Getting the 1992/1996 elections right: ROSS PEROT DID NOT CHANGE THE OUTCOMES
by DiamondJay, Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 03:52:41 PM EDT
Too many times, I see people here claim that Ross Perot caused Bill Clinton to win, with people using the same talking point Rush Limbaugh and the media give: that he siphoned off votes which would have ALL gone to Bush, and that. It is denying history, and being self-delusional. It is a sad attempt to discredit why we even got back to the White House after years of losing in landslides. It is also a self serving smear, to deny the fact that reforming welfare and cutting crime DID help us come back, and Clinton absolutely had potential to get a majority in a two way race. it also ignores MANY facts and actual imperical evidence, something the Perot myth completely IGNORES.
Before Ross Perot dropped out of the 1992 race, George Bush Sr. polled in the 30's, http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE7DB133EF932A25755C0A96495826 0 When Perot left the race, Bill Clinton took the lead, with over 50 percent, as Bush stayed in the 30's http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE0D7133DF93BA25754C0A96495826 0 and Bill Clinton kept that lead consistently, thru the GOP Convention http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE5DF113FF935A1575BC0A96495826 0& and Bush stayed in the upper 30's and early 40's, where he ended up essentially in the final tally. Now, many times, we look to the post Labor Day polls. Let us look at one http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE0DC1F3EF936A2575AC0A96495826 0 and
Among 741 registered voters interviewed Wednesday through Sunday, Governor Clinton was the choice of 54 percent and President Bush 38 percent when asked who would get their vote if the election were held now.
Perot would shortly return. but let us look. Where did Bush end up on election day? he got 38 percent. He consistently polled this, even with Perot's return http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE5DC1E3AF936A15753C1A96495826 0 and this was 2 weeks before the election. Bush stays at 38 percent, while Clinton drops. So who did Perot's votes come from, if Bush's support was the same the entire election? Well, let us look at the exit polls, which asked "without Ross Perot on the ballot, for whom would you have voted?" And they said http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE0DB1F3FF936A35752C1A96495826 0 here is how it went
If Mr. Perot had not been on the ballot, 38 percent of his voters said, they would have voted for Gov. Bill Clinton, and 38 percent said they would have voted for President Bush.Even according to allocating the exit polls, Bill Clinton would have won the election by the same margin, but with 52.65 percent to Bush's 47.34 percent.
Now, conservatives and even many here, and especially on Dkos argue enough would have gone to Bush to swing the election. That ignores simple math, and polling data and trend. To assume just because many voted for Reagan and Bush doesn't mean they were gonna vote for him in 1992, seeing as they obviously didn't. not to mention Dukakis and new voters who went to him. Also, mathematically, for Bush to have caught up to Clinton in the popular vote, assuming all Perot voters would have voted, for Bush to break even in the popular vote, he would have needed over 60 percent of the Perot vote to even come close to a draw. If you give Bush 60 percent of his vote, Bush gets 11.85 million votes more, and with Clinton getting 40, he gets 7.9 million more. So Clinton still has 52.8 million, and Bush has 50 million. And if the 24 percent of Perot voters who wouldn't have voted are excluded, Bush would need SEVENTY percent to just edge Clinton out. And looking at the nature of Perot's candidacy, a pro-choice pro-gays in the army guy who would raise taxes to cut the deficit if necessary, that is NOT very likely. Clinton was in third place before he left in July 92. Let us look at why this is completely implausible. Ross Perot was not like Nader, whose policies were stereotypically in one political direction. He was pro choice, and pro-gays in the military. he wanted to raise taxes to cut the deficit. He railed against the religious right. There is no reason to believe he took ALL or a huge portion from Bush. Even Nader voters not ALL would have gone for Gore, as you assume about Perot. 45 woulda went for Gore, 27 woulda went for Bush, and the rest would not have voted. However, because that race was extremely close in many states, that proved the difference. And Nader is much farther to the left of Gore than Perot was right of Bush, if he was even right of Bush. Going in big enough numbers to swing the election is not in the nature of 3rd party candidates.
So, if Bush were to have gotten 55 percent from Perot voters, 30 percent for Clinton, the rest abstain, Clinton STILL WINS!!!!
What also gets ignored is how the exit polls were pointed out to show Perot taking equally after the election. Daily Howler http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh062905.shtm l points this out. Just read the thing. The Washington Times is the one who began the myth, which Bob Dole spun, and now people here actually buy, despite all the evidence in the contrary. Pew Research Center showed that Perot was taking FROM CLINTON DURING the election, BEFORE the spin http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/1992 1026.pdf called "Perot Undertoe Threatens Clinton.
While Perot may have changed a few states, according to FairVote, a foundation for Democracy founded by John Anderson, he finds http://www.fairvote.org/?page=1640 that
Perot's vote totals in themselves likely did not cause Clinton to win. Even if all of these states had shifted to Bush and none of Bush's victories had been reversed (as seems plausible, in fact, as Bush won by less than 5% only in states that a Republican in a close election could expect to carry, particularly before some of the partisan shifts that took place later in the 1990s: Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Dakota and Virginia), Clinton still would have won the electoral college vote by 281 to 257And that is assuming all of the states on the bottom went Bush, he caveats earlier that those were much less likely, as NJ and ME have gone Dem every time since Bill Clinton by large numbers.
As with the 1996 election, http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/elec tions/natl.exit.poll/index1.html and it shows Perot again got 30 from Clinton and Dole each, with the rest abstaining. Clinton only fell in the polls from the high 50's he was in to get 49 because Perot spend millions on negative ads on him during the end, and the media focusing on China"gate". And if you look at the tracking polls, they asked Perot voters who they preferred as a second choice http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1996/poll s/cnn.usa.gallup/tracking/10.23-11.2.htm l and the answer
Question to Perot voters: Who would be your second choice for President -- Dole or Clinton?
57% 36% 10/24-25
55% 38% 10/25-26
53% 39% 10/26-27
55% 36% 10/27-28
55% 38% 10/28-29
56% 39% 10/29-30
55% 38% 10/30-10/31
53% 39% 10/31-11/1
54% 38% 11/1-11/2
Even a highly detailed mathematical analysis shows Bill Clinton wins the election every way you cut it http://mason.gmu.edu/~atabarro/Perot.pdf So stop denying that Bill Clinton's elections brought us back from the 5/6 electoral losses we suffered at the hands of Nixon twice, Reagan twice, and Bush Sr. once. In the 90's triangulation was necessary, and so was being a New Democrat in 1992. We lost 5 elections on welfare and crime. Bill Clinton did what we had to do to get us back on the Presidential map. We averaged 113 electoral votes before Bill Clinton, now we actually get close to 270, with less than charismatic candidates, against George W. Bush, who is the toughest GOP opponent since Reagan, who can rally a base, money, and has enough charisma, who people buy. Stop re-writing history. Bill Clinton won 1992 and 1996 fair and square. Sometimes, you have to abandon principles for votes. Bill Clinton told Kerry to back gay marriage state bans. He said that it was the issue in 2004 to Kerry. Kerry didn't heed his warning, and now he is running for reelection, for SENATE that is, not President. The fact is, Bill Clinton is right, was right, and to deny his success and to not listen to him is to ignore history, and re-write it. It is also to delude oneself on how to actually get 270 electoral votes. Thats not saying I supported the DLC on Iraq and playing nice with Bush, but no one is perfect. I don't see why they are treated as the devil so much. We needed them at one point.
Not to mention, What is wrong with that assumption? Let us see: In 1992, George Bush Sr consistently had approval ratings in the 40's and 30's. Take a look at http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/d ocuments/info-presapp0605-31.html and look at Bush's rating during that year. Also, because WSJ is a conservative source, it is gonna make the conservatives look better, and inflates his numbers. Never before has a party been re-elected to the White House with such numbers. Examples include Stevenson in 1952, HHH in 1968, Gerry Ford in 1976, and Jimmy Carter in 1980. So approvals alone help discredit this myth. But lets examine more. Bush winning ignores huge historical precedent. However, if we had nominated Kerrey or Tsongas, seeing how anti-incumbent and even congressional anti-incumbent sentiment was strong in '92, Bush may have been able to paint them as the incumbent. It could have been 1994 two years earlier.
I have yet to see any actually substantial evidence of the contrary. Countless conservative books, and even people on DKos, where I cross posted this, say "many political scientists" and say Perot swung things. Too bad that is as general as "some people say" which is what Fox News does. Ever seen OutFoxed? When people use that meme, they also never cite anyone credible, either they cite no one, or some conservative. So stop giving bullshit credence.