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One increasingly familiar feature of the 2012 campaign has been the remarkable stability of the Electoral College polling forecasts, despite ups and downs and now nail-bitingly close results in the national polls. I think it's time we call this for what it is. While America has elected it's first black President, this is our first time possibly re-electing a black President. And, in a way that it didn't in 2008, racism is rearing it's head in subtle but decisive ways.  This is not to say that Romney's support is predominantly from racists, but it doesn't take many of them to change the complexion of the race.  And i propose that it is good -old fashioned racism that is at the heart of what appears to be a split between the Electoral College, which is set to re-elect the President, and the popular vote, which could really go either way.

EDIT: I want to make clear that I don't think that race or racism is a primary factor in this election, or that all Romney voters are racist. I'm only looking at about 3% of the popular vote. If, as I expect, Obama gets between 270 and 300 EC votes, the expected popular vote result would be a narrow win of about 2%. But there is an increasing likelihood that the EC vote will be in that range while the popular vote goes the other way, pushing the limits of what might be expected when these two results diverge. I am proposing that racism might be accountable for that and that alone.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

In his Wonkblog column in The Washington Post today, Ezra Klein wrote in a piece entitled  "Will Romney win the popular vote but lose the presidency?" "It’s time to just say this clearly: A straightforward read of the polls suggests we’re likely to see Mitt Romney win the popular vote and Barack Obama win the electoral college — and, thus, the presidency. "  
I woke up before this was published and said the same thing to my boyfriend.

Meanwhile, The Cook Political Report this week has published an article about the increasing likelihood of Romney loosing the election but winning the popular vote. Nate Silver's 538 has a 5.3% chance of Obama winning reelection while losing the popular vote, about 5 times what it was 6 weeks ago.

I woke up before this was published and said the same thing to my boyfriend.

Only a few days ago, the same paper that features Wonkblog was an article called "Whites' support for Obama eroding," in which they state that support for Mr. Obama among white voters is the lowest for a candidate since 1988.  There are, of course, a lot of reasons for this, but garden variety racism can't and shouldn't be ruled out.

By all evidence, Romney's position in the polls is heavily dependent on his running up the numbers in the old South.  Romney was at 52% in Gallup's outlier poll, all of that advantage was located in one region and one region only: the south. Look at these numbers from Gallup's regional breakdown. East - Obama +4, Midwest - Obama +4, West - Obama +6, South -  Romney +22.   Other polling organizations that have reported regional breakdowns of their polls have reported similar findings. This is not to say that all whites in the South are racist. I'm white and I live in Kentucky.  There is no demographic excuse for my voting habits or opinions. But to ignore the presence of race as a factor driving votes in the South, running up Romney's numbers in one part of the country only, would be foolish.  After all, people feel perfectly comfortable driving to the mall in these parts with anti-Obama bumper stickers that use the slogan "Don't ReNig." No, you didn't misread that.

I mentioned earlier that we've never reelected a black President and I think this is crucial because in 2008, there was enough racial motivation to vote for Obama, to make history, that it entirely counter-acted whatever anti-black vote was fueling the movement against Obama.  Even Republicans were a bit excited that our country had done this. But now that we've done that, that particular thrill is gone.  But the other side of the coin is still there. When John Sununu said Colin Powell was motivated by race, this wasn't a mistake. It was a dog-whistle, like yelling "you lie" at the President during a State of the Union address.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  Racism is not exclusive to the South.  I grew up and live most of my life in New England, I know pretty well. Sununu and the Romney campaign likely think that they can motivate those with racial animus with his disgusting comments and then get points for walking them back a few hours later.  And maybe, just maybe, they can thus increase their numbers in important swing states in order to win the election.  More likely than not, though, they will simply end up increasing Romney's numbers in states he was already going to win, perhaps leading to the biggest split in history between the popular vote and the Electoral College.

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