Bipartisan politicos analyze 2012 presidential election

November 15, 2012 4:30 PM

Mary Ann Travis
mtravis@tulane.edu

From the “ultimate swing state,” former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland summed up his analysis of the 2012 presidential election this way: “What the electorate wants more than anything else from a candidate is to feel as if that candidate understands them.”

BPC Summit

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, right, gives his take on the election while Ron Elving, center, National Public Radio’s senior Washington editor, and Stan Greenberg, left, a political pollster, look on. The men were part of a panel discussion, “What Happened? Analyzing the Election,” at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s  annual political summit. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)


The reason that President Barack Obama won in Ohio and in the national popular vote is that “A lot of Americans never felt that Gov. Romney really understood them,” said Strickland.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Political Summit held at Tulane University Thursday (Nov. 15) drew an overflow crowd of hundreds that filled the Qatar Ballroom at the Lavin Bernick Center as well as the main venue, the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall.

Political pollsters, consultants, analysts, politicians, elected officials and interested voters from the Republican and Democratic parties were on hand for the dissection of the election held nine days ago.

Whit Ayres, a Republican and co-founder of the polling organization Resurgent Republic, and Stan Greenberg, a Democrat and co-founder of the research and strategic advising organization Democracy Corps, presented data about the demographics of the electorate and about issues of most concern to voters.

Ayres said that a major factor in Romney’s defeat was a “far superior ground game and turnout operation by the Obama campaign.”

Greenberg chalked up Obama’s win to the fact that the president focused on the economic recovery of the middle class while Romney emphasized reducing the federal deficit.

The changing demographics of the country also influenced the election, said Ayres. This year, only 72 percent of the electorate was white. Obama attracted Hispanic, Asian and African American voters by a greater margin than Romney. In the future, Republicans will need to pay attention to a changing American population in which 50,000 Hispanics become 18 years old every month, said Ayres.

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