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PIVOTAL ELECTIONS IN 2008, 2010, AND 2012

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Obama s win was driven by rising black and Latino turnout as well as gains among non-elderly voters across the board. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PIVOTAL ELECTIONS IN 2008, 2010, AND 2012


1
PIVOTAL ELECTIONS IN 2008, 2010, AND 2012
  • Theda Skocpol
  • USW 31, October 24, 2012

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ELECTORAL MILESTONES IN 2008 (from
Center for the Study of the American Electorate,
and a commentary on Demography and Destiny by
Ronald Brownstein, National Journal 1/10/09.)
  • Turnout rose to 63 of eligible voters, highest
    percent since 1960 (64.8) and third highest
    turnout since women gained the suffrage in 1920.
  • Democratic turnout (for House candidates) rose to
    the highest share (31.6) since 1964. Democrats
    gained in every region.
  • Youth turnout (18-24) increased by 1 over 2004,
    and activism grew among college students
    (especially important in providing sinew for
    Obamas extensive grassroots organization).
  • Obamas win was driven by rising black and Latino
    turnout as well as gains among non-elderly voters
    across the board. If demographic groups had
    remained as they were in 1992, McCain would have
    edged Obama. McCain did best among culturally
    conservative working-class whites.

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How would the 2008 election have turned out if
only rich, only middle-income, or only poor
voters had decided the presidency? (RedMcCain
BlueObama)
Rich over 150K Middle income 40-75K Poor
0-20K
Source Andrew Gelman, How Did the Rich (and the
Poor) Vote in 2008?, post at FiveThirtyEight.com,
March 3, 2009.
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Source Andrew Gelman, Religion, Income, and
Voting, post at Fivethirtyeight.com, February
27, 2009.
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CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN THE 2008 OBAMA CAMPAIGN
  • Obama campaign invested time and money to build
    volunteer networks across almost all states.
    Combined centralized frameworks, online tools,
    and local team-building. Organizers were
    initiatlly encouraged to focus on recruiting
    other organizers.
  • Fundraising for Obama combined small and large
    donors, as presidential campaigns have always
    done. But because of the way he organized his
    campaign, Obama was able to go back to the same
    supporters over and over again for both volunteer
    assistance and repeat contributions. Many small
    contributors became cumulative mid-range
    repeaters as Obama was able to attract donors
    who have not been part of the traditional
    large-dollar, reception-attending fundraising
    crowd. (quotes from Reality Check, by the
    Campaign Finance Institute 11/24/08)
  • Obama himself did not have to spend as much time
    as usual courting big donors or attending
    fundraisers.

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Historic Democratic Reverses in 2010
  • Democrats had a net loss of 64 seats in the House
    of Representatives 52 incumbents were defeated,
    and the new 242 member GOP majority is the
    largest in 64 years. GOP gains were national
    (reversing the reduction to a regional party in
    2008).
  • Republicans gained a net of six seats in the
    Senate, winning one-third of the Democratic seats
    at stake. New Senate is 53 D to 47 R.
  • Republicans gained a net of six governors, and
    now hold 29 governorships, including in major
    states such as PA, MI, FL, and OH.
  • Republicans gained c. 700 state legislator seats,
    largest gain since 1966. GOP now has the
    governor and both houses in 20 states.

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Why did the anti-Democratic Wave Happen?
  • Sluggish economy recovery policies thought to be
    unsuccessful and sense the country was headed in
    the wrong direction.
  • Obama approval under 50.
  • Major laws or votes in 111th Congress were
    controversial or unpopular (Affordable Care Act
    Cap and Trade bill in House).
  • Republicans more enthusiastic about voting than
    in 2008, and much more so than Democrats.
  • Size and composition of the electorate changed.
  • Tea Party?

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What role did the Tea Party play in the 2010
elections, and how does that compare to Obama for
America and other organized efforts in 2008?
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What Can We Expect in November 2012?
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