I’ve noticed something interesting over the last week or so: the absence of Obama bumper stickers. (And I’ve been in some very fierce Obama strongholds over the last few days, ranging from San Francisco to Los Angeles.) I’d actually noticed this absence before, but I figured that Democrats were sitting tight, waiting for the Republicans to finish up with their circular firing squad (aka the primaries).
“Surely once there’s an official Republican candidate, the Obama bumper stickers will appear,” I thought to myself.
I thought wrong. We’re in election season for real now, and the bumpers on the cars on the road are peculiarly silent. I see a lot of faded Obama 2008 stickers, but only the smallest handful of Obama 2012 bumper stickers. Maybe, with the Obama economy, people cannot afford new bumper stickers and are recycling their old ones. Or maybe, just maybe, the Obama’s supporters aren’t quite so supportive this time around.
I don’t think Obama’s former supporters, the 2008 enthusiasts, will ever vote for Romney. What I think will happen is that, actively or passively, they’ll abstain. The absentee ballot will never emerge from the junk mail pile, the clock will tick by on voting day while the voter keeps being “too busy” to vote yet, etc. Some will just say “a plague on both your houses.”
Obama’s margin in 2008 came about because of voter enthusiasm. With that enthusiasm gone, no matter what the polling shows, I think his former fans just won’t be showing up to pull the lever or fill in the bubble.