CNN's GUT CHECK for November 8, 2012
November 8th, 2012
05:29 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN's GUT CHECK for November 8, 2012

CNN's GUT CHECK | for November 8, 2012 | 5 p.m.
n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle

BREAKING: IRANIAN JETS FIRE ON U.S. DRONE Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned. The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes. The drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait, U.S. officials said, adding it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance. Although the drone was not hit, the Pentagon is concerned. – Barbara Starr

HERE WE GO AGAIN: THE 2016 CAMPAIGN BEGINS Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will headline a birthday fundraiser for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad next week, a spokesman for the governor announced Thursday. The speaking gig will no doubt stir talk of a potential 2016 presidential bid for Rubio, as the event provides the first-term senator the chance to mingle with the Republican class in Iowa, the first state to hold caucuses in a presidential election.

TRAIL TRIVIA
(Answer below)
The 2000 debacle in Florida will forever go down in election lore. Florida, however, was not the only state that was too close to call that evening. What other two states were also not called on November 7, 2000?

MARK (@PrestonCNN) & MICHELLE (@MJaconiCNN)
What caught our eye today in politics

Despite the Romney campaign’s claims of its ability to match the Obama get-out-the-vote operation, the president sailed to re-election. The GOP also lost ground in the Senate and did not make the gains in the House that officials were predicting just days before the election.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who oversaw campaign efforts for the Senate GOP, said he believes “our conservative vision is the right one to secure a stronger America for future generations.” But he also noted that the party needs to do some, well, soul searching. If there is anything we have learned from this campaign it is that the electorate has changed, and this change is real. A review of CNN’s national exit polls shows that the GOP has some work to do as it prepares for the next elections, particularly in these five areas:

1.) Minorities. The key to the president’s re-election was holding together a coalition of diverse groups to offset the expected losses to Romney with white voters. The Obama campaign did it so effectively that it must be giving GOP leaders heartburn. The president received 93% of the black vote, 71% of the Latino vote, and 73% of the Asian vote. How do you make up that type of ground? In terms of the Latino vote, the staggering fact is that George W. Bush received 35% of it in 2000. Since then, according to Pew, “nearly 6 million more Latinos have become eligible to vote.” And, if that doesn’t catch your eye, check out this stat, also from Pew, that shows more than 50,000 American Latinos turn 18 every month. Now, think of the Romney-Ryan ticket, it received 27% of the Latino vote, 8% less than Bush-Cheney 12 years earlier. Sen. Marc Rubio, R-Florida, agreed with Cornyn that the GOP should stick by its conservative beliefs, but acknowledged that “Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them.”

2.) Class appeal. Public polling showed throughout the campaign that there was a divide between Obama supporters (people who made under $100,000) and Romney backers (people who made $100,000 +). Romney’s efforts to make an appeal to these middle class voters fell flat – and consequently the Republican presidential nominee lost the “under $100,000 voters” by 10 points. While Romney won the “over $100,000 voters” by 10 points, the reality is that there are more middle class voters than wealthy voters. We cannot overlook some of Romney’s own comments that made him look out of touch with people’s struggles – but the GOP needs to figure out a way to more effectively counter the Democratic charges it only represents the wealthy class. The CNN exit poll showed 81% of people chose Obama, while only 18% mentioned Romney when asked which candidate “cares about people like me.”

3.) Gender gap. The majority of voters in this election were women, 53%. Obama won women voters by a 10 point margin. Comments by a couple of Republican Senate candidates on the issue of abortion and rape did not help the GOP brand, but that is not the reason for a double digit loss. A women’s right to choose when it comes to abortion is one factor why Obama did so well, but it is not the only reason. An internal debate over social issues such as abortion is likely to ensue in the coming weeks as different corners of the GOP distills this election and tries to figure out a path and message forward. No matter what path is chosen on social issues, the GOP needs to do a better job of selling its agenda than it did in this past election.

4.) Youth. Romney lost the 18-29 age voters by 23 points, and 30-44 age voters by 7 points. Red sirens should be going off. The Republican Party is considered a party of older voters, while the Democratic Party is thought of as the place for youth. We dug down and looked at more specific age groups and saw Romney only won 40-49 age voters by 2 points, and the 50-64 age voters by 5 points. The Republican nominee cleaned up with voters age 65+, winning this age group by 12 points. Red siren, red siren.

5.) Social and Religious networks. The GOP has to learn to more effectively utilize social media and strong social networks (religious or otherwise) that create movements around their brands and candidates. Corporate America has made inroads in data mining and mobile technology to isolate, target and engage consumers. The GOP needs to learn how to do the same. The Romney campaign started to do this with the Romney sons on Twitter, but Republicans need to learn to motivate and embrace fans and voters to do their work for them, like the Obama campaign did at an incredible level.

the LEDE
Did you miss it?

Leading CNNPolitics: With 'fiscal cliff' looming, Congress facing compromise or confrontation
A day after an election that both parties agreed was a mandate to find compromise and avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders also continued to sharply disagree over the key issue of whether top tax rates should be raised to help resolve the looming crisis. Republicans said higher rates would damage the economy, while Democrats said it was the only equitable way to tackle the debt. – Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh

Gut Check Full Service: What's in the fiscal cliff? The fiscal cliff is a man-made disaster waiting to happen. It starts to take effect in January and includes $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over a decade. While that might seem like a deficit hawk's dream come true, it's anything but. – Jeanne Sahadi

Leading Drudge: Big Mac Bust: Sales Drop First Time In Decade
McDonald's Corp. says a key sales figure fell in October, marking the first monthly drop in nearly a decade for the world's biggest hamburger chain.

Leading HuffPo: Republican Reckoning Begins After Revealing Defeat
Republican Party leaders on Wednesday began picking up the pieces of their movement, trying to figure how to put them back together. The GOP was blindsided Tuesday, but also revealed. The Democrats' ground organization was beyond anything they'd imagined, pulling in new voters with stunning effectiveness. It exposed a major weakness in the Republican approach to winning elections, practically and intellectually. – Jon Ward

Leading Politico: 2012 election puts spotlight on immigration reform
Top Republicans are signaling for the first time in five years that the party will get serious about immigration reform. Immigration’s sudden rise to the top of Washington’s to-do list after years on the legislative back burner spotlights how worried Republicans are about Latinos abandoning their party. The renewed interest in tackling the issue, if sustained, would represent a fundamental shift for Republicans, who allowed conservative firebrands to set the agenda on immigration after several failed attempts to pass a bill during the Bush administration. – Carrie Budoff Brown, Jake Sherman and Manu Raju

Leading The New York Times: Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Crisis
Newly re-elected, President Obama moved quickly on Wednesday to open negotiations with Congressional Republican leaders over the main unfinished business of his term — a major deficit-reduction deal to avert a looming fiscal crisis — as he began preparing for a second term that will include significant cabinet changes. – Jackie Calmes and Peter Baker

Leading Miami Herald: Romney campaign: We lost Florida
“The numbers in Florida show this was winnable,” Brett Doster, Florida advisor for Romney, said in a statement. “We thought based on our polling and range of organization that we had done what we needed to win. Obviously, we didn’t, and for that I and every other operative in Florida has a sick feeling that we left something on the table. I can assure you this won’t happen again.” – Marc Caputo

Note: CNN has not called the race.

TRAIL MOMENTS
The political bites of the day

– Rush Limbaugh rebuts GOP post-mortems: it’s not demography –
CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST RUSH LIMBAUGH ON HIS SYNDICATED PROGRAM: “Mitt Romney got three million fewer Republican votes than McCain. Do you realize what that means? Did anybody think that Romney would underperform McCain in Republican turnout? Nobody did. …If the Republicans who didn't vote had voted, Mitt Romney would have won the popular vote by 180,000. I don't know yet what it might have been in the Electoral College, and no, I'm not crying over spilt milk. This is crucial to understand in terms of what the Republican Party's doing and how they're analyzing why they lost. They did not lose because of demographics. Three million of their voters stayed home. Now, who are they? We don't know yet. But let's play. Let's say three million white voters didn't vote. Let's say that of the three million who didn't vote, half of them are evangelicals. Let's say some of them are the wrong poll group. Let's say some of them are just fed up with Republicans nominating moderates. Who knows. We don't know yet. But it is significant, and it is a mistake - the Republican Party didn't turn out its base, is what happened.”

– Messina: GOP primary helped us woo Latinos –
JIM MESSINA, OBAMA FOR AMERICA CAMPAIGN MANAGER, IN A CAMPAIGN CONFERENCE CALL: “The issues that Latino voters care about like everyone else economy jobs and education, they watched a republican party in the primary largely use them as a political football and party talked about them as illegals, veto piece of legislation as a dream act that over 90 percent of Latino voters support that, making very hard to get votes in November. … I think there as clear as a choice as any in generation on those issues and that’s one of the reasons why we got historic numbers in those communities.”

– Female Republican leader puts it bluntly –
REPUBLICAN SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON OF TEXAS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “We had Republican candidates who got very high profile and said some very stupid things. I think that really tainted the party.”

–Obama’s Keynoter Seeing purple –
SAN ANTONIO MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S “STARTING POINT”: “I think when you have that ground work and when you have the right candidates to excite folks, then you're going to start to see progress and within the next six to eight years, I believe that Texas will at least be a purple state, if not a blue state.”

– In moving statement, Kelly takes on gun laws, Jan Brewer –
MARK KELLY’S STATEMENT AT THE SENTENCING OF JARED LEE LOUGHNER, HIS WIFE’S ATTEMPTED ASSASSIN…
ON GUN LAWS: “We have a political class that is afraid to do something as simple as have a meaningful debate about our gun laws and how they are being enforced. We have representatives who look at gun violence,
 not as a problem to solve, but as the white elephant in the room to ignore. As a nation, we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine; after Virginia Tech; after Tucson and after Aurora we have done nothing. In this state, we have elected officials so feckless in their leadership that they would say, as in the case of Governor Jan Brewer, ‘I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the magazine or the caliber of the gun.’ She went on and said, ‘Even if the shooter's weapon had held fewer bullets, he'd have another gun, maybe. He could have three guns in his pocket.’”
AND SOMETHING FOR LOUGHNER TO MULL ON DURING HIS LIFE IMPRISONMENT: “Mr. Loughner, by making death and producing tragedy, you sought to extinguish the beauty of life. To diminish potential. To strain love. And to cancel ideas. You tried to create for all of us a world as dark and evil as your own. But know this, and remember it always: You failed.” FULL STATEMENT – Worth reading, sharing & discussing

TOP TWEETS
What stopped us in 140 characters or less

Rick Klein (@rickklein)
no more House efforts to repeal #hcr, Boehner says: "election changes that... Obamacare is the law of the land." http://abcn.ws/UyBCje

Peter Hamby (@PeterHambyCNN)
RNC vet and Romney microtargeter @BlaiseHazelwood calls election results "a rude awakening" for GOP tacticians http://slate.me/VDAmko

Matt Viser (@mviser)
My look at Romney as he ends a journey, becomes a private citizen, and contemplates life without politics. http://b.globe.com/WCB0zZ

Domenico Montanaro (@DomenicoNBC)
Hurricane Sandy may have cost Obama 800,000 votes http://dlvr.it/2S7Ts7

Pew Forum (@pewforum)
The religious contours of the 2012 electorate were similar to recent elections. See "How the Faithful Voted" – http://pewrsr.ch/UleuKs

David Millikin (@davidmillikin)
Romney had planned Boston Harbor fireworks show for election victory http://bo.st/S0ORID

David A. Graham (@GrahamDavidA)
HUBRIS RT @fivethirtyeight: Fearless (i.e. probably wrong) 2016 prediction: Heidi Heitkamp will become a popular target of VP speculation.

TRIVIA ANSWER

“Florida, Florida Florida.” – Tim Russert wrote on his famous dry erase board now enshrined in a museum for people to gaze at the three words that defined the 2000 election.

But on Election Night, November 7, 2000, Florida was not the only state that could not be called. Both New Mexico and Oregon – two states that eventually went to Vice President Al Gore – were also left up in the air.

Oregon was eventually decided by 6,765 votes and New Mexico by 366.

George W. Bush, after a lengthy legal battle that made its way to the Supreme Court, eventually became president.

Florida remains the only state in question in the 2012 presidential election. With 97% of the vote reported, President Barack Obama has earned 4,143,364 votes, edging out Mitt Romney's 4,096,351. Election officials expect all absentee and provisional ballots will be fully counted by Friday afternoon. CNN has yet to project a winner in the state.

GUT CHECK WINNER’S CIRCLE
(why aren’t you in it)

The Professor strikes again. Congratulations to Peter Ubertaccio (@ProfessorU) for correctly answering today’s Gut Check Trivia question.

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