For the record–here’s the best argument I’ve gotten against overhyping the Obama science of voter control: OH was much closer than either his or Romney’s “internals” showed. Plus there was a strangely low turnout of rural, white, mainly evangelical voters in that state. A strong turnout there of such voters (which Romney must have pretty reasonably expected and Obama feared) would have turned the state.
As Olsen pointed out, Romney had reason to believe that his OH strategy was failing, just as Obama thought his firewall was solid. That’s why Romney was scoping out PA etc. in a kind of desperation. Anyone with any brains knew that the PA mirage was fooling Republicans yet again, and Obama wasn’t particularly worried, given the mega-margin he was going to get in Philly.
OH was much more in play than both sides thought. In general, the low evangelical white turnout across the country–lower than both sides expected perhaps–has yet to be adequately explained. Some, such as Steve Hayward, have mentioned the word Mormon–not as a strong factor, but strong enough to keep enough evangelicals home. Others, maybe more plausibly, fall back on the scientific success have Obama’s negative campaigning against the plutocrat that’s not one of us, campaigning Romney apparently thought he didn’t have to counter all that much.
And we can say, with Olsen, that Romney needed a strategy to attract white, nonevangelical, blue-collar, mainly union men in the MIDWEST. He could have trumpeted that, although he was against public-employeee unions, he was more than okay with the proudly American industrial unions. And he could have been more clear about how his aim was to mend–not end–the system of entitlements and safety nets on which Americans had come to depend.
Obama’s negative campaign amounted to this guy wants to destroy what had made the working man middle class. It’s not Obama’s genius that deprived Romney of a strategy to counter that negative campaigning.
We can also mention that Romney left the evangelical turnout largely to chance–to volunteers not under his supervision. Obama wouldn’t have done that.
Speaking of chance, I may also, as the thread below suggests in a couple of places, be underestimating the impact of Romney’s bad luck–beginning with Sandy–near the end of the race. I admit that exit polls suggest that Sandy did help the president significantly.
I don’t think Sandy helped him enough to have turned defeat into victory, but probably enough to give him the now very noticeable popular vote margin. That means, I hasten to add, that Nate Silver’s hyper-accuracy was more lucky than strictly scientific.
It goes without saying that these are the uninformed speculations of an amateur intended to provoke discussion.