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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies www.american.edu/ccps From Campaigning to Governing: Political Power and the 2012 Campaign James A. Thurber.

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Presentation on theme: "Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies www.american.edu/ccps From Campaigning to Governing: Political Power and the 2012 Campaign James A. Thurber."— Presentation transcript:

1 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies From Campaigning to Governing: Political Power and the 2012 Campaign James A. Thurber Director and Professor Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies American University

2 From Promises to Performance Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies 47.9% to 47.4%

3 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Voters and Campaign Strategy The Voters –38% Independent,34% D. 27% R. –39% H/S Turnout (18.8% primaries) –Tea Party Groups, Independents, Retirees. Latinos –55% Presidential Turnout: 62% 2008 (early voting)

4 Most important issues to voters Source: NBC News / Wall Street Journal Poll, Sept Issue% The economy46 Social issues and values15 Social Security and Medicare12 Health care10 The federal deficit7 Foreign policy and the Middle East6 Terrorism1

5 Role of Latino Voters Source: US Census; Updated 09/15/12.

6 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Campaign Finance and Strategy –6% Party, 38% PAC, & 56% Individual Campaign Funds –Obama ($745 m. 2008) –2012: (Obama $1b.+) (Romney $1b.+) –Total: $4 b. in 2010/$6 b. in 2012? –Citizens United vs. FEC/Super PAC Spending –Ground Wars (Micro Targeting-Base, Independents, Latinos, Retirees) –Use of New Social Media –Air Wars and increased Spending

7 Campaign Advertising Spending by State (millions)(10/27/12) Source: Washington Post. Updated 10/27/12.

8 Visits to Swing States (Sept 7 – Oct 25) 8 states on 11/5/12 Source: FairVote.org; Updated 10/27/12.

9 2008 Election Results Source: Real Clear Politics

10 2012 Electoral College Map 1/27/12 Source: University of Virginia Center for Politics. Updated 10/27/12.

11 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies 237 EV for Democrats 206 EV for Republicans 95 Toss Up EV: Colorado (9) Iowa (6) Nevada (6) New Hampshire (4) Wisconsin (10) Ohio (18) Florida (29) Virginia (13) 2012 Electoral Vote Scorecard (270 Needed to Win)(538-NYTimes) Source: New York Times; Updated 10/27/12.

12 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Electoral Vote Scorecard (270 Needed to Win)(10/27 to 11/5) Source: Real Clear Politics; Updated 10/27/12. StateReal Clear Politics Polling Average Colorado Obama Tie +1.5 IowaObama NevadaObama New HampshireObama WisconsinObama OhioObama FloridaRomney VirginiaRomney MichiganObama Pennsylvania North Carolina Obama Romney

13 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies 307 EV for Democrats 231 EV for Republicans 2012 Electoral Vote Scorecard (270 Needed to Win)(538-NYTimes) Without toss-ups as of November 5, 2012 Source: New York Times; Updated 10/27/12.

14 Senate Elections to 54-46? RaceReal Clear Politics Polling Average Indiana (R to D)Mourdock (R) +5 Maine (R to (I) D)King (I) Massachusetts (R to D)Warren (D) +5.7 NevadaHeller (R) +4.4 WisconsinBaldwin (D) +0.8 VirginiaKaine (D) +2.0 North DakotaBerg (R) +3.0 Montana (D to R?)Rehberg (R) +0.3 Tester (D) +1.1 Connecticut (I to D)Murphy (D) +3.1 HawaiiHirono (D) +16 Source: Real Clear Politics; Updated 10/27/12.

15 House Elections 2012 House: Redistricting to Safe! Democrats need to win back swing CDs Democrats need more “Blue Dogs” (59 to 26 in 2010 to 10? in 2012) Last Four Elections Competitive Seats: 29, 65, 69, 85, (33 to 81 in 2012?) 178 (D) 33 (Toss Ups) 224 (R) StatusNew York TimesReal Clear PoliticsCook Political Report Democratic Lean Toss up2426 Republican Lean3215

16 Lame Duck-Fiscal Cliff-2013 Recession/Unemployment Sequestration ($1.2 billion) (50% Defense- 50% Domestic)(No Entitlements)/Budget/Debt Ceiling/CR? Tax Reform/Bush Tax Cuts/Payroll Tax Cut/Estate Tax Multitude of other issues (education, energy, transportation, +) Defense & Foreign Policy (Trade, Middle East, Afghanistan, Def. Author.)

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18 Prospects for New Congress: Divided Party Government Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Possible outcomes: Obama wins reelection, Republicans hold House, Democrats hold Senate Obama wins reelection, Republicans hold House, Republicans win Senate Romney wins Presidency, Republicans hold House, Democrats hold Senate Romney wins Presidency, Republicans hold House, Republicans win Senate

19 On roll-call votes where the president had a clear position, what percentage of the time did Congress support the president's position? Source: Congressional Quarterly as reported by National Public Radio:

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21 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Decline of the Political Center (2012 2% moderates)

22 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Post 2012 Election Leadership in Congress –Individualism vs. Centralization (caucuses, committee chairs, party leaders, president) –Ideological Splits/ Tea Party –Pluralism wins over Party Discipline

23 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Presidential-Congressional Policy-Making Post 2012 Election Fiscal Cliff/Debt-Deficit/Jobs/Health Care Clear Threat/Problem? Clear Solution/Mission? Strong Interest Groups in Favor of Mission? Limits on Resources? Central Core of Authority?

24 Fiscal Cliff: Federal Spending & Taxes

25 Budget Surplus/Deficit Trends:

26 Fiscal Cliff: National Debt is Set to More Than Double

27 U.S. Already Ranks High in Debt Relative to the Developed World Source: OECD – Economic Outlook No. 90, Annex Table 32, General Government Gross Financial Liabilities

28 The United States has relied on foreign investors to purchase most new U.S. debt. Billions of Dollars, March 2001 – June 2011 Foreign Purchases Domestic Purchases

29 “A man drink like that and he don’t eat, he is going to die!” BUT When?

30 No Easy Answers for President and Congress Post 2012 Election Large Deficits Can Steeply Raise Interest Rates (Harming Economic Growth), and Require Steep Tax Hikes to Pay the Escalating Interest on the National Debt. Tax Increases Harm Economic Growth, Reduce Incomes, & Make it Difficult for Families & Businesses to Make Ends Meet. Spending Cuts Can Shrink the Safety Net, Decrease Investments, and Reduce National Security.

31 Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies Policy Making Post Election Little consensus about problems and threat: e.g. Jobs, Debt and Deficit, Tax Reform, Health Care, Immigration, Educ., Defense Little consensus about solutions to problems Parties and Strong interest groups disagree about problems and solutions Limits on resources, large deficits/debt Micro politics (Individualism) & pluralist subsystems will dominate unless Crisis 2012 Election and President’s Central core of political authority? A mandate?

32 Questions? Comments? Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

33 Sources General Election Resources: Real Clear Politics: Cook Political Report: New York Times Political Blog (538): Other Sources: Tracking of campaign events by FairVote.org. Available:

34 Sources (cont.) State and national unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available: State and national tracking poll data from Real Clear Politics and National Polls. Available: and Presidential election results from the Federal Elections Commission. Available: Latino turnout data from the William C. Velasquez Institute. Available: Map of swing states from CNN. Available: Electoral college projections from the Cook Political Report. Available:


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