Daniel W. Drezner

Quick hits on the 2012 U.S. election

So I woke up this morning to see that Barack Obama was re-elected with numbers that looked an awful lot like what Nate Silver et al said they would be.  So, what does this mean?  A few things:  1)  Hopefully, political science will start to bleed into political coverage in the media in the same ...

So I woke up this morning to see that Barack Obama was re-elected with numbers that looked an awful lot like what Nate Silver et al said they would be.  So, what does this mean?  A few things: 

1)  Hopefully, political science will start to bleed into political coverage in the media in the same way that sabermetrics has successfully been grafted onto baseball coverage.  This would be a very, very, very good thing.  Seriously, it would be awesome if the Sunday morning talk shows actually started incorporating some political scientists into their roundtables as a matter of course. 

2)  A glance at the exit polls showed that Obama won the foreign policy question pretty handily.  Only five percent of respondents thought that foreign policy was the most critical issue in this campaign — but of those five percent, voters went for Obama over Romney by 56% to 33%.  Voters were also more likely to trust Barack Obama in an international crisis (57%-42%) than Mitt Romney (50%-46%). 

This is the first exit poll in at least three decades where the Democrat has outperformed the Republican on foreign policy and national security.  And I guarantee that whoever runs from the GOP side in 2016 will not have a ton of foreign policy experience.  The GOP has managed to squander an advantage in perceived foreign policy competency that it had owned for decades.  This — combined with shifts on social issues and demographics — will be a problem that the Republicans are going to need to address.

3)  It was interesting that Obama mentioned climate change in his acceptance speech. 

4)  Second-term presidents tend to pay more attention to foreign affairs, particularly as their lame duck status kicks in.  Obama will be no different.  Once the fiscal cliff issues are addressed, I predict that foreign economic policy will take the lead

So I woke up this morning to see that Barack Obama was re-elected with numbers that looked an awful lot like what Nate Silver et al said they would be.  So, what does this mean?  A few things: 

1)  Hopefully, political science will start to bleed into political coverage in the media in the same way that sabermetrics has successfully been grafted onto baseball coverage.  This would be a very, very, very good thing.  Seriously, it would be awesome if the Sunday morning talk shows actually started incorporating some political scientists into their roundtables as a matter of course. 

2)  A glance at the exit polls showed that Obama won the foreign policy question pretty handily.  Only five percent of respondents thought that foreign policy was the most critical issue in this campaign — but of those five percent, voters went for Obama over Romney by 56% to 33%.  Voters were also more likely to trust Barack Obama in an international crisis (57%-42%) than Mitt Romney (50%-46%). 

This is the first exit poll in at least three decades where the Democrat has outperformed the Republican on foreign policy and national security.  And I guarantee that whoever runs from the GOP side in 2016 will not have a ton of foreign policy experience.  The GOP has managed to squander an advantage in perceived foreign policy competency that it had owned for decades.  This — combined with shifts on social issues and demographics — will be a problem that the Republicans are going to need to address.

3)  It was interesting that Obama mentioned climate change in his acceptance speech. 

4)  Second-term presidents tend to pay more attention to foreign affairs, particularly as their lame duck status kicks in.  Obama will be no different.  Once the fiscal cliff issues are addressed, I predict that foreign economic policy will take the lead

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. He blogged regularly for Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2014. Twitter: @dandrezner

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