William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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TWO MORNINGS AFTER – AT 8:58 A.M. ET:  I urge, once again, our readers to be patient in their post-election analysis.  There are theories flying all over the place, including theories by people who've been wrong on almost everything.   The most important thing right now is to study the election, the electorate, the mechanics, and find out exactly what happened.  Then the theories can begin. 

And the first requirement is perspective.  What do we actually know?  We know that Obama's victory was wide and shallow.  He received 50.4% of the vote.  Half the electorate didn't vote for him.  Romney received 48%.  By contrast, in 2008 Obama received amost 53% of the vote, and John McCain received 45.7%.  More important, Obama received 69.4 million votes in 2008.  He received 60.6 million votes in 2012, in a country with a larger population.  That is a staggering drop of nine million votes.  No, it wasn't a famous victory. 

And look at Obama's "victories" in the swing states.  In Virginia he got 50.8% of the vote.  In Ohio 50.1%.  In Florida 49.9%.  In Colorado 51.2%.

No, not a deep victory.  The problem is, you don't need a deep victory.  Once you're president, you're president.  It is not like the Olympics.  You'll notice that no one got a silver medal.

Another statistic you should keep in mind:  Obama won three of the four largest states.  He won California, New York, and Florida.  Those states together provided 113 electoral votes, of 270 needed to win.  Anyone who starts with a cushion like that is in great shape.  California and New York are out of reach for Republicans.  Obama got almost 60% of the vote in California, and 63% in New York.  The fourth state is Texas, where Romney triumphed handily.  Of the four, only Florida and Texas are winnable for our side.

The end is not near.  A shift of less than three percent of the national electorate would have made Romney president.  Let's not forget that as we pass high, open windows.

November 8,  2012