Members of Organizing for America – the president’s former campaign committee – received a text message today asking them to call 888-206-1431 “to hear a special message from President Obama.”
In the recorded message, the president says, “Thank you for the tireless work, you guys organized the single largest midterm election effort in this history of our party…You turned ‘Yes We Can’ into ‘Yes We Did.’”
“You didn’t sit this one out even when all the pundits said it was hopeless and because of that we are stronger,” the president said.
Considering that President Obama himself called the election “a shellacking,” with Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives, six Senate seats, 20 state legislatures, one might be forgiven for wondering exactly he thinks his volunteers did – other than valiantly trying but failing to get enough voters to the polls.
"This was about the volunteer effort, not the election result," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse. "The party made 86 million voter contacts, we had staff or volunteers in 435 congressional districts, we raised and spent more money than ever in a midterm, we had the lergest midterm field effort ever, we ran or staffed virtually all the coordinated campaigns in all the key states."
As ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer has pointed out, according to exit polls, 29 million Obama voters from 2008 didn’t show up to vote in the midterms.
“Thirteen percent of Obama voters defected to Republicans for Congress,” Langer noted.
Women – who won women voters by 13 points in 2008 — voted 49-48 percent for Democratic vs. Republican House candidate — the best for Republicans among women in national House vote in exit polls since 1982.”
In terms of party self-identification, Democrats went to the polls in 2008 with a seven point advantage in 2008, 40-33% over Republicans. This year it was 36-36 percent.
Swing-voting independents went for Obama by 8 points in 2008; this year they favored Republicans for the House 55-39 percent – the Republicans' biggest win among independents in exit polls since 1982.
Young voters, in particular, were a disaster this year. Eighteen-to-29 year olds comprised 18% of the electorate in 2008 and only 12 percent earlier this month.
One example: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, was elected in the 2006 Democratic wave and reelected in the 2008 Obama surge.
As Politico points out, in 2008, Shea-Porter scored 4,715 votes in Durham, NH, which includes the University of New Hampshire.
That number was only 2,510 in 2010.
Andy Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center, told Politico that political activity on campus was “nonexistent…There is absolutely no interest” in politics at UNH. “We have this idea that students are really interested in campaigns and elections, but for the most part, they don’t pay attention to this stuff.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Obama praises his volunteers in today’s call, saying they “create out of a strategy on paper a reality that allows us to get folks to the polls.” The president said, “I know I can count on you…You’ve done it before and you’re going to do it again.”