Did the multi-billion dollar Presidential campaigns even matter?

Even I recognize that Dick Morris is a partisan blowhard … and, that his election prediction – a Romney landslide — was off the wall.

Still, he sometimes provides some interesting perspective.

He’s now saying: The Campaign Made No Difference

He asserts that:

The months and months of campaigning, the hundreds of millions of TV advertising, the incessant travel schedules of the candidates, and the vigorous efforts of both sides to get their vote out made little or no difference in the outcome of the Election of 2012.

[All that really mattered were events and demographics].

Only two states — North Carolina and Indiana — changed sides.

The change in Obama’s vote share from ’08 to ’12 was pretty much the same whether it was in a swing state or not. The obsessive campaigning in swing states did not seem to have much effect.

Well over 80 percent of the television advertising at the presidential level was directed at key swing states. The candidates visited them over and over, cycling back around every few days. Obama and Romney rarely set foot outside these swing states.

And it didn’t work.

In the swing states, all of which Obama carried in 2008, his vote share dropped by 2.1 percent from ’08 to ’12. In the twenty-one other non-swing states Obama carried — where neither candidate did much campaigning — his vote share drop was almost the same: 2.4 percent.

Among states McCain carried in 2008 (plus Indiana), the drop in Obama’s vote share was more significant: 3.2 percent.

Nor would it have made a difference if Obama’s vote share fell in the swing states by the same 2.4 percent that it fell in the non-swing states that went for Obama (as opposed to the 2.1 percent decline that in fact happened in the swing states). The 0.3 percent change would not have moved a single state to Romney from Obama.

It is astonishing that the almost one billion dollars spent advertising in eight states did very little to move the vote share.

So if ads and candidate campaigning did not move the dial, what did?

Even the vaunted ground games of the two parties didn’t do much.

Voter turnout was eleven million lower than in 2008 — reversing the upward trends of the past four elections — and Obama’s vote share change from ’08 to ’12 was about the same in states where vigorous get out the vote campaigns raged and in those where they did not.

[Two things drove the election: events and demographics.]

Events — the debates, the conventions, the storm coverage, Benghazi, the state of the economy, jobs data — mattered.

And, demographic voting is the new norm in America. You vote based on who you are, not where you live or how well each campaign has articulated its case. 93% of blacks, 70% of Latinos, 60% of those under 30, and 62% of single people, voted for Obama. And white married couples over 30 years of age voted for Romney. Not much else matters.

Our votes are predictable based on our race, ethnicity, age, and marital status well before anybody does any campaigning.


If Morris is right, maybe all candidates should be required to accept Federal campaign funds, and be restricted to them.

Still wouldn’t have an effect on outcomes … and would save a ton of money.

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