Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Feb/12

17

Helping Obama

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The polling data relied upon for this Washington Post article is from a Democratic polling firm, but the results should come as no great surprise:

The firm’s poll finds that one of the most important factors powering Obama’s gains against likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney has been the President’s improving numbers among unmarried women, a key pillar of the present and future Democratic coalition.

Among this group, Obama now leads Romney by 65-30 — and there’s been a net 18-point swing towards the President among them:…After unmarried women dropped off for Dems in 2010 and were slow to return to the Dem fold in 2011, Obama is now approaching the 70 percent he won among them in 2008.

Unmarried women will be important to Obama’s success at rebuilding his 2008 coalition in time for reelection, something that already seems to be underway, as Ronald Brownstein has demonstrated. The crack Post polling team tells me that the key to understanding this constituency is that it’s complex and diverse; it includes young women who have never married, divorced women, and widows, and it cuts across class, racial, income, and geographic lines.

Various factors — the improving economy; the drawn-out Republican nomination process; the GOP’s sinking approval ratings — already seem to be driving unmarried women back towards Obama. And the pitched battle over birth control could continue to galvanize and unite this group behind him, particularly if Romney is forced to embrace the conservative position. The Greenberg poll also tested the two sides’ position on this issue, and found that 61 percent of unmarried women side with the Democratic one.

Concludes the memo: “We may yet look back on this debate and wonder whether this was a Terri Schiavo moment.”

The chances that this will indeed be the case will increase substantially if Santorum is the nominee. To use a hackneyed term, elections are all about the “narrative” and the narrative says that Santorum wants to ban contraception. He can deny that all he wants (and that’s just what he’s doing), but he’s said enough in the past to ensure that there are a lot of people who will never believe him. That will tell at the polls should Santorum become the nominee.

And not in a good way.

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10 comments

  • Temp · February 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    “He can deny that all he wants (and that’s just what he’s doing), but he’s said enough in the past to ensure that there are a lot of people who will never believe him.”

    Same goes for Romney when he claims to be pro-life.

  • Mike H · February 18, 2012 at 1:20 am

    The conservative movement (and the Republican Party) is holding a gun to their head. Santorum is the bullet.

    That Labour manifesto in 1983, “the longest suicide note in history”, that’s Santorum getting the nomination.

  • Neither Religious nor "Secular" · February 18, 2012 at 2:41 am

    I’m still waiting for a legitimate reason the state has to force a private institution to violate its moral conscience. Let me put this as clearly as I can. The Catholic bishops and other staffers who believe that contraception is immoral are not natural resources to be exploited or personal slaves to be effectively soul-raped. There is simply no excuse for what the government is doing here. It is motivated by pure malice. Their position is not legitimate, period.

    And I have an especial contempt for those, including (woefully misnamed) “libertarians” who are more concerned about “public perception” than doing what’s right.

  • John · February 18, 2012 at 4:40 am

    According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Obama is ahead of Santorum by 6%. His lead over Romney: 6%. This election is going to be decided by events. Santorum has his faults, but so does Romney, just different ones. Since our chances of beating Obama are pretty much the same no matter who we nominate, we might as well pick a conservative.

  • Wm tanksley · February 18, 2012 at 5:42 am

    The problem is that what Santorum is talking about is NOT about banning contraception, but this site and many like it are making it sound like he is.
    Seriously- could you please TRY to disagree with Santorum in a halfway honest way? You’re so keen to torpedo Santorum you don’t even mention the economic idiodocy of Obama’s plan and ‘compromise’. In the original plan, EVERYONE pays for contraceptives; in the new one, everyone except churches do, except that now that there’s no more market pricing for contraceptives, how much less do churches pay?
    The original plan is a recipe for price problems; the compromise would lead only to legislative disaster. And that’s ignoring the religious freedom angle, which I happen to think is also a personal freedom problem- at the least, this is a new tax without a vote in the house.
    -Wm

  • Mike H · February 18, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    John: Except Santorum isn’t particularly conservative on matters not decreed upon by Opus Dei and the Holy See.

    Santorum was run out of office in PA in spite of tailoring his views quite specifically to the PA electorate, a place where the GOP increasingly relies on the votes from the old industrial/mining areas in the West. Those are people who are only GOP-leaners because of Jesus, otherwise those are Democrats. In other words, there is no small government, no pro-liberty agenda to be found here. That is Santorum’s base.

    A first taste of that? Romney is hurt in Michigan by the fact he didn’t support the auto industry bailout – which was the appropriate conservative position but is unpopular with Santorum’s base. A base that is very keen for government to take care of the white working-class.

    Santorum is a complete 180 from the formula that worked in 2010 – big tent conservatism built around small government and fiscal responsibility. Santorum would be a massive middle finger to everyone but the God Squad and he will lose. And it won’t even be a glorious loss like Goldwater whose principled stance advanced conservatism even as he lost.

    Not saying Romney is without flaw, he definitely is flawed but if Santorum is the best of the rest you may as well go with Romney.

  • Polichinello · February 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    The Catholic bishops and other staffers who believe that contraception is immoral are not natural resources to be exploited or personal slaves to be effectively soul-raped.

    I would be more sympathetic to these people if they hadn’t been pushing for Obamacare in the first place. Why should they get a special exemption for this one thing? Sorry, boys, you asked for an oversized state with the power to make these decisions, and you got it. Deal.

  • John · February 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Mike H: Good points, but I’m still not buying Romney as a small government conservative. It is just impossible for me to examine his record as governer (not to mention his vote for Tsongas and his line “I’m not trying to return to Reagan/Bush”) and conclude that he is a consistent conservative. Just about the only issue that he has not wavered on is Romneycare. Romney sees conservatism as a tool to get things done in certain circumstances, not as a set of principles like Santorum does.

    I don’t agree with Santorum on all the social issues, but there isn’t anything he can do to ban pornography, stop the onward march of same-sex-marriage, ect. I do think he will be more likely to

    -Be much better on immigration
    -Be more willing to veto bills he doesn’t like
    -Move us away from Obamacare
    -Favor a flatter tax code with fewer exemptions that favors the middle class instead of the well connected (Buffett really shouldn’t pay a lower rate than his secretary)
    -Appoint better judges
    -Make bold changes to entitlements

    So far, they both sound reasonable on foreign policy, so no big differences there. I still can’t help shake the feeling that Romney is telling me what I want to hear. I know that Santorum actually believes what he says.

  • Mike H · February 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Neither Romney nor Santorum are conservatives in a Goldwater sense, but the difference is Romney has an outside shot at winning while Santorum would almost certainly give Obama a landslide.

    Everyone who talks about how good Santorum does with blue-collar voters forgets that a) America is a white-collar country now and b) the election will be by default about abortion, gays etc. if Santorum runs and that’s not a winning combination in 2012.

  • Jeeves · February 19, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    @John
    I don’t agree with Santorum on all the social issues, but there isn’t anything he can do to ban pornography, stop the onward march of same-sex-marriage, ect.

    Or do anything about contraception, the right to which is constitutionally guaranteed under Griswold. Apparently unmarried women are as stupid as the rest of the population if they believe the Chief Executive has the power to reverse the SCOTUS.

    @Polichinello
    Exactly so. All the pressure groups that lined up behind Obamacare expected, and have gotten, waivers from Sebelius. Santorum should be pointing this out instead of banging the drum for his “personal” views on contraception. An “own goal” for him.

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