For all of the angst and annoying Rachel Maddow segments about the “Bradley effect”, flakey young voter turnout, voter caging, voter suppression, the sneaky Conservatron ground game, Conservatrons insisting the “race is tightening,” corrupt electronic voting machines, Obama supporter complacency, and the polls perhaps being fundamentally wrong somehow there is one possibility that has gotten little consideration.
What if the Conservatrons do not come out in high numbers?
All of the above worries have some level of merit, but there is strong analytical, statistical and qualitative evidence that the Conservatron turnout may be down.
In no particular order:
1.) 2004 was a Base election. Generalissimo Bush was King of the Conservatron Base. Bush Patsy McCain is not, yet analysts of all stripes assume that robust Conservatron turnout similar to 04 is a given.
2.) Early voting favors Obama. Again, people will assume that the Conservatrons will all appear on election day, but they had just as much of a chance to vote early as the Obamites (indeed they probably had an easier go of it overall given the active attempts to supress Democratic votes), and many more Obamites appear to have voted. If you take off your dread-tinted glasses this seems like an emprical example of Obamites outvoting McSamers..
3.) Returns are Down in Conservatron Oregon Counties. Oregon votes entirely by mail. It is not a bell weather state, but its Conservatives are very Conservative and its Liberals are very Liberal. If Conservatives were ready to come out in 04 numbers, then they would be doing so in Oregon even if you correct for the fact that the race has not been contested in Oregon like it was in 04 and there are no compelling ballot measures. Again, Conservatrons have had a chance to cast their ballot for Bush Patsy McCain, and they haven’t.
4.) Where’s the Ground Game? The 538.com review of both sides’ ground game found the Republican offices to often be empty, while the Democratic offices were abuzz. Polemic’s own experience with organizing for Obama involved Rene Russo, a movie star everyone’s kinda’ heard of adding MILFy charisma to the Obama ground force in exurban Nevada. While I’m sure the Conservatrons are putting the shot on net in Ohio and elsewhere, it may be too much to assume that they replicate the “best ever” effort of 2004 nationwidse.
In short, a mixture of cortisol and time is fussing with some progressives’ perception. This election pits a past peak candidate who is not the favorite of his own party, has the albatross of the worst and most unpopular president of modern times around his neck; who has run an erratic, weird campaign that resembles an episode of South Park, picked a megafauna murdering dunce for a running mate, and has nothing relevant to say about the Great Economic Collapse against the greatest persuasive leader of his generation who has a bottomless war chest and is a master of relevance; whose followers are motivated to rectify the nightmare of the last eight years and are energized by the suspicious and agonizing elections of 04 and 08.
Here is my special prediction: The mixture of Conservatron disenchantment and historic Obama enthusiasm will lead to Obama winning one “what the fuck?” state. My prognostications are that it will be Lousiana — where Obama appears to have scored in early voting and neither candidate has a presence — or Arizona whose demographics are similar to those of New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado where Obama is running strong.