Judging from responses and chatter on social media and television analysis, a plethora of Republicans are still in shock following President Barack Obama's convincing re-election victory. And considering the high hopes that they had for a Mitt Romney upset, who can blame them?
Naturally, in the wake of the 2012 election's conclusion, many are wondering what led to the stark defeat that will grant Obama another four years to refine his agenda. Today, CNN published a thought-provoking list of potential reasons why Romney lost the election. Let's do a little Monday morning quarterbacking shall we?
US President Barack Obama celebrates with First Lady Michelle Obama on stage on election night in Chicago on November 6, 2012. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
While some may dismiss these notions, each may have had, to some degree, an impact on the electoral turnout and subsequent results:
1. Romney Lost Out Big Among Youth People
Younger voters and minorities came to the polls at levels not far off from the historic coalition Obama assembled in 2008. The reality caught off-guard Republicans who banked on a more monolithic voting body sending them to the White House — and who had based their polling on that assumption.
The outcome revealed a stark problem for Republicans: If they don’t broaden their tent, they won’t move forward.
As for the youth vote (individuals 18 to 29), the cohort represented 19 percent of all those who voted. And according to one exit poll, while Obama captured 60 percent of this group, Romney purportedly only took 36 percent.
2. Romney Failed to Court Minorities
Much like the youth vote, minorities overwhelmingly chose Obama at the polls. And considering that they came out en force, just as they did in 2008, many projections were wrong. Consider politico Dick Morris, who incorrectly predicted that Romney would win in a landslide.
Morris' explanation surrounding why his proclamations were wrong helps to explain why the GOP candidate (considering the party's inability to, thus far, appeal to minorities) lost the 2012 election:
The key reason for my bum prediction is that I mistakenly believed that the 2008 surge in black, Latino, and young voter turnout would recede in 2012 to “normal” levels. Didn’t happen. These high levels of minority and young voter participation are here to stay. And, with them, a permanent reshaping of our nation’s politics.
In 2012, 13% of the vote was cast by blacks. In 04, it was 11%. This year, 10% was Latino. In ’04 it was 8%. This time, 19% was cast by voters under 30 years of age. In ’04 it was 17%. Taken together, these results swelled the ranks of Obama’s three-tiered base by five to six points, accounting fully for his victory.
I derided the media polls for their assumption of what did, in fact happen: That blacks, Latinos, and young people would show up in the same numbers as they had in 2008. I was wrong. They did.
So, there you have it. The minority vote came out strong for Obama again in 2012.
3. Hurricane Sandy Interrupted Romney's Trajectory
While some have dismissed claims that Hurricane Sandy did, indeed, bring with it unintended political fallout, Romney appeared to be on a positive trajectory before the storm hit. Considering the media's understandable focus on Sandy and its aftermath, there was naturally less time to explore electoral prospects.
And with Obama responding, at least in appearances and statements in a presidential capacity, there was little Romney could do to attain relevant media attention (some may even blame New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for his vocal support of the president, which certainly didn't help).
"After being criticized in the media for focusing on 'small things' like Big Bird and 'Romnesia,' Sandy offered Obama a chance to once again look presidential," CNN writes.
4. "Squishy" Positions? Some Conservatives Blame the Candidate
It didn't take long for some conservatives to begin pointing the finger at Romney, claiming that his "squishy" positions on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage may have negatively impacted him. After all, Romney essentially "evolved" on the abortion issue, at one point taking a more pro-choice view, later -- before running for president -- transitioning to a pro-life framework.
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann wave after Romney conceded defeat to President Barack Obama on November 7, 2012 in Boston. Obama swept to re-election, forging history again by transcending a slow economic recovery and the high unemployment which haunted his first term to beat Republican Mitt Romney. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
But people are entitled to changing their minds on controversial issues, no? While the aforementioned claims may not be the problem, it's quite possible that Romney didn't hammer home his social conservatism hard enough among members of his base.
"What was presented as discipline by the Romney campaign by staying on one message, the economy, was a strategic error that resulted in a winning margin of pro-life votes being left on the table," Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List, told CNN.
5. Obama's Strong Ground Game
Last month, TheBlaze highlighted four signs that Obama might win the 2012 presidential election. Among the information presented, we highlighted the president's stellar efforts on the ground in key states. As we reported on October 19:
Polls illustrate only a portion of the story. What happens on the ground in politics is also telling. And with weeks remaining in the election cycle, every second counts. From registering voters to educating the electorate about what’s to come, both campaigns have both opportunities — and plenty of room for error — along the way.
While the race is far from over and groundwork is only a piece of the overall battle, in a POLITICO report last week, Obama campaign field director Jeremy Bird said that grassroots outreach is more-than-healthy. In fact, he claims that the numbers and the outreach are better than they were in 2008, a potentially-troubling sign, if true, for the Romney camp.
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 06: U.S. President Barack Obama stands on stage with first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden after his victory speech on election night at McCormick Place November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama won reelection against Republican candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Credit: Getty Images
In Ohio, Virginia and Florida, Obama had, by far, more field offices than did Romney -- just one sign of structural issues (or, at least, a weaker ground game) for the GOP candidate. Today, CNN framed the discussion with the following information: "Democrats showed decisively that their ground game -- the combined effort to find, persuade and turn out voters -- is devastatingly better than anything their rivals have to offer."
6. Was Paul Ryan the Wrong Choice for Vice-President?
It's no secret that some have wondered whether Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was the wrong choice for vice-president. While many conservatives admire his technical mind and his ability (and willingness) to confront complex issues like Medicare, some critics have wondered whether choosing someone from a more contested battleground state would have been a better option.
Read the complete analysis over at CNN.com.