Could it be the Cool?Posted: November 5, 2012
For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been struggling to make sense of the presidential election polls. My gut tells me Romney could win big, but the polls (and their would-be oracle, Nate Silver) say otherwise: Close, at best. Perhaps Alex Castellanos at CNN has identified one major factor that could account for this dissonance:
… to identify our next president, we have to understand how publicly embarrassing it is to be a Republican these days.
Hollywood, the music industry, the news media, the fashion industry, the intellectual elite and the news media all fawn over Obama. To identify yourself as a Republican Romney voter, however, is to admit that you are culturally backward. In effect, survey questioners are asking Obama voters if they self-identify as cool. They are asking Romney voters if they would publicly admit to wearing socks with sandals.
Too often, Republicans dare not speak their name, because they know the cool kids won’t invite them to play.
This phenomenon, the reticent Republican factor, like the shy Tory factor found in British polls in the ’90s, could easily account for a 4% to 5% unexpected pro-Romney bump on Election Day.
Late polls in 1980 gave Ronald Reagan only a 2% to 3% lead over Jimmy Carter. Reagan ended up winning by nearly 10%. For the same reason, I would expect this campaign’s final public opinion polls and exit polls this Tuesday to underreport the Republican vote by a handful of points.
Forty-eight hours . . . could it be the cool?