Post Election Panel:
Who voted and Why?
On Nov. 14, a post-election panel was put together by the Bucknell Public Interest Project (BPIP) to shed light on polling and various factors that contributed to President Barack Obama’s second-term reelection. Ed Goeas, president and CEO of The Tarrance Group, Karl Agne, founding partner of GBA Strategies, Professor of Economics Christopher Magee and Assistant Professor of Political Science Chris Ellis discussed the different outcomes that were predicted during the presidential campaign as well as the factors that led to Obama’s second term.
Agne initiated the discussion by introducing the broad spectrum of policy implications that would be affected by the outcome of this year’s election, ranging from comprehensive immigration reform, gay marriage, vacancy of the federal branch and the economy.
“Although during every election, each president makes it such that it appears as if that year’s election is the most important there is, but this year it really is that important,” Agne said.
As a Democrat, he believes Obama has a unique style of leadership that the Republicans have lacked for years.
“Barack Obama had two opponents to face during the presidential campaign: he had Mitt Romney and the economy,” Goeas said.
He doubts that there was momentum for one candidate during the campaign and believed Hurricane Sandy was one of many factors as to why Romney could not win the election. He then introduced various historical statistics showing a waning voter’s participation percentage that reached as high as an eight to 10 percent decrease over the course of a decade.
“Was there really a need for people to spend millions of dollars on creating polls? Compared to the 2004 election, not only has the number of polls increased exponentially, but the quality in terms of methodology is much lower,” Agne said.
In slight mutual agreement, Goeas also discussed the huge volatility of polls, particularly national polls, making them unreliable. However, he stated that state exit polls have shown consistent outcomes.
“The success to Obama’s campaign was using not technology but volunteers to interact directly. It was a brilliant tactic that the Republicans didn’t employ,” Goeas said.
The fact that volunteers drove voters to polling stations to vote was a big contributor to Obama’s victory.
“I learned that which vote matters and which doesn’t comes down to the Electoral College. The trend currently favors the Democrats, although it is very challenging within the swing states,” Agne said.
As a Republican, even Goeas believed leadership played a key concept in this year’s election.
“Obama’s edge over Romney was over strength of leadership, not smarts. This was why Obama won over Romney,” Goeas said.