Mitt Romney is the Republican Michael Dukakis: an elitist technocrat from Massachusetts, politically tin-eared and unlikable. Flawed though Barack Obama may be as a president, he does have more of a natural constituency than Romney.
My prediction is that Romney's inherent lack of an appeal, combined with massive negative advertising coming from the Democrats, will depress the conservative vote. This will be especially true in the South, where Romney's Mormon religion and his flip-flops on social issues will be additional factors in his inability to generate support. By contrast, the region's large African-American population will enthusiastically support the reelection of the first black president. As a result, Romney is likely to suffer a surprising number of losses there, including in states previously considered "safe" for the GOP.
The bottom line is not that Romney's candidacy will drive conservatives into voting for Obama. Rather, an unusual number of conservatives will not vote at all. The final outcome—and it is an unfortunate one for the nation—will be Barack Obama claiming as much of a mandate as is possible amid the Washington gridlock.
Polls have Romney losing Massachusetts by 20 percentage points. You might say, "Of course, that only shows Romney really was 'severely conservative'. It's impossible for a Republican to carry Massachusetts." Yet Reagan did it twice--without actually being from the state. Plus, the GOP won several gubernatorial elections in recent years, including one by Romney himself! Massachusetts is hard for Republicans but not impossible, and as a "moderate" former governor Romney should be competitive there. But it goes back to what I said: because of his flip-flops and his less than congenial demeanor, Romney has lost whatever appeal he held for moderates while not gaining the support of many conservatives.
The bottom line is that a good general election candidate should be able to carry his or her home state comfortably--just on likability, if nothing else. See if Bill Clinton lost Arkansas, and that's one heck of a conservative state.
Researching the issue, I found there was only one presidential winner who lost his home state, Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (but not in 1912). Gore came close to repeating this dubious feat, and it could be said he lost the election by losing Tennessee, as winning the Volunteer State would have given him the edge in the electoral college.
Last Edit: 2012-04-26 @ 17:51:31
By:Jakareh (R-FL) 2012-04-26 @ 18:06:02
IT'S THE ROMNEYNESS, NOT THE MORMONNESS
My unenthusiastic opinion about Mormonism notwithstanding, I think Romney's religion will be only a secondary factor in the election. Some of the 20% who say they would not vote for a Mormon are leftists who are motivated by the LDS Church's opposition to gay marriage and the like; they would not vote Republican regardless of who the nominee was. And some of the conservatives among them might have changed their mind when faced with the prospect of another four years of Barack.
The reason why I think many won't has more to do with with the kind of gut feeling Romney inspires than with his religion. Remember back in 2000 when there was a poll question about who the voter would rather have a beer with, Bush or Gore? Bush won. When it comes to Romney, he doesn't even drink beer, of course, and that seems to across in his whole demeanor. Neither did Bush, as a recovering quasi-alcoholic, but the impression people got from him was one of amiability, and that's pretty different from what Romney conveys. Mike Huckabee (that would have been a pretty good nominee) put it perfectly when he said of Romney, "Mitt doesn’t remind you of the guys you used to work with, he reminds you of the guy who laid you off."
There are also Romney's flip-flops on abortion. It's not just that he changed his mind on the issue, it's that he changed his mind multiple times and always according to what was politically expedient at a given moment. As far as I'm concerned, that rules him out definitively, and not just because of abortion itself (though that would be plenty), but because what it says about his personal integrity. Maybe relatively few voters are aware of the extent of Romney's inconstancy on this and other issues, such as government health care, but if the Dems want to trounce Romney and get a win like the one in my map, they could form a PAC to run ads depicting his various shifts. It would be a pretty cynical move given they are for abortion, gay marriage, and government health care, but would you put it past them?
Finally, in his attempts to project himself as "severely conservative", Romney has adopted a drastic anti-immigration position, namely that all illegal immigrants should be deported. Right or wrong, that sounds mighty unfriendly to Latinos, even ones who have been citizens for generations. Last I heard, Obama was leading by 40% among them. That's a big part of the reason why Romney is in danger of losing states like Texas and Arizona.
Last Edit: 2012-04-27 @ 12:42:43
By:BYUmormon (R-UT) 2012-04-26 @ 18:26:33
I still think Romney is going to do better than this. He may do poorly, but still probably better than McCain. I still think he could do worse than McCain, just not quite this bad. Enough conservatives will come out to vote to make Romney do better than this.
By:Lamrock (D-WA) 2012-04-26 @ 18:31:28
This would be cool (not a huge Obama fan but he's better than Mitt) but I think John Kerry's a better comparison than Michael Dukakis. The (R) next to Romney's name alone wins him SC, TX and GA. The anti-Obama rhetoric (sure, Romney's a Mormon, but FOX news would like you to believe Obama's a Muslim) and poor Economic climate of the country should make this one closer than the last.
My mom's a hardcore Occupy progressive and she plans not to vote due to Obama's ineffectiveness and continued attacks on civil liberties. I'm more of a center-left Libertarian and I plan on voting against Romney, but I won't be nearly as upset as I was in 2004 if the Repubs win.
By:Jakareh (R-FL) 2012-04-27 @ 12:37:39
"The (R) next to Romney's name alone wins him SC, TX and GA."
Not if a significant number of conservatives, especially Evangelicals, sit out the election, while black voters remain loyal to Obama. In Texas, the Latino vote will also play heavily against the GOP, much more so than it did against Bush or even McCain.
Last Edit: 2012-04-27 @ 12:40:59
By:CR (--MO) 2012-04-28 @ 13:07:57
To be honest, I'm surprised we'd didn't get this blown out in 2008 (or something close to it) with the loser McCain. Conservative really didn't like him and Obama didn't have the record that he has today. So I think 2012 will at least be a step up. Will we win? I don't know but after everything that's gone on I'd be hard pressed to see how we could do much worse barring some major disaster.
Last Edit: 2012-04-28 @ 13:08:16
By:Jakareh (R-FL) 2012-04-29 @ 11:38:43
One thing about McCain is that, for obvious reasons, he's widely admired by conservatives on a personal level, if not on any other level. Who has warm feelings about Mitt Romney? Conservatives are rightly suspicious of him, if not outright hostile; moderates don't seem to like the cut of jib; liberals would never consider straying from Barry.
So Romney doesn't have a natural constituency except for Mormons and private equity wheeler-dealers. There are a few million of the former and a few thousand (hundreds? dozens?) of the latter. That doesn't make for a winning electoral coalition.
This is Obama's to lose and he only will if the Dems screw up real bad.
Last Edit: 2012-04-29 @ 11:39:32
By:colin (R-ON) 2012-04-29 @ 13:48:25
So here's the thing...and I won't say this again (it's time to be positive). I don't like Romney. He wasn't my first choice, second choice, etc. I didn't like him in 08. I think he is wishy washy and a flip flopper and will do and say whatever it takes to win the presidency. Basically, I feel, and have always felt, as though he is the Republican Obama. All of that being said, I am a conservative, and if I were American I would drag my butt to the polls to vote against Obama. I think my opinion is probably pretty representative of most evangelicals and conservatives out there. I think that Obama brings out our vote more than Romney suppresses it. I don't see this kind of blow out happening, thankfully. ANY version of Romney is better than Obama.
By:James4286 (D-CA) 2012-05-12 @ 15:45:26
The analysis is far better than I would have expected it to be with this map. Though I think that SC is really stretching it - the rest seems at least plausible for an Obama landslide.
One nitpick though on the home state front: I think some people may have the analysis backwards: successful candidates tend to come from states which are favorable to their party. If you look at both winning and losing candidates you will find that very few come from states which are usually move favorable to the other side - or even battleground states.
Before Clinton, you have to go all the way back to George McGovern (1972) to find a candidate from a state usually won by the other party (and SD did go solidly Republican that year). I'm not saying that the home state doesn't have some effect (It was probably the main reason Mondale barely won Minnesota in '84, but I don't think it tends to make a major difference.
By:Ickey415 (--IA) 2012-05-12 @ 22:36:29
I tend to concur with James4286 - I'd also add that the candidate's home state advantage is proportional to the size of the state. So, McCain's 8.5% win in AZ in '08 would be entirely attributable to the home state advantage for that size of state. In GA, it'd be a bit less of a difference percentage-wise as you're increasing your votes by a similar set amount based on your own popularity and name brand within the state. Less % but a bit more total votes.
I am curious as to James's decision to paint AR red, though. I agree substantially with all his other picks, though, obviously. Just wondering if there's something a Californian knows about what's going on in AR that I don't is all...
By:James4286 (D-CA) 2012-05-13 @ 12:27:58
Oops. The AR was an artifact from a previous 'what if' for a three way race between Obama, Romney, and Sanatorium. Thanks for letting me know - I have corrected that error.
By:Ickey415 (--IA) 2012-05-14 @ 10:42:51
Ah. I thought you had intended to click AZ and got AR by mistake. Ok.
So then we only disagree on NC and I'm starting to have my doubts about that state with all the gay marriage issue talk in the news recently. But Mitt is incredibly unpopular in that state, too. Still hard to predict. I think your pick is safer.
By:Liberallover (D-NY) 2012-05-14 @ 12:01:59
While I'd certainly love to see this result, I highly doubt it. Coming from an extremely conservative family, being disowned for being gay, members in the Tea Party, etc., I've seen the anti-Obama hatred in states as safe as New Jersey and as razors-edge as Florida. I don't think Romney is likable, obviously, but I think Obama is extremely hatable. A black man, for gay marriage, for universal health care, for regulated financial markets. This is all anathema to a large swath of population particularly in the South and Plains, but country-wide (save perhaps New York and New England).
Romney is coddling the evangelical vote as we speak, having recently declared himself "not running to be pastor in chief." As someone else already said, Romney may be a Mormon but Obama is a *MUSLIM* (to most conservatives).
By:WhyteRain (I-TX) 2012-05-22 @ 12:08:40
What makes Democrats more anxious: People thinking Obama is an acolyte of Mohammed or people thinking Obama is an acolyte of Jeremiah Wright?
By:colin (R-ON) 2012-05-26 @ 14:09:41
sounds like we have similar backgrounds Liberal...I think you are mostly right too
By:bonncaruso (D-DEU) 2012-07-16 @ 14:12:08
When I saw this map, my eyes popped out. But when I realized that a Republican created the map, then they jumped into the next room.
In spite of the fact that I would personally LOVE to see such a result, according to currents stats, such an Obama win is pretty much impossible.
Those who know me know that I pride myself on absolute non-partisanship when it comes to the polling numbers, or any numbers, for that matter. The numbers point at a pretty tight national race, but not quite so tight in the EC.
As for Romney himself - well, who knows for sure? The man is such a chameleon, it makes it impossible for anyone to pin him down with any credibility. Yes, I do consider him to be the next best of a field of generally very mediocre and also batshit crazy candidates (Michele Bachmann comes immediately to mind, with Herman Cain pokemoning right behind her). That being said, what Romney lacks in luster and exceptional qualities, he makes up for in extreme discipline and perserverence. Even his most ardent critics must give him this.
He is not the biggest problem, in my opinion. It is the hard-right tilt of the Republican Party into Unicornland that bugs the f*ck out of me. A party that has been hijacked by frothing-at-the-mouth Tea Partiers and other such moonbats who are bigoted, racist, xenophobic, ultra-nationalistic and so obsessed with vulture capitalism mixed with a perverted orgy of dominionism and revisionist history - that they are absolutely destroying this once great, once proud party. It just breaks my heart into many pieces to see this happen. What a fricking shame.
While America evolves farther in the 21st century, the GOP is planted firmly in the year 1880. It is a travesty that would be funny in an alternate universe, but here, it is just plain old sad.
There, I enjoyed my rant. Hope you enjoyed it too.