There’s apparently a meme developing in the early general election reporting that goes like this: I know Obama is in a difficult position heading into 2012, but I can’t just report on the poll numbers or the fact that everyone knows incumbents have a difficult time getting re-elected when the economy is doing poorly, so I’m going to seize on some piece of information that’s out of context to be “another sign” that Obama is in trouble.
My post last week in regard to the AP’s claim about supposed fund raising problems for Obama was a good example of this type of reporting. Today’s nominee comes from Adam Nagourney’s NY Times article about the fact that college students who volunteered a tremendous amount of time to campaign for Obama in 2008 do not plan to devote the same amount of time to volunteering for him in 2012. How does he know this? By citing polls among college students in 2011 and comparing them to polls among college students in 2007? Of course not—he interviews a number of college students who devoted a lot of time to campaigning for Obama in 2008, and finds, lo and behold, that these four people are not going to campaign for him as actively in 2012! Of course, this is entirely due to the fact that they no longer are as enthusiastic about Obama as they were in 2008, and not, say, because now they have a job or are looking for a job. Here’s my predictions for other things people who were freshmen and sophomores in 2007 will not be doing in 2012 because they have graduated from college:
- Sleeping in until 11:00 AM regularly
- Starting new clubs on campus in an effort to bolster their resume
- Eating their meals in a cafeteria
- Writing papers until 2:00 AM in the morning
- Taking their laundry home to their parents’ house over the holidays (Ok, maybe not so sure on the last one).
I’m sure all of these changes in behavior are due to declining enthusiasm over Obama as well. Point being, let’s compare apples to apples here, which is the same point I made previously in my post on funding. In Nagourney’s defense, he does do this once with a useful piece of information, which is that the ratio of students at University of Nevada—Las Vegas who are members of the College Democrats to College Republicans has dropped dramatically, from 3:1 to about even, which is comparing apples to apples. An entire article looking at trends in membership in College Democratic and Republican clubs – especially in swing states – would be interesting to read indeed.
All this aside, I am still eagerly anticipating a serious look at Romney’s expected difficulty in securing votes from McCain supporters who were over age 65 in 2008 – the only age cohort to favor McCain in 2008 – due to their troublesome habit of dying in greater numbers than the rest of the electorate. Stay tuned!