Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pat Buchanan's Worst Nightmare

As a political adviser to Richard Nixon, Pat Buchanan famously wrote that Republicans should attempt to divide the country in half in such a way that they would end up with the "larger half" [sic]. It's worth observing that attempts to re-create Nixon's strategy will no longer succeed.

If the national popular vote had split 50-50 instead of 51-49, uniformly across the country,
Obama would have only lost Ohio and Florida

At the moment, Obama is ahead of Romney in the national popular vote by about 2.2 percentage points. That total should rise slowly as the remaining ballots in California and Washington are counted. But it won't rise enough to change the basic shape of the national popular vote. Had the election been precisely even, only Florida (Obama +0.5%) and Ohio (Obama +1.9%) would have changed hands. Obama currently leads in the next closest state, Virginia, by just over 3 percentage points.

On the minus side, it appears somewhat difficult to expand the Democratic electoral coalition any further. After North Carolina (Romney +2.2%), the next-most competitive states were Georgia (R +8.1%), Missouri (+9.8%), Indiana (+10.7%), South Carolina (+11.4%), and Arizona (+11.8%). Demographic trends will probably push Georgia and Arizona into the Democratic column faster than the other states on that list.

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