Posts Tagged ‘2012 elections’

What mattered in the 2012 election cycle

November 27, 2012


It’s been almost 3 weeks since the general election of 2012 finally, painfully, blessedly, wrapped up.

For some reason, we as Republicans seem loathe to do the type of introspection that is healthy after a loss. Perhaps it’s because there’s a fine-line between learning from your experiences and placing blame when things don’t go as planned or desired. Learning = good. Blaming = not good.

With that, here are 5 things I think really mattered (besides money and incumbency – those always matter).

1. Data matters. Holy cow, does it matter. The Obama campaign told us what they were going to do. There are scads of articles over the last couple of years talking about how data was driving the 2012 election. Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, took the Obama campaign into new territory (again), where his plethora of data geeks hung out in “The Cave” and analyzed input day in and day out for months. Data is not enough, however. It has to be used! The Obama campaign knew this. So did Jim Matheson. He dug deeply into data – and I mean deeply. His entire campaign was data-driven AND he translated that data into a plan. He worked the plan. He tested and tweaked the plan and worked some more. Other Utah candidates used data to drive winning campaigns as well, perhaps most notably Ben McAdams and Orrin Hatch.

2. GOTV matters. Get-out-the-vote strategies in close elections can make the difference between waking up as a president-elect, or a footnote on Wikipedia. (I know. Ouch.) GOTV sounds SO basic – and it is – yet Democrats beat us at this game over and over and over when it matters most. (Let’s be honest – if you’re down 30 or 40 points, it’s not going to get you a win.) In Utah, I think the Democrats have us beaten on GOTV. I know, I know, Republicans have super-majorities in the House and Senate, have the Governor’s mansion, and have almost all of the federal delegation. BUT – most of those races are decided by convention and almost all are decided by the June primary at the latest. When it really counts, we don’t do GOTV all that well. Largely, we don’t need to know how – so we ignore it or we hope we can figure it out on the fly. Plus, it’s not a “sexy” campaign position, so there aren’t many people scrambling to do the job…….

3. Social media and an online presence matter. Obama won younger voters, plain and simple – and they’re online. You can get some good insight into the level of engagement any given campaign has by looking at their online presence. It’s not a perfect predictor of outcome but a candidate that “gets it” is much more likely to win when matched against a relatively equal opponent who doesn’t get it. Here’s a nugget – the Obama campaign outspent Romney online by a margin of 10 to 1 – and they used data to drive those spending decisions. Messina predicts that future campaigns will be a combination of online work plus old-fashioned GOTV efforts. He says the TV markets have reached (probably passed) their peak effectiveness. Times, they are a’changing, and just like 2008, the Democrats are catching the wave of the future while Republicans are wondering what hit them.

4. Likeability matters. We may not like that likeability matters. We may grumble and complain because it seems so shallow and contrived – but it matters. Who “connects” better? Who would you rather hang out with? A lot of times, that’s who you vote for. It’s all an illusion, of course – only the tiniest fraction of people actually KNOW presidential candidates. A slightly larger percentage know Congressional candidates but the bottom line is, how likeable a candidate appears to be is a determining factor for many voters. Obama had it in spades. Matheson ran “You know me” ads and worked to portray his opponent as someone NOT likeable – because it matters.

5. Messaging matters. “Legitimate rape,” anyone? The limited-government, pro-family, pro-freedom platform of the Republican party is a good one. It carries broad appeal, but we lose the messaging war time after time after time. We seem to forget that all politics is personal. Every voter wants to know why it should matter to THEM. From top to bottom, politics is personal. Why should I care? How does this affect me? How does this affect my family? My friend John English put it well: “The GOP needs to resist the urge of demographic pandering but more importantly, they need to stamp out the appearance of demographic dismissal. Saying “Oh, single women voted 67% for Obama? Eh, they just want big government as their sugar daddy” will do nothing to leave the door open to sway single women in the future.”

We can – and we must – learn the lessons of the 2012 election cycle or be prepared to keep losing races we “should” win.

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A post-election conversation

November 14, 2012

The day after the election, I joined host Doug Fabrizio, Kirk Jowers, Quin Monson, Robert Gehrke and Jim Dabakis for an hour-long discussion of the 2012 elections.

Listen in here, then let me know what you think.

The Day After

November 7, 2012

To say last night was disappointing would truly be an understatement. Romney lost, Mia Love lost. Dang it. There were lots of other bummers and some nice bright spots….but that’s another post.

It’s also been disappointing and a bummer to see what has happened today: Gloating and some amazing armchair quarter-backing, both locally and nationally. Truly unbecoming.

Mia did a great job, as did Governor Mitt Romney. Props to Matheson and Obama on their wins. I mean that. They really did a great job selling their message and getting their supporters to the polls. But also props to Mitt and Mia for running good races and for leaving it all on the field. Many candidates really don’t give it their all. These two did and I’m very proud of both of them.

Here are some more great things today:

*The weather is amazing! I can’t ever remember this lovely of an early November.

*A good snowstorm is headed our way. That is also lovely in November (not so much in March….)

*We have the greatest country on earth! God bless our republic!

*I have had good friends from “across the aisle” reach out to me today. Big shout-out especially to Maryann Martindale and Jason Williams, but there are others as well. So much nicer than gloating and I very much appreciate it.

*It’s “just” politics. Yes, it’s important and yes, it’s intense, but it’s still just politics.

*Our family has had an amazing opportunity to be deeply immersed in the political process. It’s been a bonding experience for us. No, really. It has. I am very proud of my kiddos and my husband. They joined me in doing what we could to leave it all on the field for candidates and causes we believed in. I have teenage political activists in the making and I couldn’t be more pleased.

*Viva the First Amendment! As a blogger with strong opinions, I have no worries about disappearing during the night and ending up in pieces under a bridge somewhere. This is a very good thing.

*Keeping it in perspective, I didn’t just have to bury my child, like my good friends did on Saturday. Believe me, that is so much worse than losing an election.

*Thanksgiving is two weeks and a day from tomorrow. Christmas is one month after that. Lots of time to focus on home and family over the next 6 weeks. I’m looking forward to it.

Keep it classy, friends, and keep it real. Life goes on.

Romney: We’re doing this for something bigger than ourselves

November 6, 2012

The contrasts could not be clearer.

We need a strong America

November 6, 2012

Matheson tries to mislead voters again.

November 5, 2012

In a last-ditch, desperate attempt to cling to power, Congressman Jim Matheson sent one final mailer. Did it include his plan for the future? A list of the issues Utah could count on him to champion? Even a tally of everything he got accomplished during the last 12 years? Of course not!

He tried once again to tie himself to Romney’s coattails, claiming he was the best fit for a Romney presidency. The expert source he quotes to affirm that stance? His own campaign website. *Eyeroll*

In case you missed it, the Republican presidential nominee has not only endorsed Matheson’s opponent, Mia Love, but has even cut a direct-to-camera ad for her telling Utahns SHE is the one he trusts.

Apparently he’s counting on voters who #1, don’t watch TV, #2, don’t listen to the radio, #3, don’t read the newspapers and #4, don’t turn to the Internet for a little fact-checking. Good luck with that.

Every single poll but his own shows him losing. EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.

Is it any wonder he’s worked so hard to distance himself from Obama and his 20-something-percent approval rating in Utah? (But just for the record: he IS voting for Obama tomorrow. He will NOT be voting for himself. He doesn’t live in the 4th Congressional district.)

Mitt Romney: Vote for love of country. Obama: Vote for revenge

November 3, 2012

Clear differences. Vote for the grown-up on Tuesday. Vote Mitt Romney.

ICYMI: 4 yo in tears over Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney

November 2, 2012

Now really – who DOESN’T feel this way?! (At least a little!)

Biden: Never been a day I’ve been proud to be his vice-president

November 2, 2012

Not a single one…..

Joe Biden – the gift that keeps on giving…..

Yep. Matheson is toast.

November 1, 2012

The Salt Lake Tribune just released the poll Robert Gehrke has been teasing all evening. It’s a 12-point lead for Love with 52% to Matheson’s 40%. Undecideds only make up 6% of the vote.

Done by independent firm, Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, the poll found that “the coalition of Democrats, independents, moderate Republicans and women that Matheson has united in past elections is failing to coalesce this time around, with just 9 percent of Republicans crossing over to support him.”

Not only has Matheson relied on GOP cross-over votes, he has also relied heavily on the female vote. Look at his ads (before he went blisteringly negative) – “here’s my Mom,” “oh, look, we can our own food,” and so on. However, the Mason-Dixon poll shows that “Matheson is trailing badly among women, who favor Love — Matheson’s first female challenger — by a 54 percent to 38 percent margin, according to the Tribune poll. Matheson has routinely won by double digits among women voters.”

Matheson says it’s a call to action for his team (to polish their resumes), while Love says she feels encouraged by the momentum. Both campaigns will be on the ground working for the last 4 days, but a 12-point gap is awfully hard to close in less than 100 hours……..(understatement)


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