Conventional political wisdom contends that elections are won in the middle. This election cycle, conventional wisdom has not done so well. It is extremely hard to predict what will happen in the general election this far out.
However, will swing voters do just that, swing this year’s presidential election?
Who are the swing voters? Well the benchmarks that are often used are the independents or soft party affiliates. Those who are moderate, and could go either way.
This group has been called the Reagan Democrat, the Clinton Republican, but for the most part, they are called independents. I think this is a real deceiving measure to gauge the electorate.
I will use myself as an example, but I will have you know that I do not consider myself the average voter.
I am a Registered Republican in the state of Iowa; I have to be if I want to vote in the Republican Caucus that takes place in Iowa every two years. However, I would not be a registered Republican if I could vote in my state caucus without doing so. I would consider myself independent. I am conservative in nature, sometimes a libertarian, but not a Republican.So if I was polled and they asked me if I considered myself an independent, I would say yes. I would not be lying, because the truth of the matter is I hold no nostalgia or sentimentality towards the Republican Party. I am conservative, and I hold that has my value set, but if I knew a conservative Democrat running against a more liberal Republican, then I would not vote for the latter.
I suspect many voters feel the same way, whether it is center left or center right, they would vote on issues or against an incumbent.According to Congressional Exit Polls in 2010, when ideology was gauged, 86% were conservative Republicans, and 14% conservative Democrats, which is an 18% change from 2008.
57% were moderate Democrats, while 43% were Republican, which means Democrats won that group by 14%. The change from 2008 was only 10%, but that year Democrats took the senate and expanded their hold over the house.For liberal, 92% were Democrats while 8% were Republican. This was a 6% change from 2008. Democrats gained some of the swing in this sub-group.
Now this was accumulated from Edison Research of Somerville, N.J. for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News, and comparing these year-to-year exit polls should factor in differences in how the questions were asked.
From the data here, we did not see a huge shift in any ideological group except conservative. What that should tell us is that the middle did not swing this election, unless the middle moved towards conservative or did not come out. I suspect it is a bit of both.
One way or another more people who came out in 2010 considered themselves conservative than in 2008. However, the swing was not enough to account for the huge win loss ratio between Democrats and Republicans.The only benchmarks that mattered were that of an extremely unpopular administration.
President Obama’s policies are not calculated when describing a swing voter; they are not conclusive in the political sense of swing voters.
This is why since the mid-terms in 2010; we have seen President Obama’s speeches touch on rhetoric that is more conservative. This is called Democratic pragmatism, and it has been used before by President Clinton.Arguments in favor of Obama winning the swing vote often do not take into account how popular his policies are. What would be a better judge would be the swing state, where Hispanic voters could swing the race.
In the case of the president, being pragmatic is a smart move. In the Republican Party, some would see it as attune to moral and intellectual bankruptcy or just downright political cowardice. That is just how it is, but will it harm their chances like some pundits contend it will.We can look at the recent contraception debate as just one judge.
According to a new Gallup Poll, 48% say they back religious leaders who oppose to extending coverage and 45% who say they back President Barack Obama's administration. Men (49%) are slightly more likely than woman (47%) to side with religious leaders. 83% of Republicans members’ side with religious leaders, while 76% of Democrats side with the president.
This election will come down to the swing states, and key sub-groups within those states. It is probable that if the economy is improving, then Obama will have a higher chance of being reelected, but if the economy starts to slip again, the president is likely to be on his last term.President Obama will attempt to do the same thing as they did in 2010, they will scream Republicans are extreme, but there is nothing in the data that says that will work. Having said that, it is a smart move for them to move to the center, because the majority of the country does not see opposing Obama’s radical agenda to force churches to pay for things against their moral code as extreme.