Charlie Cook: Hard Election For Obama to Win

One of the political experts I pay close attention to is Charlie Cook.  His personal politics lean Democrat, but when it comes to predicting elections and reading political tea leaves, he has one of the best records among political mavens.  I therefore assume that alarm bells were going off all over the Obama campaign when they read Cook’s column today in The National Journal:

We are past the point where Obama can win a referendum election, regardless of whether it is on him or the economy. The success of his campaign is contingent upon two things. First, when focusing on the narrow sliver of undecided voters, between 6 and 8 percent of the electorate, the Obama team must make its candidate the lesser of two evils. It has to make the prospect of a Mitt Romney presidency so unpalatable that about half of those undecided voters will begrudgingly vote for reelection. Polling focusing on the undecided voters reveals they are a deeply pessimistic and angry segment of the electorate and don’t particularly like either candidate (fitting, because they don’t tend to like politicians). But they show signs of being more conservative than not. One unpublished analysis gives Republicans a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot test among those undecided about the presidential race. Close analysis of the numbers shows that Obama might have an edge with between a third and a quarter of the currently undecided bloc. That’s cutting things awfully close.

The second key is turnout. African-Americans look solid for Obama and very likely to vote in high numbers, but young and Latino voters’ turnout appears problematic. Obama’s recent announcement of a newly articulated Dream Act-light policy could help, but it is too soon to see any data showing measurable change. It is what many Latino voters wanted to see, though Obama did it less than five months before the election when it could have been done three years ago. After deportations had reached levels higher than those under George W. Bush, it could take a lot to drive up Latino turnout.

This election is hardly over: The totally unexpected could happen that changes everything. Unless the Obama team can discredit Romney, though, convincing voters that he is a ruthless, uncaring corporate buccaneer, this will be a hard election to win.

Go here to read the rest.  Campaigns engage in endless spin during an election race and what they say about their opponents and themselves should always be taken with a boulder of salt.  However, when the professionals on the sidelines begin to state that one candidate is beginning to take on water, big donors and other politicians pay attention very quickly.  June has been a very bad month for Team Obama.



Share With Friends
  • 3

Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Lord Jesus Christ, may Obama be utterly defeated on November 6th and may Romney prove that he has the right to govern. Amen!

    I cannot begin to express my hope for an Obama defeat.

  2. It will be a blowout, crushing loss for Obama. It won’t be a 1984-style route, but very much akin to 1980.

  3. I just hope & pray that Obama gets defeated because it’s scary to think what will happen to this country if he continues to be our president.

  4. If I were the Devil, I would vote for Obama. If Obama won my work would be done. I would retire to Pandemonium.

    Hope, pray and work for the the good. Prepare for the worst: Obama gets four more years to finish us off.

  5. Seems it is hard for him to win by convincing people he is the best and piling up more votes than Romney.
    What else can he try? October surprise? The month of June, already replete with bowing and scraping before his various constituencies, is nearly over. But I think more gays and Hispanics are becoming increasingly skeptical.

    Of course he has not really tried an appeal to the older voters yet.

  6. As long as Obama has the MSM on his side, he’s in the driver’s seat. His anti-rich, anti-white, anti-religious message is gaining traction in secular America and in the weeks leading up to the election all we will hear will be how he killed Osama, “created millions of jobs,” and how dangerous it will be to “turn back the clock” and hand the reins to a rich, greedy politician who exported jobs overseas and is “out of touch.” Somewhere along the way there will be a few Romney “gotcha” moments and the MSM will pounce. Obama will squeeze out a close win.

  7. Baloney Joe, utter baloney. You exaggerate the power of the fading Mainstream Media to god-like proportions and you forget the first rule in American presidential politics: It is always about the economy unless an issue of the magnitude of the Civil War or World War II dominates. No amount of media malarkey can put a smiley face on this pig of an economy for the majority of the voters. Romney with 295-310 electoral votes, with an outside chance of going as high as 347.

  8. It is good to see that Mr. Green has gone from “Obama blowout” to “Obama close squeeze.”

    Good trend – let’s keep it up.

  9. Only chance Romney has is a big white guy turnout. Obama has the queers, Jews, Latinos, women and blacks solidly locked up. Older white conservatives are an ever-shrinking voting bloc. It’s simple math.

  10. Don, perhaps you’d like to place a small wager. Like a year’s subscription to our favorite magazine. Your call.

  11. “Obama has the queers, Jews, Latinos, women and blacks solidly locked up.”

    Identity politics, the last refuge of a politician who presides over a lousy economy. Obama got elected in 2008 because the economy was in meltdown and the voters blamed the GOP. He will lose this year because the economy is still wretched and he is the guy in charge.

  12. I might not worry so much about some of the demographics you mentioned, Joe. Jews are 2.1% of population, and only 64% support Obama, 10% less than last time around. Less than 2% of Americans self identify as homosexual, so they’re not a great demographic to rely on, and the GOP still managed to get a fifth of them in the midterm. While there is a gender gap, MARRIED women tend to be a pretty Republican demographic. Think about it; if women were really a solid liberal block, that means that the half of the country with more registered voters is solidly liberal, and therefore there shouldn’t be a single Republican in any office anywhere – but there is.
    Conservative white people might not sound cool, but conservative is America’s largest ideological group, and white the largest race.

  13. It is my unhumble opinion that Obama got elected because the people fear the retribution of God for abortion, for the removal of Jesus Christ and FREEDOM of religion from the public square. Obama’s arrogance posed as a strength, a shield as it were, from the vengeance God will take upon the guilty. Obama, as chief executive, will indeed bear the brunt of God’s vengeance, for Obama has not humbled himself before God or the TRUTH. MSM and Obama’s cohorts will be there right next to him when the hand of God strikes, sooner than later, praise the LORD.

  14. Its a sad commentary on the state of US politics and its demographic shadow, that a man with absolutely no ability except mouthing platitudes continues to be a credible incumbent. The truth may be unpalatable but it has to be faced: the US of old is not going come back unless the whites take stock and vote according to their interests both present and historical.

  15. I am not clear on what you said here in your first sentence Mary. I do think the people are beginning to have a little more fear of the Lord. And we have to keep remembering that His is the most powerful constituency! Yes praise the Lord
    (and pass the ammunition?) joke joke… I don’t mean to foment anything…

    You speak of God’s retribution Mary … I am wondering about the quickness of God’s smackdown after the building of the druid pagan house of worship at the Air Force Academy in Colorado

  16. Anzlyne: “I am not clear on what you said here in your first sentence Mary. ” The people who voted for Obama tried to hide behind him from the vengeance of God. Obama is a hot air filled shirt with absolutely no power to rule over the nation without the sovereign authority of God. Yes, Anzlyne, It may become “praise the Lord and pass the ammunitiion” and it is no “joke, joke”. After writing 923 Executive Orders imposing martial law upon the citizenry, Obama let the military tanks roll into the streets of a quiet town to impress every voter of his power.

  17. yes I get it “Obama’s arrogance posed as a strength, a shield” You are prob right– and people don’t see past the pose. Yet.

    He does have lots of feisty people trying to help him with this election.
    I wish the woman named Julia Sweeney who is a “cultural Catholic” on TV ads would get a little fear of the Lord, she could do a lot of good if she was on the side of Good.

    Maybe the armored vehicles in the streets in Missouri will make the light dawn for people- if they can admit they need to change their minds. I wish some cultural leaders would publicly do that.

  18. The objective factors of 2012 indicate a crushing loss for Obama:

    1. The economy is in lousy shape and getting worse.
    2. Obama has not governed remotely as he ran.
    3. The Democrats got crushed in 2010 – that wasn’t just a little, mid-term loss there boys and girls: it was a defeat of epic proportions. 7 Senate seats, 63 House seats, innumerable State legislative seats. Has anything happened since that drubbing to make people go, “hey, those darn Democrats are just great!”?
    4. Over the past couple years upwards of a million people took the time to switch their voter registration from Democrat to Independent or Republican. The number of registered GOPers in the US has grown (slightly) while the number of registered Democrats has dropped (like a rock in some places).
    5. Polling has been showing an increasing gap between the number of GOPers polled and the number who show up to vote: the Wisconsin recall and Indiana Primary are prime examples of this. Lugar was supposed to lose by a couple points: he lost by 21. A major surge in grassroots, conservative voters is showing up.
    6. A bunch of senior, elected Democrats are skipping the Convention. They don’t want to be seen in the same region of the country with Obama – not even in the same region he’ll be in the next day or two.
    7. While Obama continues to pull in huge bucks, he’s not pulling in nearly as much as expected, he’s burning through it faster than he’s taking it in and, at the minimum, the GOP which we thought would be outspent two to one will match the Democrats in 2012.
    8. Political rumor-mongering has it that Democrats are already engaged in Congressional “triage” where they are deciding which incumbents are already lost and thus where to spend money to save seats. In other words they are playing Congressional defense – just trying to hold on to as many House and Senate seats as they can rather than trying to take any away from the GOP.
    9. The Democrats are already in a “thread the needle” campaign mode…looking at the electoral map to see where they can dig up 270 electoral votes. Romney is expanding the field to traditionally Democrat States such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.
    10. It is the end of June and Obama is still in massive pander mode to his core supporters – he’s desperately trying to lock down single women, Latinos, homosexuals and urban professionals.

    The bottom line is that the Obama campaign strategy now is to try to so divide Americans in to mutually hating camps that he can eke out a narrow win as Independents stay home in disgust and the traditionally larger number of core Democrats slightly outweigh the core GOPers on November 6th. This is the campaign of a man who is facing crushing defeat, knows it, and is just working desperately to salvage his political career. It won’t work – even if Obama does manage to disgust everyone with politics, my view is that there are more GOPers these days than Democrats…so a fight between the bases, as it were, still has Romney winning.

    Yes, it is still a long way before November 6th. Yes, all of us committed to defeating Obama must work like heck to get it done. Yes, anything can happen. But the reality of 2012 is that it is a hideous year for Democrats – if they win, it will be by the narrowest of margins, because we dropped the ball and because they lucked out amazingly.

Comments are closed.