Tags: karl rove | republicans | myth | elections

Karl Rove: Exploding the Myth of Stay-at-Home Republicans

By    |   Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 06:11 AM

The voters who stayed at home in 2012 when President Barack Obama recaptured the White House were not stay-at-home conservatives, but predominantly self-identified moderates, white Catholics, and women, writes Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal.

It is true that 2012 saw 6 million fewer voters than 2008 but the missing voters were not conservatives.

The hypothesis "that Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because a large number of previously reliable conservatives who turned out in past elections stayed home" is simply "not accurate," according to Rove.

In 2012, voter turnout dropped to 129.2 million from 131.5 million in the previous presidential cycle, wrote Rove, citing David Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections. In this context, roughly 580,000 fewer white evangelical voters went to the polls. Yet Romney won 78 percent of them as compared to John McCain 74 percent in 2008. Altogether, Romney pulled about 913,000 more white evangelical votes than McCain, wrote Rove.

Of the approximately 45.2 million conservatives who came to the polls, which was 35 percent of the 2012 turnout, 82 percent voted for Romney.

Any self-identified conservatives who couldn't be motivated to turn out to vote in 2012 against another term for Obama are anyway unreliable and most likely not politically engaged, wrote Rove.

Actually, the 2012 stay-at-homes comprised 4.9 million fewer "moderates," 1.7 million fewer white Catholics, and 1.2 million fewer women compared to 2008. These were Americans who though unwilling to support Obama again felt Romney had nothing to offer them.

"These missing moderate, white Catholic and women voters who didn't vote in 2012 can be motivated to vote for a Republican candidate in 2016 — if they think that candidate cares about people like them," wrote Rove.

Likewise, Republicans need to do much better among Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American voters to win in 2016.

Rove argued that "building a broad, winning, center-right coalition" cannot be left until the campaign's final four months.

The three Republican presidents of the past 40 years — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush — "understood the impressions they created in the primaries largely determined the general election's outcome," Rove concluded.

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The voters who stayed at home in 2012 when President Barack Obama recaptured the White House were not stay-at-home conservatives, but predominantly self-identified moderates, white Catholics, and women, writes Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal.
karl rove, republicans, myth, elections
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2015-11-02
Thursday, 02 Apr 2015 06:11 AM
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