ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Obama's Advantages

Updated on February 20, 2013

In the 2012 Presidential election, Obama won, and he won by a bigger margin than I expected him to. States like Ohio and Virginia did tilt his way in the election, and the 3 percent bounce he got from the convention in Charlotte ultimately enticed as many voters as his campaign did in 2008. Mitt Romney struggled to connect with voters on many issues, namely taxes and Medicare, and he never quite managed to make himself more likeable. Obama maintained his edge all through the campaign, and even managed to make ground after a disastrous first Presidential debate.

The first among these advantages was the electoral college, and it is for this reason that I have come to love the institution so very much; Not only did it favor Obama, but it made sense of any otherwise senseless election. Obama was already almost halfway towards the required number of electoral votes he needed to win reelection, at 240 electoral votes (at the time this hub was originally written). Romney's eventual electoral count stood at 206. When Obama won, his electoral vote stood at 332.

The other advantage Obama had over Romney was enthusiasm. Republican voters where certainly enthusiastic, but just not about Mitt Romney. Their enthusiasm came from a desire to see Obama ousted from office. But Obama still had a rock solid base of loyal supporters, whose support for him was not swayed by a bad jobs report or by an avalanche of negative adds. More liberal Democrats felt strongly for Obama than conservative Republicans felt strongly for Romney. The gap came from a growing dissatisfaction with how Romney had been conducting his campaign, compared to the President. Towards the end, Romney seemed to have lost his ability to control the debate and stay on message.

Obama had a final thing going for him; he was constantly more likeable than Mitt Romney. Many voters will tell you that they do not vote based on who they personally like the best. Don't believe it. There are many statistics showing that the most likeable candidate usually wins in an election, and Mitt Romney was one of the least popular challengers to an incumbent President since, well, John Kerry. The likeability gap eventually fell in line with the enthusiasm gap.

So, in the end, this election, like all of the others in American history, was decided by the factors presented above; The electoral college, the enthusiasm felt by voters for either of the candidates, and the degree to which either of the two candidates were "liked" by a majority of voters.

So, what can the two parties learn from this information? What the Democratic Party will likely take from this election is that appealing to a variety of voters works well for them. They targeted young people, women, minorities and homosexuals, and consequently, the Democrats won by large margins among these groups. They can also be fairly confident of broad popular support, at least for a while. Nevertheless, Congressional Democrats are still extremely unpopular nationally, with only 19 percent support.

Not that Republicans are in any position to be smug about this; Currently, Congressional Republicans are polling at 12 points nationally. Even this seems to be the least of their problems. In a less white, more diverse and younger country, that is more socially liberal than ever before, Republicans find themselves being defined by a tiny but extremely loud fringe of the party, one which is far more conservative than than the country as a whole. As a result, Republicans need to do some serious soul searching. It would probably help them if they could work with the President on the upcoming Sequester, rather than try to resort to the old blame game that failed to win them the White House.

As for the President, he is in the best position of all. Having just rode into his second term with a triumphant and rousing Inauguration speech, he has set an ambitious agenda, one that, for now, is supported by a majority of Americans. To be sure, his Affordable Care Act is still widely unpopular in principle, but many of the laws specific requirements, such as allowing children to remain on their parents health plans until the age of 25, have majority support. But Obama also wields popular support on marriage equality, equal pay for women, increasing tax rates for the very wealthy, action on climate change and on stricter background checks for gun sales.

With all of this in mind, Obama still is just beginning his second term. Much can happen in four years, with much of it depending on the results of the 2014 midterm elections. It remains to be seen whether Barack Obama can build a legacy comparable to that of Ronald Reagan.



Washington Post-ABC News poll
(enthusiasm poll)

Presidential Election Map 2012 - The Washington Post

Presidential Race Ratings and Swing States - Election 2012 - NYTimes.com

2012 Election: Electoral Vote Tracker - USATODAY.com

Electoral Map - Election Center 2012 - Elections & Politics from CNN.com

RealClearPolitics - 2012 Election Maps - Battle for White House

2012 Political Map Center | PBS NewsHour

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      The people and the country have a major disadvantage, it is called Obama.

      He Failed

    • profile image

      Nic R. 4 years ago

      He failed?

      More like his expectations of what it would be like were a bit flawed. Congress (being basically controlled by Republicans) wouldn't let him do ANYTHING to legitimately help.

      Also, between the two (Obama and Romney), I SINCERELY believe that Romney would have a significantly worse run as President.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      MinusK

      Obama had a democratic controlled congress his first two years, and he threw money at a stimulus that failed. And bad ideas, like Obamacare didn't need to be rubber stamped by the minority party. It was and is a bad idea, along the lines of SS and Medicare.

      23 million people are out of work, and 46.7 million people are on food stamps. Does that sound like success to you.

      We don't know how Romney would be as president, but we know that Obama failed as president. Another four years for Obama won't change that.

      3 out of the last 6 years in office, Obama has focused on campaigning, fund raising, and this year playing over 1oo games of golf.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      ib radmasters,

      Your arguments are getting weaker by the day. The stimulus did not fail. It added 4.1 million jobs. This is a fact.

      And the Affordable Care Act was based on an idea by the conservative Heritage Foundation, which supported an individual mandate. By the way, Social Security was not and is not a "bad idea." Millions of people agree with me on this.

      As Bill Clinton rightfully said, no President, not one, could have completely turned around a bad economy in just three years. If anyone failed, it was Republicans, for not doing the jobs they were elected to do, when they should have been working with the President and Democrats in Congress.

      By the way, you are right that Obama had a Democratic controlled Congress his first two years. That is why all of his accomplishments were done in his first two years.

      And your last argument is utter nonsense. Name me one President who did not campaign, raise funds or play golf, and I will list all of the occasions which that President actually did so.

      Calling President Obama a failure is a weak argument, made by those who cannot form an arguement for Romney's side.

    • William Young profile image

      William Young 4 years ago from Eaglle Grove, Iowa

      Nathan Orf,

      You are correct in your assessment that Obama might very well win re-election, and that is coming from a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like myself. However, I would not put too much stock in any electoral count before election day. Neither Obama or Romney have ANY electoral votes in the bag yet. A lot can happen between, and ANYTHING can happen. In 1948, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE predicted that Harry Truman was going to lose in a landslide to Thomas E. Dewey. When the votes were counted, contrary to what one newspaper reported, Truman had won. If Obama does win he needs to do something that he has NEVER done (and I don't care what any left leaning prognosticator says, he has NEVER done this) He needs to stop thinking that he can govern the country from the far left, and he needs to turn into Bill Clinton and actually reach out to the Republicans and work with them for the good of the country. Telling them, "Elections have consequences, I won and you lost" is not going to lead to anything productive. I'm not saying he has to do everything the Republicans want to do, but he needs to moderate his position and, like Bill Clinton, be willing to reach across the aisle. I haven't seen any evidence that he will do that.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Fact

      23 million people are out of work, and that is the conservative number as many people have given up trying to find jobs.

      46.7 million people are on food stamps.

      $716 billion has been taken away from Medicare and that will make it difficult for doctors to take Medicare patients.

      Fact: Obama has spent three of his last six years campaigning, fund raising, and this year playing golf. This interferes with his Job panel, and meeting with the head of Israel to discuss the Middle East.

      Social Security is needed today, but it is still a bad idea, it is a TAX on wages, and now it is being called an Entitlement Liability that prevents the budget from being balanced. Compare SS against a real government pension FERS Federal Employee Retirement System which backed by the taxpayers..

      Bill Clinton is not the expert because it was during his presidency that the dot com bubble was created causing the economy to boom. In 2ooo the dot com bubble burst, causing the economy to take a down turn. It was also during Clinton that he and the democrats started the housing bubble that also went boom in 2008.

      Obama care was an action taken by President Obama and his democratic controlled congress, but it is not an accomplishment. It also didn't help the economy, unemployment, and the housing market. Also, the price of gasoline has more than doubled since Obama took the presidency.

      Maybe the presidents campaigned but not on the same level as Senator and President Obama. And maybe these presidents accomplished something for the country. Obama has not made any accomplishments.

      Actions are only accomplishments when they actually do something worthwhile. Obama care doesn't even start until the next four years, so during his term in office, nothing.

      Your rhetoric is amusing, but your facts and examples are without depth, or meaning as they are emotional loyal party banter.

      If you would read my hubs you will learn that I make my statements based on facts and not on a particular party favoritism.

      By your statements, you must believe that the United States of America is doing OK with Barack Obama as president. But, there is no factual basis to make that opinion. Four years into his presidency he is still blaming the problems on his inheritance from Bush. That was good in the first year, but not now.

      The reason he won the presidency was because he promised the voters he could solve the problems of the country that were caused by Bush. Fact, he didn't do that.

      No incumbent has campaigned longer, and used more government resources, time and money than Obama. Over 190 fund raisers, over 100 games of golf, and numerous campaign trips. He spent his presidency this year writing Executive Orders that usurped the legislative laws. He pandered to the minorities while ignoring the majority. By doing that he put a wedge between the people, and made it look like financial success was a crime. He want socialism to be the American Way.

      Obama should us what he can't do, and that is keep a contract with the American Voters. Whether Romney can do better is unknown, but Obama put the bar just inches above the ground.

      If what America is today is your idea of America that is really sad. As long as there are blind loyal party voters such as yourself, then the US is going down for the count.

      The country is Red and Blue, but it needs to be Purple. Right now the country is Blue in more than one sense of the word.

      2008 caught both parties with their campaigning down around their ankles, and they threw 750 billion dollars at the problem, and it failed. Many of the incumbents from both parties were too busy campaigning to even see that the economy was going to burst. Or maybe they thought that it would hold together until after the election. Senator Obama did two years of campaigning.

      The Obama stimulus failed, and getting jobs at McDonalds, Walmart and Home Deport are not the kind of jobs that were lost in 2008.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      ib radmasters,

      Have I hit a nerve? Judging from your response, I must have. Nothing else would have set off a rant of such epic proportions.

      You start out by listing cold, dry statistics (which I enjoy, by the way).

      After listing these facts, you move on to personal opinion, which is fine, as long as it is helpful to the discussion we are trying to have. Unfortunately, you attack me personally, by dismissing my hub, a result of long hours of research and effort, as being "emotional loyal party banter."

      I had thought that this hub was a neutral assessment of the current political scene. I have even provided links to some of the sources I used. Did you not take a look at them?

      You go on to make assumptions about my personal character and views, despite the fact that you have no way of knowing who I am or what I do or what I truly think, other than what you see in my hubs.

      So, I must have done something to offend you, in order to merit such a negative, impolite response. Would you like to tell what that is? Or will you continue to hurl childish accusations against me?

    • William Young profile image

      William Young 4 years ago from Eaglle Grove, Iowa

      Yikes, fellas...We can disagree without being disagreeable, can't we?

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      Thanks William. I do try to be reasonable in my own comments, but ib rattled me. Lucky we've got you!

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Nathan

      Based on the current threats to the US in the Middle East Obama needs to focus on his job rather than on his reelection.

      He also needs to make a decision on Iran completing their Nuclear Bomb.

      Waiting is fine, but playing the clock out until the election is past is not what a President does in a time of crisis.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

      Nathan

      You say

      ib radmasters,

      Have I hit a nerve? Judging from your response, I must have. Nothing else would have set off a rant of such epic proportions.

      You start out by listing cold, dry statistics (which I enjoy, by the way).

      After listing these facts, you move on to personal opinion, which is fine, as long as it is helpful to the discussion we are trying to have. Unfortunately, you attack me personally, by dismissing my hub, a result of long hours of research and effort, as being "emotional loyal party banter."

      ib-----

      That was my opinion after reading your hub, it wasn't personal it was directed to your hub. I didn't direct it to you, only the content. Your content was about social issues.

      --------

      I had thought that this hub was a neutral assessment of the current political scene. I have even provided links to some of the sources I used. Did you not take a look at them?

      ib----

      Again social issues, are used to distract from the real issues.

      --------

      You go on to make assumptions about my personal character and views, despite the fact that you have no way of knowing who I am or what I do or what I truly think, other than what you see in my hubs.

      --ib

      There was no personal attacks, merely an opinion about your views based on your content. Throwing out words like Rant, is more of a personal attack. You consider oppositions to your views as rants, especially when if give the reasons for my opposition. Are you trying to generate sympathy here?

      -------

      So, I must have done something to offend you, in order to merit such a negative, impolite response. Would you like to tell what that is? Or will you continue to hurl childish accusations against me?

      ib-----

      See, here you go again, with words like childish, and accusations. And again you take it personally, which is not reasonable.

      -----

      ib---

      Additionally in a previous comment, you called my argument, Utter Nonsense.

      ----

      ib--

      I did say

      "Your rhetoric is amusing, but your facts and examples are without depth, or meaning as they are emotional loyal party banter."

      So commenting on rhetoric, facts, and examples is a personal attack.

      I did read your hub again, and I find that I may have taken a harder line than I did, but after rereading your comments, I find that it was your comments that were the real culprit.

      I will refrain from reading your hubs from now on.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      ib radmasters,

      Fair enough. I admit, my own words were poorly chosen. You did indeed present an opinion, which I later referred to as "utter nonsense" and "weak."

      I also stated that your arguments were "getting weaker by the day." That is an opinion, and I do happen to believe that calling a President a failure is a weak argument, when you offer no solid fact to back it up. You have done so, using examples that we can both pick over endlessly. Pity we never got around to having that conversation.

      I found your own comments to be poorly worded as well. It was not your opinion, per say, which I actually found rather intriguing. I would have enjoyed a thoughtful debate with you about them.

      However, you used the following terms;

      "As long as there are blind loyal party voters such as yourself, then the US is going down for the count."

      I do not consider myself a "blind loyal party voter." I vote based on what I consider to my own self interests. I intend to vote for Obama this time around, but only because the alternative is Mitt Romney, whose economic plans are merely a return to the Bush years.

      "Your rhetoric is amusing, but your facts and examples are without depth, or meaning as they are emotional loyal party banter."

      This you have commented on yourself. And you have admitted to "taking a harder line." The facts and examples aside, when you reduce my entire hub to "emotional loyal party banter," I consider it an attack. Disagreeing with the contents is one thing. Calling it "emotional loyal party banter" is a bit overboard.

      So, all things considered, I still consider your response to be a rant. Why? Because you dismantled my arguments in what I found to be a mean-spirited way.

      We were both, as William Young said, "being disagreeable." To me, the two comments I listed above seem rather a lot like accusations. If they were accusations, and they were intentional, then they were indeed childish.

      Simply put, two poorly worded comments served to undermine your argument and possible intent.

      I deeply regret this dispute. It was beneath us both.

    • jman00001 profile image

      jman00001 4 years ago from Texas

      Interesting hub.

      I suspect many agree with hub comment “… Obama still has a rock solid base of loyal supporters, whose support for him will not be swayed by a bad jobs report or by an avalanche of negative…” Unfortunately there literally is no news that could be shared to turn a significant % of Obama followers. Reasonable folks should see that as a danger.

      The Hub’s “ Obama's legendary luck” comment is interesting. If luck is what you wish to call what the Obama political machine does to serious competition for each of his past elections.

      Even these US embassy attacks and protests now have apparently “increased support” for Obama. Rumor now has it that these horrible events supposedly triggered by a youtube video that just happened to be released a few weeks before 9/11/2012 yet only went viral around the day of and “caused” the Libya attacks ... will actually hurt Romney? Not because of Mr Romney poorly timed comments but because now “foreign policy” and bloodshed less than 2 months from election day are key issues versus the weak economy. Since Romney’s core strengths are on businesses with less experience on foreign relations this seems an amazing bit of last minute political luck for Obama? Maybe “embassy attacks” days away from election day should be added to the hub as Obama advantages?

    • profile image

      Over 4 years ago

      This hub was clearly the product of a significant amount of work. However I do not understand why the author doesn’t defend his positions with facts and logic when counter points are made. When questions were posed by ib RAd, the hub writer has yet to try and counter any Ib’s points? Instead I see comments like “I hit a nerve” and “you hurt my feelings” dialog…

      I have noticed this tactic used on other political hubs as well when the commenter apparently beats out and wins various points in the hub debates. The other side goes emotional and or changes the subject.

      I was told that this one of the normal standards to judge by on which point of view wins on these things. Do you agree?

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      jman00001,

      Good points, all, and thank you for commenting.

      Regarding your first point, I do believe I implied very much what you are. Partisan voters, on both sides of the aisle, are going to vote for their preferred candidate, no matter what.

      I believe this is true of Republicans as well as Democrats; however, at this time, the "enthusiasm gap" of which I wrote still counts. Romney needs to make his base supporters enthusiastic about him, personally, not just about beating Obama.

      I mention luck because Obama has been very lucky in his opponents this far, for so long. He ran a very successful campaign for state Senator against Alan Keyes. Then he won the Democratic Primaries when he finally defeated Hillary Clinton. And lastly, he went up against John McCain, who had Sarah Palin pulling him back. And now, Obama faces a totally uninspiring challenger in Mitt Romney.

      As you mentioned political machines, I admit, it is very true that they have played a role in Obama's political fortunes. His team in Chicago is one of the best in the country, and it does matter in elections. However, Romney has also made good use of his own political machine. First, he outspent his rivals in the Republican primaries, and now he is outspending the President. I have to say here, that both Obama and Romney are evenly matched on this one.

      And finally, the attacks on the embassy were certainly "lucky" for Obama, but only because Romney chose that moment to make a poorly worded comment. The longer these overseas protests continue, and the more damage they cause to American lives and interests, the worse it looks for Obama, because it makes him seem as if he cannot protect American lives and interests overseas. It is in Obama's best political interest that these riots end as soon as possible.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago from Virginia

      Over,

      Thank you for commenting.

      If you read all of the comments on this hub, I think you will see that I did, in fact, respond to one of ib radmaster's comments using "facts" and "logic." I think you will find that this was, in fact, my very first comment on this hub.

      I found ib's next response poorly worded and unduly heated. He used the phrase "emotional loyal party banter," after accusing me of being a "blind, loyal party voter."

      True, he made good points in that response, which I have addressed before, in other hubs. I am not new to ib radmaster's approach to debating, and have engaged him before, in discussions that were far more polite and civil than the one above.

      But his comments here were not meant in good humor, and I took it as such. Therefor, I chose to call him out on that comment.

    Click to Rate This Article