Exit polls and post election polls from the 2012 election explain exactly why Mitt Romney lost to President Barack Obama.
Both conservatives and liberals sometimes have a hard time understanding that people vote for and against candidates for all kinds of reasons, not all of them ideological.
In Romney's case, his upper class, executive-type personality appears to have alienated many split-ticket voters who vote for some Republicans and some Democrats.
In a national exit poll used by CNN and other media, one of the many questions asked of voters was, "What is the most important quality of a presidential candidate?" The results were:
29% Vision for future
27% Shares my values
21% Cares about people
18% Strong leader
Amazingly, Romney came out ahead in three of the four categories, but ended up with only 45.27% in the exit poll--he actually did a little better, 47.28%, in the election--because he did extremely poorly in the category of "cares about people."
Here are the results for the three categories where Romney did well:
Vision for the future
Shares my values
So, with numbers like that, how could Romney possibly lose the election? Here are the astounding results for Cares about people:
Those horrible results doomed his candidacy. While Romney is undoubtedly impressive in board rooms and other business meetings, that kind of upper-class authority figure is unlikely to win presidential elections.
Liberals in Congress are strongly opposing any increase in the eligibility age for Medicare.
The last issue of this newsletter documented the serious financial problems Medicare faces, both medium and long term, and provided prescriptions to solve these difficulties.
The 2012 Annual Report of the Medicare Board of Trustees stated the actual facts:
The Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund again fails the test of short-range financial adequacy…The Fund also continues to fail the long-range test of close actuarial balance.
The solutions for Medicare are similar to the solutions for Social Security, only even more urgent:
1. Increase the eligibility age to at least 70, maybe 73, or even 75. This should be done soon--not gradually.
2. Require large deductibles for those seniors with extremely high incomes. Even very wealthy retirees could eventually need Medicare. But it is not unreasonable to ask them to use a portion of their vast resources before receiving Medicare benefits.
At a bare minimum, it would be logical to bring up the eligibility age for Medicare so that it is consistent with Social Security eligibility, which is now being very gradually raised over a 22-year period to age 67.
It's hard to see how this could be controversial, but the liberals in the House and Senate seem prepared to "fight to the death" to keep the eligibility age for Medicare at 65.
Of the 6,034 state legislative races throughout the nation, Republicans had a net loss of 174 seats--two-thirds of them in New Hampshire.
Back in the 2010 elections, a previous issue of this newsletter reported that the GOP had gained 680 state legislative seats. This resulted in the highest number of Republican seats in the legislatures since 1928.
This year, the 400-member New Hampshire House of Representatives was an unmitigated disaster for the Republican Party.
Ballotpedia records that, before the election, the GOP had 288 members in the House, the Democrats had only 103, and there were 2 independents and 7 vacancies.
In the 2012 election, Democrats gained 118 seats to increase their numbers to 221 and the GOP dropped down to 179 seats, with no independents.
Republicans also lost 6 seats in the 24-member New Hampshire Senate, from 19 to 13, but still maintained their majority. The Democrats went from 5 seats to 11.
"Entitlement Reform" is being promoted as one of the solutions to the "fiscal cliff," but the problems with Medicare are actually longer term and require increases in the eligibility age plus means testing--not cuts in benefits.
Last week’s issue of this newsletter examined the situation with Social Security and found that both Democrats and Republicans have a flawed understanding of this program. The Social Security Trust Fund (old age and disability) has $2.709 Trillion in "assets," but these are just IOUs from the government to itself.
The Social Security surpluses have all been spent on other programs, as the federal government has lived "high off the hog" on these funds for a long time. Now that it is necessary to start paying interest back to the Trust Fund with cash, rather than more IOUs, some members of Congress are complaining about how terrible it is that Social Security is running a "deficit."
Seniors and their families should tell Congress: Stop your complaining and pay back the money to Social Security your borrowed!
Nevertheless, there are legitimate long range actuarial problems with Social Security that should be corrected as soon as possible by:
1. Increasing the Social Security eligibility age to at least 70, maybe 73, or even 75. This should be done right away, not gradually. The life expectancy is now 83 for men and 85 for women. When the Social Security eligibility was originally set at 65, the life expectancy in the U.S. was only 62.
Of course, provisions must be made for persons whose health requires an earlier retirement.
2. Means testing Social Security so that very wealthy seniors would not receive benefits. Money is not available to send checks each month to those who don't need them.
Similar reforms are necessary for Medicare, but the actuarial problems are much more urgent. Still, they really don't relate much to the current "fiscal cliff."
At the end of October 2012, the Medicare Trust Fund (hospital and supplemental) had "assets" of $292.74 Billion. Like the Social Security Trust Fund, these are just meaningless IOUs. The federal government has spent all of the Medicare surpluses on other things and left seniors holding an "empty bag."
Because Congress has to pay this money back, some legislators are complaining about what a hardship this is on the budget.
1. In the month since the election, a series of polls from Rasmussen Reports indicate that Republicans have lost support from the public.
Democrats are now trusted more on 9 out of 10 key issues. Prior to the election, Republicans were trusted on 7 of the 10 issues. Here are the latest results:
Another Rasmussen poll found that 46% of voters thought the agenda of the Democrats in Congress was mainstream, while only 37% regarded the Republicans’ agenda as mainstream.
By contrast, 41% said the Democratic agenda was extreme, while 46% said the GOP agenda was extreme.
13% of the people were not sure about the Democrats’ agenda and 17% were not sure of the Republicans’ agenda.
In light of these results, it is not surprising that a different Rasmussen survey found that, if congressional elections were held today, 47% would vote for the Democratic candidate, 36% for the Republican candidate, and 17% undecided.
Independents now prefer the Democrats 36% to 29% over the GOP.
Social Security could be affected by current arguments about what to do about the so-called fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and related matters.
In January, the tax cuts enacted during President George W. Bush's Administration will expire and, at the same time, automatic cuts in spending in both domestic and defense programs will occur. In addition, the reduction in the Social Security payroll tax will expire. A few weeks after that, the U.S. Treasury will reach the debt ceiling and be unable to borrow more money without an extension.
When the Bush-era tax cuts were passed, the nation was enjoying big surpluses. But some legislators worried that economic conditions could change and so a sunset provision was passed to terminate the tax cuts unless re-enacted by Congress.
In 2011, President Obama and Congress agreed to extend these tax cuts for two additional years to allow time for the economy, which was in recession, to improve. At the same time, a one-year reduction in the payroll tax, to be made up by revenue from the general fund, was passed and then extended for another year, which will soon end as well.
Also in 2011, Obama and the Congress increased the debt limit with a requirement that a Super Committee find ways to reduce the deficit. If that Committee failed--and it did--an automatic sequester would occur that would generally cut spending across-the-board (with some exemptions).
That is now about to happen, while five new Obamacare taxes will go into effect at the same time.
As this is written, there is not even a framework for an agreement on what to do with these multiple situations. But there have been discussions about "entitlement reform." Entitlements mean Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Reform can be very good or very bad, depending on specifics.
Ironically, various Republicans, Democrats, and newspapers have seriously mischaracterized, in opposite ways, the situation with Social Security.
If conservatives learn the right lessons from Mitt Romney's loss, they may win the presidency in 2016 and beyond.
There are four main lessons that need to taken to heart in future campaigns:
1. Believe the polls.
Know exactly where you are in the race. Don't delude yourself with false optimism.
In sports, think of all the teams that have come from behind--sometimes from way behind--to win. But what if these teams didn't know the score or refused to believe the scoreboard? If they didn't know where they stood, they couldn't choose the right plays to try to catch up.
The last several months of the campaign, many conservatives just refused to believe the polls. Or they would believe only selective polls that showed Romney ahead.
The September 27 issue of this newsletter observed:
One thing the Romney campaign has got to do immediately is stop kidding themselves about the state of the race. They are behind nationwide. But even more importantly, they are way behind in the critical battleground states.
One Romney official complained to me about the weighting of subgroups in the polls, which they claim are producing distorted results favoring Obama…
The pollsters make their living by conducting surveys. That is their profession. Their future depends on being right most of the time. They know what they are doing.
An earlier September 13 issue of this newsletter looked at seven national polls. The average of the polls showed an Obama lead of 3.5 points. The state polls indicated Obama was ahead in the Electoral College vote 319 to 219.
Obama ended up winning the popular vote by 3.53 points and the Electoral College 332 to 206.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond to examine the constitutionality of Obamacare in regard to the employer mandate and religious freedom.
Last week's issue of this newsletter reported that, regardless of how the 4th Circuit rules, Obamacare will likely be re-considered by the Supreme Court during 2013.
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia filed suit, Liberty University v. Geithner, against Obamacare immediately after it was signed into law in 2010. But in 2011, a panel of the 4th Circuit ruled 2-1 that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) prevented the appeals court from addressing the merits of the case.
However, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the individual mandate in NFIB v Sebelius, it did not rule on the employer mandate and did not consider the issue of freedom of religion.
However, the Court did rule 9 to 0 that AIA did not prevent a challenge to Obamacare.
As a result, Liberty University asked the Supreme Court to vacate the ruling of the 4th Circuit and send the case back to the appeals court to consider the employer mandate and its effect on freedom of religion. The U.S. Department of Justice did not object.
Accordingly, the Supreme Court granted the request.
Mitt Romney slightly exceeded the votes that John McCain received in 2008, while Barack Obama's vote dropped by 5.3 million from four years ago.
In the aftermath of this year's presidential elections, there have been hundreds of articles written praising the terrific "ground game" that Obama had to turn out his vote, while Romney's "ground game" was called woefully inadequate.
The facts are exactly the opposite.
Exactly two weeks after the November 6 election, votes are still being counted. The 2012 National Popular Vote Tracker lists the totals as of 12 midnight, Wednesday, November 21:
The current Obama margin of 4,085,806 votes compares with the 2008 Obama margin of 9,550,193 votes. The 2008 results were:
At this point, Romney has 151,108 more votes than McCain, but Obama has 5,313,279 less votes than he received in 2008.
In the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the 2012 vote was:
Obama came out on top in all of these states except North Carolina, resulting in an electoral college vote margin of 141 to 15. The popular vote margin was 1,725,805. Not counting the votes for the third party candidates, Obama received 51.9% of the popular vote and 90.3% of the electoral college vote.
1. Obamacare will likely be reconsidered by the U.S. Supreme Court sometime in 2013.
When Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberals in a bizarre ruling affirming the constitutionality of Obamacare on the grounds the mandate for individuals to purchase health insurance was actually a "tax," it seemed the legal questions had been settled.
But as baseball legend Yogi Berra prophetically remarked during the 1973 New York Mets season, "It ain't over till it's over."
The Hill reported that the U.S. Department of Justice told the Supreme Court it had no objections to a new round of legal arguments over Obamacare.
Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia was among the first to file suit against the President's health care law on religious grounds. The complaint stated that Obamacare violated "their sincerely held religious beliefs against facilitating, subsidizing, easing, funding, or supporting abortions."
But the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond (pictured) ruled that the case was barred from being heard at that time because of the Anti-Injunction Act, an 1867 statute which blocked litigation on a tax until someone actually paid it. However, when the Supreme Court issued its Obamacare ruling, it said the Anti-Injunction Act did not prevent a challenge to the law.
Since the Supreme Court decision did not relate to the issue of religious freedom, it appears that the 4th Circuit will now consider the Liberty University case on its merits. Regardless of what the appellate court rules, the Supreme Court will have the final say in the matter.
Fox News noted that federal district courts in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Michigan have recently issued injunctions against Obamacare on the grounds the law forces business owners to violate their religious beliefs by requiring them to provide insurance for "abortion-causing drugs and devices."