We didn't show up. That's right, this one was on us. And the sad part is, we had a path to victory, and just didn't take it.
Democrats even lent us a hand. In the 16 counties won by President Obama, turnout was down a whopping 210,000 from the overall turnout in those counties in 2008. That alone should have been enough to erase any Obama lead.
But we didn't take advantage of it, as turnout was down almost 125,000 from 2008 in counties won by Romney. Democrats spotted us 85,000 votes... and we did diddly-squat with it. And while Democrats will tout that their turnout advantage--another historical high on top of their 2008 high-water mark--it wouldn't have held if we'd had just shown up to the polls.
We measured Romney's performance against turnout from 2008, and had the GOP gone to the polls, Romney would have taken his 2012 deficit of 107,000 and turned it into a lead of over 60,000 votes. We didn't need to do anything special--no massive turnout reminiscent of 2004, and no need to match Democrat turnout like in 2010.
All we had to do was show up.
Our final poll analysis showed Romney was poised for victory:
What's even more troublesome for the President is that only if Democrats turnout at their 2008 levels does he lead Romney. Even a one-point shift to Republicans gives the edge to the Romney, taking the race from 48.3% Obama, 46.7% Romney to 47.6% Romney, 47.5% Obama.We said for months the polls were skewed. Yesterday proved that they were, but only those forecasting +40% Democrat turnout. Other than that, they were spot on. Independents broke toward Romney by 10%. We didn't need to match Democrat enthusiasm--we just had to get out and vote at our less-than-excited 2008 levels.
We failed, and Obama carried Ohio. Granted, Romney needed more than Ohio's 18 electoral votes for it to matter overall, but a victory nationwide needed to start with a victory here at home.
Ultimately we need to own this one, learn from it, and move on with the knowledge that we cannot rest on our laurels and expect to come out on the winning end. Arrogant or not, Democrats are already looking toward 2014, where our statewide officials will be on the ballot. Given Governor Kasich's immense popularity in the state, particularly among Democrats, he could survive a repeat of last night, but others might not be so fortunate.
Let's not give Democrats the opportunity. This one was on us. Next time, we'll be ready.