An Oft-Ignored Lesson Of 2012: The Case For Appeasing The Base
dailykos.com — How did Obama turn what was a seven-point deficit for the Democrats in 2010 into a four-point win in 2012, in spite of roughly similar numbers among the three ideological subgroups? The answer was that the ideological makeup of the electorate fundamentally shifted between 2010 and 2012. In 2010, 42 percent of the electorate self-identified as conservatives, while only 20 percent of the electorate self-identified as liberals. In 2012, the gap narrowed to a historic low. Only 35 percent of the Obama-Romney electorate called themselves conservative. Meanwhile, a full quarter of the electorate (25 percent), the high water mark for the modern era), self-identified as liberal. Therein lies a big part of the victory. It wasn't Obama's marginally better performance among conservatives that saved the day, it was the simple fact that conservatives comprised a substantially smaller share of the electorate than they had in 2010.