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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin September 22, 2012. .REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Guess who won the undecideds?
The magical 50 percent rule says that an incumbent is in danger if he or she is below 50 percent in the polling. The logic is that if someone isn't with an incumbent, odds are they'll opt for the challenger. I took a look at the rule in Senate races a few years ago and found:
So over the last two election cycles [2006 and 2008], no Senate incumbent polling exclusively over 50 percent has lost his or her race. And of those polling at least once under 50 percent in a reputable independent poll, 47.5 percent of their challengers have been able to knock them off.
I haven't updated those numbers since 2008, but point was, there was definitely some correlation between being an incumbent above 50 and chances of being reelected.

In 2004, President George W. Bush led narrowly in the final round of pre-election polling, but was firmly under 50 percent. Democrats like me convinced ourselves that John Kerry would win because of that 50 percent rule. We were wrong. Exit polling showed that Kerry did win the last-minute vote 52-45, but obviously that wasn't enough to pull him over the top.

Democrats learned our lesson that year, but Republicans clearly didn't notice. Because this year, the 50 percent rule was often cited as rationale for their delusions that Mitt Romney would knock off the president.

The final results? According to exit polling, Romney didn't do nearly as well as Kerry did with the late deciders. President Barack Obama won those who decided "in the last few days" by 50-45, and the last-minute deciders 51-44.

Republicans will blame Hurricane Sandy, of course. But the data simply doesn't show any movement toward the president as a result of the hurricane. That notion is objectively false.

What likely happened is what we knew would happen -- Romney tried to frame the election as a referendum on the president, while Democrats framed it as a choice. When push came to shove, people opted for the choice. And once they did that, it was no contest. The dick didn't stand a chance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Just keeps getting (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tamar, NedSparks, Shockwave, jfromga, sfgb

    better :) I wish they would declare Florida once and for all.

  •  Bye-bye Dick Romney (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, jfromga, sfgb, Plu

    Too bad you were just a typical republican, so, you haven't really gone anywhere.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 11:55:41 AM PST

  •  Dissapointing that the President's real margin of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, ontheleftcoast, jfromga

    victory will not be known for perhaps weeks.... Meanwhile the Republicans are way ahead with the meme that this win is somehow a squeaker....

    •  If Obama took every state but Utah the Republicans (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NedSparks, jck, tejanablue

      would call it a "squeaker" because "Reagan did better in '84 and you didn't let him call it a 'mandate'." Umm, yes, we did you lying asswipes. The Rachael Maddow clip begging with Republicans to deal in reality will fall on deaf ears. They don't want reality because in reality they're losers. Frankly, I think reality doesn't want them either.

      To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

      by ontheleftcoast on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:03:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's been plenty of data supplied here on DK (0+ / 0-)

      to refute this miserable and demeaning meme. We just need to have it at our fingertips.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 02:04:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Republicans live in an illusory world (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, jck, Plu

    and for a while, some of us even bought into their illusions. That it was a referendum on Obama, that the economy question would go their way (because he was a BUSINESSMAN, right???) that we should ignore gains in the stock market, even though many of us have seen 401ks recover and that ain't small potatoes.

    I even bought into some of it - not that it would change my vote, since I've been voting Dem for over 30 years, but it made me more nervous.

  •  Let them keep blaming Sandy and learn no lessons. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Plu, tejanablue

    Let them think they could have won with a smooth-talking snake-oil salesman who changed his tune according to the piper of the hour.  Let them think you can win the White House on a pack of lies and a message of "sod half the country".

    But most importantly, let them think they can shut up their angry wingnuts by blaming an "act of God".  They're just kicking that can down the road.  Those angry wingnuts will still be there in 2014 and 2016, waging civil war inside the GOP.

  •  "The dick didn't stand a chance." LMAO! n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Well behaved women rarely make history.

    by IamNotaKochsucker on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:04:37 PM PST

  •  The Repugs are delusional but we need to... (0+ / 0-)

    ...pay attention to some unsettling facts.

    1) Less people voted in 2012 that in 2008.  I suspect that did not help us more than Rmoney.

    2) Citizen participation in elections in America leave a lot to be desired.  We do bad even comparing to developing countries;

    Why Voter Turnout In U.S. Lags Behind Latin America

    Early estimates indicate that total turnout for the U.S. voting age population in 2012 didn’t quite match the peak of 58 percent for 2008, the figure provided by the Census Bureau. But while 2008 was a historic year for the U.S., its voter participation pales in comparison to Latin America, where the turnout rate for presidential elections often exceeds 75 percent.

    In 2008, 131 million people cast ballots in the U.S., according to the Federal Election Commission. As of late Wednesday, the day after Election Day, the Associated Press had reported that some 119.5 million people had voted for the U.S. president this year. Though 2012 votes have yet to be counted, some estimates put the number at 126 million, or a total turnout rate of roughly 57.5 percent.

    Compared to turnout for presidential elections in 16 Latin American countries, that figure is only higher than Colombia (45 percent) and Honduras (53 percent), according to data compiled by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

    Our political system is in complete disrepair.  

    We need to do something and fast.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:07:13 PM PST

    •  Add in Sandy refugees (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave

      who normally would have voted but just couldn't manage it -- and the people whose votes are sitting in "provisional" piles uncounted, or who couldn't get to the polls because of a last-minute emergency in states with no early voting, or whose mail-in ballots were rejected because of a stray hair or smudge, or who thought they were registered but their form got thrown away or didn't get entered into the database 30 days before the election so they couldn't vote, etc. etc. -- and it probably adds up to about the same as 2008, possibly more.

      Given the clearly organized efforts to suppress the vote, this is pretty amazing and reflects a determination to vote.

      I'm not ready to start hand-wringing until I have more information. And when I do, I'd look first at all the barriers that keep people from voting, not at some kind of "the people just don't care" psychological analysis.

  •  you know what I think is probably most important (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck

    for the undecideds late in the game?  Likeability and guts.

    If you get to October and don't know who you are going to vote for, you don't really pay attention or don't think politicians can make a difference.  And, in that case, you vote for the guy you like.

    In 2004, for better or worse, people didn't really like Kerry (due in large part b/c of the way he was painted).  In 2012, people really didn't like Romney.  

  •  Given that each party seems to have a lock on 45% (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Its a New Day

    of the electorate, is it even possible for a President to be over 50%?

  •  "That notion is objectively false." (0+ / 0-)

    There you go again, with all those facts and science and math, and stuff!

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:31:13 PM PST

  •  No president ever in the history of mankind got (0+ / 0-)

    elected with unemployment over 7.2%......So it is written.....So it shall be done.

  •  You forgot about the Washington Redskins thing. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, Boris Godunov

    Rommey should have won.

    "Drudge: soundslike sludge, islike sewage."
    (-7.25, -6.72)

    by gougef on Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 12:42:51 PM PST

    •  I swear, I was about ready to fire off a hateful (0+ / 0-)

      email to Yahoo! Sports for repeatedly posting about the Redskins rule garbage.  The author of those pieces was obviously in the bag for Romney, as he made zero effort to point out that correlation / causation and that the "rule" made zero logical sense unless one believes in the silliest of superstitious mumbo-jumbo.

  •  GOP always blaming someone else (0+ / 0-)

    So much for the party accusing 47% of not taking responsibility...

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