Thank You for Reading the John Davis Political Report; Lessons Learned in 2012: The Parable of the Lost Sheep

by johndavis, November 9, 2012

Thank You for Reading the John Davis Political Report; Lessons Learned in 2012: The Parable of the Lost Sheep “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Jesus,
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Thank You for Reading the John Davis Political Report; Lessons Learned in 2012: The Parable of the Lost Sheep

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”

Jesus, New Testament, Luke 15:4-7

Friday, November 9, 2012       Vol. V, No. 42           12:13 pm

 Parable of the Lost Sheep

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you for reading my reports during this election cycle.

Politics is my life’s passion.  Analysis.  Writing.  Speaking.  To have people that I respect greatly read my reports is the highest form of professional fulfillment.  Thank you.

Since Tuesday night, I have been stewing over my “lost sheep,” the one race that I got wrong at the end: the U.S. Presidential race.  The lost sheep analogy is from the New Testament book of Luke, where Jesus tells the following parable:  "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?”

Although my North Carolina forecasts were dead on, including my forecast since Labor Day 2011 that Obama would not carry the state again, I changed my forecast that Obama would win the U.S. Presidential race in early October.  Mistake.  My lost sheep.

I got all 13 congressional races right; 47 of 49 state Senate races right, 114 of 120 state House races right.  I got the Governor and Council of State right; and Supreme Court Justice Newby.

But, the lost sheep.

 We Knew the Tie Would be Broken by Turnout

I had the U.S. Presidential race right from Labor Day 2011 until October 4, 2012.  That’s the day after the first debate when I saw, for the first time, Republicans united and excited about their nominee Mitt Romney.

In my mind, excitement and unity meant momentum and volunteers and turnout.

The race had been tied since the national conventions in Tampa and Charlotte.  The tie would be broken by turnout.  Turnout was driven by unity and enthusiastic volunteers.

Wrong.

Granted, polling confirmed that Romney voters were twice as excited as McCain voters were in 2008.  But in 2012, it was not excitement that made the difference.

Polls also showed that young voters, women, Latino’s and even African Americans were less excited about Barack Obama in 2012 than they were in 2008.

In 2012, it was not excitement that made the difference.

Turnout in 2012 was driven by a strategic and tactical advantage; an early investment by the Obama campaign in the most sophisticated targeting analytical software in political history.  An investment in building the most complete and accurate list of supporters ever.  An investment in strategically placed headquarters from which to manage the turnout operation.  An investment in a field staff to coordinate volunteers as they went about the daily grind of voter turnout.

Conventional wisdom said that there was no way President Obama could get a higher number of African American voters in 2012 than his record-breaking 2008 turnout.  Yet in critical states like Ohio, African American turnout increased from 11% of all voters in 2008 to 15% Tuesday.

If African American turnout in Ohio was the same as 2008, Romney would have won the state.  What principle did the Obama campaign apply? The lost sheep.  Every Obama vote was found.

 North Carolina Republicans Neutralized Obama’s 2008 Turnout Advantage

The Republican National Committee made the strategic and tactical mistake of emphasizing advertising over a technologically advanced turnout organization.

Big mistake.

The Republican independent expenditure leaders like Karl Rove made the strategic and tactical mistake of emphasizing advertising over a technologically advanced turnout organization.

A $400 million mistake.

Fortunately for North Carolina Republicans, the leadership of the state party, led by former Congressman Robin Hayes and Executive Director Scott Laster, recognized the strategic and tactical importance of neutralizing the Democrats’ 2008 turnout advantage with a well-organized and well-funded turnout operation in 2012.  Turnout.

They started early.  They doubled the regional headquarters.  They tripled the paid staff.  They had ten times the number of volunteers doing the hard work of turning out voters.  They worked together.  They worked tirelessly.

The Romney campaign.  The Pat McCrory gubernatorial campaign.  The state Senate and House legislative caucus campaigns.  The Congressional campaigns.  The Council of State and Judicial campaigns.  All united by the state Republican Party into a turnout organization that neutralized the Obama 2008 turnout advantage in North Carolina.

The proof was in the 2012 registration and early voting turnout.  Example:  Romney got 95,000 more early votes in North Carolina than McCain in 2008.  Obama only won by 14,117 votes in 2008 out of 4.3 million.  Turnout advantage neutralized.  Swing state lost.

Thanks to solid candidates, smart political war generals, savvy and committed staff, a great team of fundraisers, fair and legal legislative and congressional maps, and a well-coordinated turnout organization with thousands of volunteers doing the hard work of winning campaigns, North Carolina Republicans will dominate all three branches of state government, executive, legislative and judicial, for the first time since 1898.

 - END -

Thank you for reading the John Davis Political Report

John N. Davis, Editor


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