Election 2012

The Netroots Nation Crowd Is Not the Base

Revolution Messaging/Democracy Corps commissioned a straw poll for attendees at Netroots Nation. I hasten to underscore that I'm not criticizing Netroots Nation or the people who attended. I wish I could have been there myself. That said, Steve Singiser at Daily Kos wrote a piece about it yesterday and drew some odd conclusions. First the section of the poll Steve referenced:

Q.3 Please indicate if you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Strongly Approve: 27
Somewhat Approve: 53
Somewhat Disapprove: 13
Strongly Disapprove: 7

All things considered, 80 percent approval among hardcore progressive blog people is pretty damn good, considering the prevalence and influence of Glenn Greenwald and the firebaggers. However, Steve took a very different posture:

If that doesn't make the Obama re-elect team nervous, it probably should.

Look, the simple fact is that the NN11 attendees are going to vote for Obama. There is little doubt about that. A total of 96% of them identified themselves as "almost certain" to vote in November of 2012. And given some other stats in the poll dealing with the "cool/warm" spectrum, we can be reasonably certain that they aren't voting for the GOP (a stout 4.71 out of 100 on the temperature gauge).

But team Obama has to be concerned about more than just that. They have to be concerned about spit on envelopes, legs pounding pavement, fists knocking on doors, and dollars being stuffed in envelopes or exchanged online.

I seriously doubt the Obama campaign is nervous -- clearly because the Netroots Nation crowd is not the base. Progressive bloggers aren't the base. The people who knocked on doors and "spit on envelopes" were predominantly first-time volunteers. Ordinary Americans who don't know (or care) who Markos or Jane or Atrios or Greenwald are. They're people who will now qualify for Medicaid due to the president's healthcare reform bill. They're people who received the president's middle class tax cut in the stimulus.

They're people who will probably return to the campaign as volunteers in 2012.

Maybe not with the electricity of 2008 -- but only because incumbent campaigns are never as electric as a first-time campaign. The president doesn't have that underdog quality we find so attractive in an insurgent campaign. That's just the way incumbent campaigns work. It doesn't have anything to do with the enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm (80 percent is still quite strong) of progressive bloggers.