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Author Topic: Why 2012 is different to 2004 (and why that could mean a Romney win)  (Read 1810 times)
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« on: April 18, 2012, 11:10:49 am »
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There has been a strong case to use 2004 as a case study for this November. I understand the argument: A divisive, but personable incumbent with marginally respectable approval ratings against an unlikeable, flip flopping, prone to silly gaffes, challenger who the base is even relecutant to rally around. That being said, I think you need to look much deeper; and when you do, I think it's impossible to conclude that even with these similarities, the differences are too detailed to prove the same result as 8 years ago.


Essentially, if you want to use the 2004 election as an analogy, you have to adjust for a few things:

1. Obama is running 5%-8% or so worse off than George W. Bush was at this time. It may seem slight, but in a close election it could prove critical.

2. While Romney's favorables are bad now, they only are so low due to the Primary. They will rise, especially with Republicans (see point 3 below). I think, ultimately, Romney is stronger than Kerry when it comes to appeal - he's much more enthusiastic and energized, and less prone to major gaffes.

3. The GOP base will rally around Romney. They are down on him now because it was a pick of Romney over several other Republican candidates. In November, it will be Romney against Obama. So while Romney may not have been the #1 pick of the deep conservatives out there, when it's a choice between Romney, Obama, or not voting (which would essentially be a choice for Obama), they'll turn out in order to dethrone the incumbent they so badly despise.

4. The number one issue of the electorate in 2012 is the economy. The number one issue of the electorate in 2004 was national security (was still the 9/11 aftermath). George Bush had a commanding lead with national security - the rally effect was still going strong, albeit starting to peter out, the anti-Iraq War brigade didn't even emerge yet, and hurricane Katrina was still a year away. Whereas now, Romney is seen trusted with the economy, while Obama's approvals on the issue are somewhere around the 30% mark. Sure, the economy is slightly improving, and if it does continue, and, more so, picks up pace, the better the chances are for Obama.

But this (4) is a huge hole in the 2004 analogy. GWB had a commanding lead over the major issue of the electorate, whereas Obama has been seen flailing, failing, and coming up short.

5. Now that I think about it, 2004 wasn't really a surprise - it took us right back to an almost 50-50 split, which was, essentially, the result of the prior 2000 election. My point? While Bush fell from 90% down to around 54% from September 12, 2001 to circa April 2004, that had more to do with the rally effect petering out rather than any perceived (at that time) faults during his first term. Compare that to Obama who fell from ~70% (these are rough estimates based on memory, too lazy to look every one of them up) to as low as 39% (now back to the mid to up 40s) over the course of his 4 years, but his story was one of his own making (unpopular health care, failed/unproductive stimulus, poor economy, Libya, etc).

Basically, my point here is that Bush was always divisive, hence the 2000 split, but people weren't intent on making a referendum against him on his first four years, but they are doing so on Obama's. Pretty important difference, if you ask me.

Overall. Overall, I do see why people think the 2004 election is an analogy. But remember, no election is like any other. While Obama may win a close election resembling how Bush won his in 2004, and while some reasons may be the same, it won't tell the whole story.

That being said, I think the differences outlined above also show that it could very easily go the other way.

I just think it's too simplistic to look at obvious similarities and think that it will follow the 2004 election - there's too many key differences that could easily dictate otherwise.
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 12:12:50 pm »
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1. Obama is running 5%-8% or so worse off than George W. Bush was at this time. It may seem slight, but in a close election it could prove critical.

This simply isn't true. In fact, Obama is pacing Romney by a higher percentage than Bush was Kerry  in April 2004.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/Presidential_04/chart3way.html


Quote
2. While Romney's favorables are bad now, they only are so low due to the Primary. They will rise, especially with Republicans (see point 3 below). I think, ultimately, Romney is stronger than Kerry when it comes to appeal - he's much more enthusiastic and energized, and less prone to major gaffes.

It's arguable as to who is more mind-numbingly boring between Romney and Kerry, but I would like to know how you got to that second conclusion. Kerry said one mush mouthed thing about his vote for Iraq and then made the mistake of going windsurfing; the rest was mostly a smear campaign. Romney is sorely mistaken if he thinks people will just forget about the ugly primary, another thing that Kerry didn't have to deal with.

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3. The GOP base will rally around Romney. They are down on him now because it was a pick of Romney over several other Republican candidates. In November, it will be Romney against Obama. So while Romney may not have been the #1 pick of the deep conservatives out there, when it's a choice between Romney, Obama, or not voting (which would essentially be a choice for Obama), they'll turn out in order to dethrone the incumbent they so badly despise.

Romney will win 90%+ of the GOP vote, of course. Unfortunately for him, the GOP's share of the electorate is going to drop if they can't find a way to get the grassroots working for Romney. At the end of it all, that may be the death nail for Romney more than the moderate enthusiasm on the Dem side for Obama.

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4. The number one issue of the electorate in 2012 is the economy. The number one issue of the electorate in 2004 was national security (was still the 9/11 aftermath). George Bush had a commanding lead with national security - the rally effect was still going strong, albeit starting to peter out, the anti-Iraq War brigade didn't even emerge yet, and hurricane Katrina was still a year away. Whereas now, Romney is seen trusted with the economy, while Obama's approvals on the issue are somewhere around the 30% mark. Sure, the economy is slightly improving, and if it does continue, and, more so, picks up pace, the better the chances are for Obama.

But this (4) is a huge hole in the 2004 analogy. GWB had a commanding lead over the major issue of the electorate, whereas Obama has been seen flailing, failing, and coming up short.

The most recent CNN poll (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/16/cnnorc-poll-april-13-15-2012-election/) shows Obama leading Romney by 2% (44-42) on the issue of the economy, and by double digits on a multitude of leadership questions.

Quote
5. Now that I think about it, 2004 wasn't really a surprise - it took us right back to an almost 50-50 split, which was, essentially, the result of the prior 2000 election. My point? While Bush fell from 90% down to around 54% from September 12, 2001 to circa April 2004, that had more to do with the rally effect petering out rather than any perceived (at that time) faults during his first term. Compare that to Obama who fell from ~70% (these are rough estimates based on memory, too lazy to look every one of them up) to as low as 39% (now back to the mid to up 40s) over the course of his 4 years, but his story was one of his own making (unpopular health care, failed/unproductive stimulus, poor economy, Libya, etc).

Basically, my point here is that Bush was always divisive, hence the 2000 split, but people weren't intent on making a referendum against him on his first four years, but they are doing so on Obama's. Pretty important difference, if you ask me.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html

Obama's approval rating is an average 47-48, higher if you weed out the hackish Republican pollsters. The trend also shows increasing approvals for Obama, not declining.
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 12:41:02 pm »
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Kerry did not have underwater favorables at earlier stages of the race, Romney is starting out with poor numbers and it's not all due to the primary, he's just an awkward candidate all around. A lot of negative perceptions are locked in.
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 12:53:42 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 01:19:45 pm »
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Great post.

Romney is an infinitely better challenger than Kerry, and that's ignoring how much more personable and down-to-earth Ann is compared to Theresa Heinz. Kerry went after Bush on his strength of national security by highlighting his military experience, and Team Bush effectively Swift Boated him on the issue. Romney already has an advantage on the economy and the deficit, which are to 2012 what national security was to 2004. He will continue to strengthen his lead on these issues as the two candidates continue to speak. Unfortunately for Obama, there is no last-minute videotape that will be released which solidifies the issue of the economy/deficit in Obama's corner.

Clearly Obama is out of his depth when it comes to economics. There is no shame in that. Some people are successful businessmen and some people are community organizers. What do you want in your president, though? Are you really happy with this economy? Heck, is anybody really happy with this economy?

I'm glad that so many young Democrats are convinced that Obama is cruising to re-election. That means there's no need for any of them to bother voting in November. Tell your friends not to waste their time voting!
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 01:36:44 pm »
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R-Money doesn't stand a chance, c'mon, you can fool yourself all you want, but you can't honestly believe deep down that he will do much better than McCain.
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 01:37:46 pm »
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I understand the comparisons to 2004, but if you must compare: 1948 is a more apt comparison.
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 01:43:29 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.
There's every reason to think that this will be a close election. But it's also true that Romney has much lower favorables at this stage than Kerry had at a comparable stage, and that Romney isn't polling as well against Obama as Kerry was against Bush.

For that matter, in 2004 the Republican ground game was much stronger than the Democratic ground game, which was probably critical. I don't see anyone claiming that the Romney ground game is better than the Obama ground game.
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 02:10:08 pm »
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I more or less agree with the OP and would like to add the following important point: Romney is a centrist. Kerry wasn't. Therefore Romney is not seen as a scary candidate for either independents or moderate democrats. Romney inherently has a greater shot at winning independents over than Kerry had.

I still say this race is a toss-up with a slight advantage to Obama, that is tranformed into a disadvantage if the economy does not continue to improve.
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2012, 02:36:45 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.

Electoral map says otherwise.

Republicans need stop deluding themselves, unless something major happens Obama is going to win the question is how big the margin is.
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2012, 02:40:07 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.

Electoral map says otherwise.

Republicans need stop deluding themselves, unless something major happens Obama is going to win the question is how big the margin is.

Electoral map says otherwise months before either convention, oh no. Why don't we take a look at the electoral from this point in 2000, and then look at the final result. Did something major happen to make the election a tie?
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2012, 02:48:26 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.

Electoral map says otherwise.

Republicans need stop deluding themselves, unless something major happens Obama is going to win the question is how big the margin is.

Electoral map says otherwise months before either convention, oh no. Why don't we take a look at the electoral from this point in 2000, and then look at the final result. Did something major happen to make the election a tie?

Obama has 242 safe/lean Dems state already locked up. Lets be real, there are simply too many paths that can lead to an Obama victory, while Mitt has very limited options. Hell, it would be tough for a good campaigner to win with this map.....but a crappy one like Romney.

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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2012, 02:49:54 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.

Electoral map says otherwise.

Republicans need stop deluding themselves, unless something major happens Obama is going to win the question is how big the margin is.

Electoral map says otherwise months before either convention, oh no. Why don't we take a look at the electoral from this point in 2000, and then look at the final result. Did something major happen to make the election a tie?

Obama has 242 safe/lean Dems state already locked up. Lets be real, there are simply too many paths that can lead to an Obama victory, while Mitt has very limited options. Hell, it would be tough for a good campaigner to win with this map.....but a crappy one like Romney.



Alot of the states you probably consider locked up, I don't. This election hasn't started yet, Mitt's message of economic freedom has not yet reached the masses. Let's wait until the ads start at least.
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2012, 02:51:52 pm »
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Very typical that Democrats are missing the forest for the trees.

Poke holes in the details, but the overarching ideas of the original post are pretty valid. Romney is more competitive on the main issue of the day than Kerry was. Bush had better approval ratings than Obama. The Republican electorate is much more likely to come out to dethrone Obama than the younger Democrat electorate was for Bush'04.

I really hope Democrats keep underestimating Mitt Romney. This isn't going to be a blowout for Obama. It will be a close election.

Electoral map says otherwise.

Republicans need stop deluding themselves, unless something major happens Obama is going to win the question is how big the margin is.

Electoral map says otherwise months before either convention, oh no. Why don't we take a look at the electoral from this point in 2000, and then look at the final result. Did something major happen to make the election a tie?

Obama has 242 safe/lean Dems state already locked up. Lets be real, there are simply too many paths that can lead to an Obama victory, while Mitt has very limited options. Hell, it would be tough for a good campaigner to win with this map.....but a crappy one like Romney.



Alot of the states you probably consider locked up, I don't. This election hasn't started yet, Mitt's message of economic freedom has not yet reached the masses. Let's wait until the ads start at least.

Good luck selling that to the public..........

He is a sucky candiate who
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« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2012, 03:17:13 pm »
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For that matter, in 2004 the Republican ground game was much stronger than the Democratic ground game, which was probably critical. I don't see anyone claiming that the Romney ground game is better than the Obama ground game.

If the election ends up turning on the ground game, then Romney will lose and likely lose badly.  His performance in the primaries indicates that he places little importance in a ground game, tho when the rules such as those in Virginia with its complicated ballot requirements required he build at least some ground game, he was able to.  So it's not a lack of ability to engage in the ground game, but rather a feeling that he is better off focusing on other campaign aspects.
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« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2012, 03:20:04 pm »
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Not only that, but the Occupy stuff hasn't even hit its full stride yet. Once that happens, that's the end of the Romney campaign.
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« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2012, 03:33:27 pm »
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For that matter, in 2004 the Republican ground game was much stronger than the Democratic ground game, which was probably critical. I don't see anyone claiming that the Romney ground game is better than the Obama ground game.

If the election ends up turning on the ground game, then Romney will lose and likely lose badly.  His performance in the primaries indicates that he places little importance in a ground game, tho when the rules such as those in Virginia with its complicated ballot requirements required he build at least some ground game, he was able to.  So it's not a lack of ability to engage in the ground game, but rather a feeling that he is better off focusing on other campaign aspects.

I think the ground game matters in any close election. And it's worth remembering that the Obama campaign is really, really, good at it.
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« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2012, 03:36:38 pm »
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Alot of the states you probably consider locked up, I don't. This election hasn't started yet, Mitt's message of economic freedom has not yet reached the masses. Let's wait until the ads start at least.

Good luck selling that to the public..........

He is a sucky candiate who

... is at least able to finish sentences?
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My November ballot:
Ervin(I) Gov.
Sellers(D) Lt. Gov.
Hammond(R) Sec. of State
Diggs(D) Att. Gen.
Herbert(D) Comptroller Gen.
Spearman(R) Supt. of Education
DeFelice(American) Commissioner of Agriculture
Hutto(D) US Sen (full)
Scott(R) US Sen (special)
Geddings(Labor) US House SC-2
Quinn(R) SC House District 69
Yes: Amendment 1 (Gen. Assembly may allow and regulate charity raffles)
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« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2012, 03:48:42 pm »
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There has been a strong case to use 2004 as a case study for this November. I understand the argument: A divisive, but personable incumbent with marginally respectable approval ratings against an unlikeable, flip flopping, prone to silly gaffes, challenger who the base is even relecutant to rally around. That being said, I think you need to look much deeper; and when you do, I think it's impossible to conclude that even with these similarities, the differences are too detailed to prove the same result as 8 years ago.

You have two different candidates with different backstories and positions from 2004; of course, the results will be different. The country has shifted somewhat as well.

Essentially, if you want to use the 2004 election as an analogy, you have to adjust for a few things:

1. Obama is running 5%-8% or so worse off than George W. Bush was at this time. It may seem slight, but in a close election it could prove critical.

I assume this means approval ratings. I think he's doing a little worse (too lazy to check) but certainly not 5-8%.

2. While Romney's favorables are bad now, they only are so low due to the Primary. They will rise, especially with Republicans (see point 3 below). I think, ultimately, Romney is stronger than Kerry when it comes to appeal - he's much more enthusiastic and energized, and less prone to major gaffes.

Romney's favorables are artificially down now because Santorum and Gingrich supporters still don't like him -- when the 'get out the vote' push begins, that'll change. I'd have to agree with you on the second sentence -- Romney is a better candidate than Kerry, albeit not by much.

3. The GOP base will rally around Romney. They are down on him now because it was a pick of Romney over several other Republican candidates. In November, it will be Romney against Obama. So while Romney may not have been the #1 pick of the deep conservatives out there, when it's a choice between Romney, Obama, or not voting (which would essentially be a choice for Obama), they'll turn out in order to dethrone the incumbent they so badly despise.

Oh yeah. Those Obama-hating, gun-toting Grizzly Mamas (and Papas) who supported Gingrich but still, deep down, think Palin should be President? They would turn out, in large numbers, for anybody (up to and including John Kerry) who has a legitimate chance of beating Obama.

4. The number one issue of the electorate in 2012 is the economy. The number one issue of the electorate in 2004 was national security (was still the 9/11 aftermath). George Bush had a commanding lead with national security - the rally effect was still going strong, albeit starting to peter out, the anti-Iraq War brigade didn't even emerge yet, and hurricane Katrina was still a year away. Whereas now, Romney is seen trusted with the economy, while Obama's approvals on the issue are somewhere around the 30% mark. Sure, the economy is slightly improving, and if it does continue, and, more so, picks up pace, the better the chances are for Obama.

But this (4) is a huge hole in the 2004 analogy. GWB had a commanding lead over the major issue of the electorate, whereas Obama has been seen flailing, failing, and coming up short.

Some spot-on analysis here.

5. Now that I think about it, 2004 wasn't really a surprise - it took us right back to an almost 50-50 split, which was, essentially, the result of the prior 2000 election. My point? While Bush fell from 90% down to around 54% from September 12, 2001 to circa April 2004, that had more to do with the rally effect petering out rather than any perceived (at that time) faults during his first term. Compare that to Obama who fell from ~70% (these are rough estimates based on memory, too lazy to look every one of them up) to as low as 39% (now back to the mid to up 40s) over the course of his 4 years, but his story was one of his own making (unpopular health care, failed/unproductive stimulus, poor economy, Libya, etc).

Very true.

Basically, my point here is that Bush was always divisive, hence the 2000 split, but people weren't intent on making a referendum against him on his first four years, but they are doing so on Obama's. Pretty important difference, if you ask me.

Not really. The 2000 election was close but not actually that negative -- both Bush and Gore, ironically, were demonized afterwards, Bush for his Presidency and Gore for global warming. It was the split -- the closeness, the Gore-gets-more-votes-but-Bush-wins phenomenon, that caused Bush to be so divisive. And 2004 was a referendum on Bush -- which Bush won.

Overall. Overall, I do see why people think the 2004 election is an analogy. But remember, no election is like any other. While Obama may win a close election resembling how Bush won his in 2004, and while some reasons may be the same, it won't tell the whole story.

That being said, I think the differences outlined above also show that it could very easily go the other way.

I just think it's too simplistic to look at obvious similarities and think that it will follow the 2004 election - there's too many key differences that could easily dictate otherwise.

Every election is different. While there are some superficial similarities, which may even include the results (Obama narrowly beating Romney by 3 points or so is very possible), the elections are not relatives - this is convergent evolution. The two are different, like dolphins and sharks - similar at first glance, but then, once you continue to study them, obviously different.

Not only that, but the Occupy stuff hasn't even hit its full stride yet. Once that happens, that's the end of the Romney campaign.

Everybody except the Occupy people hated Occupy back when it was going, and now it's over. Talking about how great Occupy was is the exact strategy Obama needs to get Romney elected by a significant margin.
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« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2012, 03:50:32 pm »
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Everybody except the Occupy people hated Occupy back when it was going, and now it's over.

If it's over, how did we get dozens of people out for the Occupy Campbell County rally yesterday?
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« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2012, 04:02:15 pm »
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Everybody except the Occupy people hated Occupy back when it was going, and now it's over.

If it's over, how did we get dozens of people out for the Occupy Campbell County rally yesterday?

I'm pretty sure you didn't, considering your Facebook page has a grand total of 14 likes, and one of the top posts is a guy who liked it from Maine. Obviously not everybody who attended liked it on Facebook, but that isn't exactly a grand show of strength.

There's also the fact that you're no longer getting any media attention or any attention from established politicians, and that people are losing interest. The best case scenario for the Occupy movement right now is that it is slowly but surely dying.
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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2012, 04:13:11 pm »
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I'm pretty sure you didn't

We did, and there's a photo on the way to prove it.

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There's also the fact that you're no longer getting any media attention or any attention from established politicians

Ooh, the media and politicians hate us. Color me offended.
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« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2012, 04:52:06 pm »
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There's also the fact that you're no longer getting any media attention or any attention from established politicians

Ooh, the media and politicians hate us. Color me offended.

It isn't that they hate you. If they hate you they would demonize you (or at least try to), like what Fox News has tried to do to Barack Obama or Glenn Beck to George Soros. It's that they pay you no attention at all -- nobody thinks you're even slightly relevant.
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I apologize for being so adamantly right.
Lincoln Republican
Winfield
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« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2012, 10:37:27 pm »
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Nobody likes Romney

except Republicans, and believe me Republicans will rally to him

except independents, moderates, who Romney has great appeal to

except conservatives, who will certainly not be voting for Obama and will be voting for Romney by default

except those who hate Obama's socialized medical scheme

 



   
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July 2 , 2014

President Obama has topped predecessor George W. Bush in another poll, but not one he would like.

In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, 33% named Obama the worst president since World War II, and 28% put Bush at the bottom of post-war presidents.

OBAMA WORSE THAN DUBYA!  WHO KNEW?
ajb
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« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2012, 10:49:16 pm »
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Nobody likes Romney

except Republicans, and believe me Republicans will rally to him

except independents, moderates, who Romney has great appeal to

except conservatives, who will certainly not be voting for Obama and will be voting for Romney by default

except those who hate Obama's socialized medical scheme

   

Republicans will indeed rally to Romney -- polls suggest they already have. And Romney will do well enough with independents. But moderates are out of reach. Moderates quite regularly favor Obama 2-1 over Romney.
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