Who won the election for Obama?

by Andrew Gelman on November 7, 2012 · 19 comments

in Campaigns and elections

Mike Bloomberg and Chris Christie.

Sonia Sotomayor.

Paul Ryan.

Those guys distorting the numbers in some back room in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That waiter who secretly taped Romney’s “47%” speech.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Here’s what I can’t figure out: Is Rick Santorum bummed that he didn’t succeed a few years ago in cutting the budget of the National Weather Service (which supplied information that allowed an appropriate response to Hurricane Sandy, making Obama appear to be a competent disaster manager, unlike his predecessor)? Or is he relieved, because Romney’s loss opens up his shot to run again in 2016?

P.S. Peter Trubowitz adds John Roberts to the above list. Good catch.

{ 19 comments }

Erick Robertson November 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Re: National Weather Service

I knew how devastating Katrina was going to be 48 hours before it hit. It was clear at that time based on NOAA projections that Katrina was going to make landfall directly on New Orleans as a Class 4 Hurricane. Since New Orleans’ levees were only rated to survive a Class 3 storm, it was clear it was going to be a disaster.

So in my opinion, I don’t see where Obama had any more help than Bush had.

Andrew Gelman November 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Erick:

I’m not saying Obama had more help that Bush had, I’m saying that had the weather service budget been cut as per Santorum’s request, policymakers might have had worse information for Sandy.

Andreas Moser November 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

There still would have been the Weather Channel.

Brian Silver November 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm

You’re joking, right? The Weather Channel gets it’s data from the National Weather Service and NOAA. Weather Channel parses and packages and sells weather data but doesn’t collect it.

Bill Foster November 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

I am fairly certain that Katrina weakened significantly and turned eastward just before landfall. Thus, it landed as a category three and did not strike NOLA directly.

Andreas Moser November 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Rick Santorum is dead.
The population in several states yesterday legalized gay marriage and drugs. The election was also won by the Democracts because Republicans scared away Latino voters with their anti-citizenship talk.
Rick Santorum is the last thing the Republicans need in 4 years. But I am not sure they realize that.

Keith November 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I agree: I can’t see the Republican Party embracing Rick Santorum as their candidate of choice in 2016. Too divisive. If the Republican Party wants to make a comeback, they need to move towards the middle.

I wonder to what extent a lot of these Voter ID laws had the opposite effect and emboldened voters to go the extra mile to meet these requirements.

patti abbott November 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

I am wondering most how Paul Ryan will come out of this. Some pundits say he is in a no-lose situation and primed for 2016. But I find it strange that the Romney Campaign pretty much put a lid on him, confining him to backwater rallies. Is he too scary for anyone but the far right. Is there something about him that, fully exposed, will sabotage his future. Certainly he was little help in WI.

And I would certainly like to see federal standards implemented for how polling in a national election takes place. A standardization of facilities, voting machines, hours open, etc. is a must. Let them do what they want in state elections, but not in a national one.

grandpa john November 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Personally, I think Ryan is done. Four years from now, his insane financial policies will be thoroughly debunked and he will be known for the out of touch with reality loon he really is.

patti abbott November 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Scratch polling, replace with voting.

Mike November 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Andrew, I disagree with you on a lot of your posts, but this one, I will give you a thumbs up!

babar November 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm

i seem to remember a post of yours (i think) a few years ago where you (or whoever composed it) pointed out that colorado was the median state EV-wise – if you ranked states in terms of their vote and drew a line at 270 EV, you’d get CO. well, exactly the same in 2012.

when you think of it this way, the election wasn’t close at all. Colorado went 51.2 Obama, 46.5 Romney => which is a 4.7% margin of victory. so if a shift were taken evenly across all the states it would have taken a shift of 4.7% for Romney to win.

zbicyclist November 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

“Those guys distorting the numbers in some back room in the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Because there seem to be a number of people who actually believe this was done, I don’t like to joke about it. I think the thought that we may be climbing out of the bottom probably did help Obama hold on.

Neal Humor November 8, 2012 at 3:24 am

Boo hoo.

counsellorben November 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Here’s my out-on-a-limb additions: Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, Joe Ricketts, Foster Friess, and all of the “dark money” corporate contributors.

grandpa john November 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

I would add Romney himself. His blatant in your face lying to voters especially in Ohio, his constant flip-flopping on positions where no one ever knew exactly where he stood on things. his refusal to outline a specific agenda of what he would be for. his insane budget proposals and medicare proposals.
The overall image he portrayed was that of a used car salesman hustling to close the deal, but appearing to be someone you wouldn’t trust with selling you a car, much less running your government. A man with no integrity and no guiding principles or morals except to win by any means legal or not.

grandpa john November 8, 2012 at 9:20 pm

the disgrace of this election is that 48% of voters were conned into voting for such an unqualified candidate

Joseph Hertzlinger November 11, 2012 at 1:05 am

We love you too.

Joseph Hertzlinger November 11, 2012 at 1:09 am

Andrew Sullivan and Tina Fey. They made it clear that any Republican candidate would be either ridiculed or insulted incessantly. Only a crackpot or a robot would put up with that. As a result, the candidates in the Republican primaries consisted of three crackpots and a robot. Eventually, the robot was nominated and was too boring to win.

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