Fabio Rojas has this visual to share comparing voting intents for Obama between 2008 and 2012:
Rojas argues that Obama could well lose the popular vote but it would be mostly because of the South, concluding:
“You’ll hear all kinds of post-hoc explanations of the election outcome in November. But they’re probably wrong unless they start with the fact that the South really, really, really hates Obama more than the rest of the country for some inexplicable reason.”
That is a bit snide, though, no? Yes, this would fit the rise in prejudiced thinking that I was blogging about this morning but I still have questions though that this visual does not answer.
1. Yes, obviously, the change between 2008 and 2012 is clear. However, was 2008 unusual and could 2012 not be a return to “normal” for the South? After all, Democratic presidential candidates have had issues with southern votes ever since the late 60s. In that case, it would not be so much that the South really, really, really, dislikes Obama in 2012 but that they disliked the Democratic candidate less than usual in 2008.
2. Is it fair to jump to the conclusion that Rojas jumps to right away? Might any other factor be involved beyond race?
3. How to explain the not-as-dramatic but still significant drop in the East? (Which goes back to my possible “the South was unusual in 2008” above)
4. From what voter demographic comes the drop? Is it all white? If the 2008 turnout for African Americans was higher than usual, is there some African Americans drop in voting intention? In which case, it might be less a case of hate than disillusion.
Personally, I like my #1 best. I remember, a few years back, witnessing a lot of discussion from the Democratic side of the spectrum arguing in favor of whistling past Dixie precisely because the South seemed like an impossible nut to crack, but the 2008 election was unusual. Having the graph limited to 2 date points does not clarify that.