The 47% again

Just to continue my echoing of John on this one . . .

Let me repeat that, in my view, the 47% is not a gaffe but rather reveals an actual, and unpopular (with most voters) aspect of Romney’s position and ideology on economic issues. So it makes perfect sense to me that this speech could move voters from Romney to Obama, hence John’s recent poll summary seems very reasonable from my perspective. I think John was right in his inclination to look at the data to address these questions!

6 Responses to The 47% again

  1. John Sides September 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    Andy: I am mystified as to why you see this as a “back-and-forth.”

    1) In my first post, I explicitly put “gaffe” in scare quotes throughout to signal that I was using the term commentators use. I personally have never said that it was a gaffe. In my most recent post, I use the term “comments.”

    2) My first post was written after prominent commentators were calling the tape “devastating” only hours after it ran. I noted that many statements previously identified as controversial proved not to move the polls. I suggested therefore that there was reason to doubt that this statement would.

    3) To see if that was correct, I looked at the recent polls and discerned a 1% shift, which is, I think, consistent with my initial skepticism (i.e., it’s not “devastating,” at least not yet) but also consistent with your view that his comments could move voters from Romney to Obama (i.e., since the 1% appears to be movement).

    You’re trying to conjure up a disagreement with me where none exists, and attributing to me views that I did not express.

    • Andrew Gelman September 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

      Hi, John. I didn’t mean to imply with “back-and-forth” that we were disagreeing. I meant more that we were batting this idea back and forth, which I think is a useful function of this blog, that we present multiple perspectives. I was not trying to conjure up any disagreement at all. (This isn’t the first time I’ve found that intonation is difficult to convey in typed speech.)

      To avoid any confusion, I’ve altered the above post to clarify that I indeed am in agreement with you on this one!

    • Kylopod September 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      I think in a close race like this one, a 1% shift from one candidate to the other could be quite devastating.

      • John Sides September 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

        Kylopod: I dunno. If Obama’s lead never changes from here on out, then he’ll end up winning by 4 points instead of 3 points. I’m not sure that goes down in the history books as devastating, although I certainly don’t think it goes down as a non-event either.

        • Kylopod September 26, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

          Perhaps. I’ve been predicting more like a 2-3 point victory for Obama in the end (mirroring W. in 2004), but in any case, we need to keep in mind that history books tend to emphasize campaign events a lot more than political scientists like yourself do.

  2. Acilius September 27, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I agree. And I’ll reiterate something I said on another thread, that I suspect that both the “47%” remark and the many other remarks in which Mr Romney has emphasized his wealth and his detachment from non-rich Americans are part of a deliberate marketing strategy on his part to brand his candidacy as a luxury product.