For those like me who think macro-variables are most important to the outcome of national political campaigns, a new book by two political scientists will warm your hearts (even if you wish the election had turned out differently). The book, by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck, is titled The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 Presidential Election. Here is a relevant point in a recent LA Times review:
As Vavreck and Sides say, there were no “game changers” in the 2012 campaign but instead a lot of “game samers.” The country began the election season divided between partisan camps and ended it that way. The economy grew slowly but fast enough to make the incumbent the favorite. The rare moments of drama — the videotape of Romney disparaging 47% of the population as “takers,” Obama’s listless performance at the first debate — actually moved relatively few voters and largely canceled each other out.
Of course, this still doesn’t justify the silliness of Republican party insiders and primary voters choosing the godfather of ObamaCare as its standard-bearer (not to mention all of the other big negatives about Romney). It just tells us any Republican would have had a steep climb and that campaign horse races are less important than the punditocracy make them out to be.