I promised myself I wasn't going to do this. But when it comes to promises I make to myself, I keep them at an almost Obamaian rate.
Oh well. Let's continue on with some election results and exit polls.
Another way to slice the data -- by Ideology. Because looking at it by Party doesn't tell us nearly as much as one might think. If Romney got fewer Republicans than McCain, how do we know whether this was truly "the base" staying home because they weren't sufficiently "fired up"? When I'm referring to "the base", I'm referring to . . . ta da . . . Ideology. Take me, for example. I am very conservative. But I am also a registered Independent. Were I to be exit-polled, my vote would not show up as Republican, but it would be Conservative. By what I would consider a rational definition of a Republican candidate's "base", I should be included.
A number of Republicans may have stayed home -- at this point Romney has about 160K fewer Republican votes than McCain got -- but was it "the base"?
Conservatives turned out at 35% of voters in 2012 vs 34% in 2008.
Moderates were 41% in 2012 vs 44% in 2008
Liberals were 25% in 2012 vs 22% in 2008
Moderates stayed home, and Liberals picked up the slack.
But let's break it down, shall we?
The Liberals who came out were less liberal in how they voted.
The Overall Liberal vote in 2012 was Obama 86%, Romney 11% and Other 3%
The Overall Liberal vote in 2008 was Obama 89%, McCain 10% and Other 1%
In 2012, 2M more Liberals voted than in 2008.
For those 2M -- the race roughly broke down:
Obama: 980K | 48.9%
Romney: 570K | 28.4%
Other: 480K | 24.1%
The mechanics of breaking down the Liberal vote this way is very crude. It starts with the assumption that the "first" 28.9M Liberals (the number of Liberals voting in 2008) voted exactly as they did in 2008. It then takes the 2M more Liberals who came out in 2012, and breaks down their votes in the ratios necessary to get to the Overall 2012 split between Obama-Romney-Other. The votes didn't actually come in that way, of course. But I present it in this manner just to illustrate the contrast between 2008 and 2012.
The Moderates who did come out out broke heavily for Other compared to 2008, but Romney lost way fewer than Obama.
The Overall Moderate vote in 2012 was Obama 56%, Romney 41%, Other 3%
The Overall Moderate vote in 2008 was Obama 60%, McCain 39%, Other 1%
In 2012 there were 6.8M fewer Moderates than in 2008
Obama got 5.9M fewer Moderate votes
Romney got 1.6M fewer Moderate votes
Other got 700K more Moderate votes
The Conservatives who came out were more conservative in how they voted.
The Overall Conservative vote in 2012 was Obama 17%, Romey 82%, Other 1%
The Overall Conservative vote in 2008 was Obama 20%, McCain 78%, Other 2%
In 2012 there were 1.2M fewer Conservatives than in 2008.
Obama got 1.4M fewer Conservative votes
Romney got 830K more Conservative votes
Other got 675K fewer Conservative votes
Essentially, Obama lost 100% of the Conservative votes who came out in 2008 and stayed home in 2012.
Between the Moderates and Conservatives who stayed home, it would appear a vast majority of them were 2008 Obama voters who chose not to participate in the 2012 election. It would also appear that the 2008 Republican votes that Romney did not secure compared to McCain were Moderate in ideology.
Obama went completely negative with Bain and the 47%, with the made up war on women and birth control, with anything at hand to avoid a focus on his record by focusing on very emotive appeals in a smearing of Romney. It was a very disciplined effort to convince voters he knew had no appetite for repeating their vote for him that Romney was not worth getting off the couch and going to the polls for.
Obama deliberately ran a Repress As Many Votes As Necessary To Keep Potential Romney Voters Home. And he ran it successfully.