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Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in 2012 Elections, Politics | 6 comments

Quote of the Day 2: Barack Obama’s Two Election Day Nightmares

Our second political Quote of the Day comes from the mega-professional, exquisitely sourced New York Magazine writer and “Game Change” co-author John Heilemann, who details Barack Obama’s two election day nightmares:

Given the relentless negativity of the campaign we have witnessed from both sides, my guess is that, if Obama does win today, things will be just as ugly, if not uglier, than they’ve been for the past four years. And that will certainly be the case if one of the potential Armageddon scenarios I laid out recently in the magazine comes to pass: an Obama victory in the Electoral College but a win by Mitt Romney in the popular vote.

Please do not dismiss the possibility, because for all the confidence that Team Obama has right now about getting to 270, they are palpably nervous that Romney might still emerge with a higher national raw vote total than their guy does. This is not just a matter of the tightness of all the credible national polls; it goes to the difference between now and 2008 in the non-battleground states. As Plouffe pointed out to me yesterday, Obama’s popular-vote margin last time was inflated by the organic enthusiasm for him in deep-blue states where the campaign spent no money on advertising or organizing. This time, however, that enthusiasm does not exist to anything like the same degree, and so Obama’s margins in places like New York and California will be pushed down — even as the organic anti-Obama fervor in deep-red states will be greater than it was in 2008, depressing his popular-vote performance even more.

If the EV/PV split does occur, Obama’s people fret that it will be terrible for the country and will make it much harder for the president to govern effectively. And this fear seems to me well-founded: In light of the rejectionist tendency regarding Obama’s legitimacy that already exists on the right — together with its lunatic voter fraud paranoia — it is hard to imagine the fever-swamp hatred of him not being exacerbated by such an outcome.


There is, to be sure, an even more nightmarish possibility from the Democratic point of view: Despite all the polling and other evidence that suggests he is on track to win, Obama could simply lose outright. Beyond the political and policy implications for the country, how bitter this pill would be for Obama is impossible to overstate. More than he almost ever lets on, the president wears the mantle of history heavily on his shoulders. And he knows that, if he is defeated, a narrative will arise that recasts him in the minds of many from a seminal figure to a pedestrian one, and that renders his presidency a failed, one-term accident.

When this day ends, will one of Obama’s nightmares come true?

Will the second come true and Nate Silver be applying for a job at Wal-Mart?

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • Carl

    Well, he may be losing Illinois. How many electoral votes is that?


  • slamfu

    As shown by Bush II, losing the popular vote but winning the electoral vote means you still win, and don’t need to let it slow you down in pushing your agenda. Even if it involves tanking the economy, blowing the deficit, and starting a war for no reason other than you thought it was a good idea at the time.

  • rudi

    Nate Silver and Sam Wang use statistical model to predict the PROBABILTY of the outcome. NS math voodoo is kept secret. Sam Wang allows ANYONE to view his data and code. Maybe Brooks and Scarborough aren’t even qualified to work at WallyWorld, they’re just BS pundits.

    Silver’s evaluations of pollster reliability are quantitative parameters. However, there isn’t full transparency about how he arrives at them and what he does with them. This leaves him open to attack.

    Partly because of this risk, I have stayed with simpler rules such as

    Accept all polls for analysis (with a preference for likely voters).
    Use median-based statistics to prevent outliers from taking over the show (“A nonpartisan statistical approach to Rasmussen data,” Aug. 6).

    Combined with a probabilistic calculation, these rules guided our Meta-Analysis to the exact EV outcome in 2004. It missed by only 1 EV in 2008. Such simple methods are easy to make transparent. You (or Jay Cost, I guess) could download my code in an instant.

    When has these two pundits been EXACT or one off (364 to 365) in any of their predictions. But then in todays enviroment, science is for limp wrist Democrats.

  • rudi

    Nate Silver also applied his statistical approach to baseball as a proponent of Sabermetrics. Sabermetrics is revolutionizing baseball today. My only beef is the slight of MC’s Triple Crown to Trout.

  • ShannonLeee

    A win is a win and Reps are not going to be more cooperative because Obama won both the EC and PV…the idea is almost laughable. They have tried to delegitimize the President for 4 years…do you really think winning the PV will make things better?


    as for losing…he might, but it wont make him any less of a President. He came into office during one of the worst times in recent history. He has done a good job and should be proud of his record, especially against a Rep party that was more interested in destroying Obama than helping the country.

  • sheknows

    AMEN Shannon!!
    I find it unbelievable that Romney could even come close to winning a popular vote. The people love him??? What people…the 47% of the nation he insults? or the 53% that have watched him flip-flop and lie? Yeah, he’s a man for the people alright.

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