophisticated the ground operation Messina and Axelrod had in place was over theirs. When the smoke cleared not only had Obama won Ohio, he took every other one of the key swing states.

#4. The 5% lie factor. If it was ever there it disappeared in the appearance of the Romney surge right after the first debate. The evidence though appears to suggest that it was never there, that today’s polling techniques are so sophisticated it can detect and minimize those that may lie by weighing answers to other key issue questions. How one analyzes the data and how the data is collected remain key matters that do determine how good the material can be in terms of guiding critical campaign decisions. Today’s candidates need to ask pretty tough questions about sampling including whether there’s a certain percentage of random calls to cell phones and whether there’s an internet component.

In the final analysis most of the major polls were amazingly accurate and this led to some darn good prognostications by folks like the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato as well as the Washington Post’s 538 blog site which always presented a good analysis based on composite numbers from ten leading polls.

#5. Whoever wins the money game, usually wins. Well both campaigns spent over a billion dollars each with Romney winning the money race barely and narrowly losing the total ballot race.

#6. The debates. The column was dead on correct on this one. Romney came with his game face on to the first debate and the President was obviously not prepared. Turn the sound off and it was even more clear who was winning. Romney then held his own in the next two also. If Romney had won almost all political pundits and historians would have ascribed it to the first debate.

There are many factors that constitute winning or losing an election. Some are controllable, such as how prepared one is to debate, and some are uncontrollable, such as the Benghazi event. It will always be an inexplicable mystery as to why the President was so lackluster in that first debate. He virtually created the opening for Romney to attempt to drive his Nash Rambler through.

In the end, the President won and he can thank three people: #1 former President Bill Clinton; #2 Chief campaign strategist David Axelrod; and #3 Vice president Joe Biden. He owes these three one heck ‘uv a lot.

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