Where are 2008 voters finding a home in 2012?

By Dave Andrusko

Pro-life Mitt Romney and Pro-abortion Barack Obama

We have two updates today on the political front, besides this post. One is about the first announced speakers for the Republican National Convention (“Many pro-life names among first announced speakers at Republican National Convention”), and the second about Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s reprehensible behavior (“Harry Reid’s latter-day McCarthyism”).

I try to offer material that goes beyond the latest polls, although I don’t ignore those. For example, the New York Times’s Nat Silver wrote on Saturday that (a) “Indeed, with the presidential election likely to be much closer than it was in 2008, Mr. Obama is unlikely to paint any new state blue this year”; and (b) “Mr. Obama is an underdog in two states that he won in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina.” FYI: the contest is very close in other states that Obama carried last time, including (to name just two) Virginia and Ohio.

We’ve posted many items on the Republicans’ lead in enthusiasm. This tends to get undervalued, and it shouldn’t.

Gallup touched on a  related dimension today under the headline “More 2008 Obama Voters Than McCain Voters Switching Sides

According to Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones, “Eighty-six percent of voters who say they voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are backing Obama again this year, a smaller proportion than the 92% of 2008 John McCain voters who are supporting 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Nine percent of 2008 Obama voters have switched to supporting Romney this year, while 5% of McCain voters have switched to Obama.” The race is still neck and neck, Jones explained, “because Obama’s margin in 2008 was large enough that he could still be tied or in the lead this year [among registered voters] if his support is a few percentage points lower.”

This is separate from but related to enthusiasm/turnout. Republicans also have a higher level of enthusiasm (they enjoyed a 12 point advantage over Democrats, according to Gallup, two weeks ago), and several key demographic groups that supported Obama in 2008 give every appearance of showing up in lesser numbers in 2012. 

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