There is an appropriate amount of moaning and soul searching over the election in 2012, and I plan to do some myself as soon as my wrists heal, but there's a point I really would like to examine, a hypothesis I would really like to see falsified.
Here it is: Mitt Romney's membership in the Church of Latter Day Saints may have turned the election.
Certainly plenty of other things helped, from Sandy to the really shameless bias of the legacy media. But there's this one thing about the election....
You may recall, I was predicting a Romney blowout, based on the really odd party ID split -- the Rasmusses party ID was +6 Republican, the polls were finding samples of +6 or more D. The final turnout was about +6 D. Now, I know I said on more than one occasion that no matter what, the polls were going to be wrong, because they were contradictory, but we didn't know which way. I guessed wrong.
The real vote, though, as Rick Moran pointed out, wan't that far apart -- one of the features of the Electoral College is that it turns small margins into bigger elector margins, which makes nationwide recounts unnecessary. The total number of votes by which the Republicans lost is in the neighborhood of a million.
And GOP turnout was 14 million less than 2008. More people self-identified as Republicans than any time since 2004; 14 million fewer Republicans voted than in 2008. I think we have to consider the possibility there was a reverse-Bradley effect here: a whole bunch of Republicans just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a Mormon.
I hope it's not true, and if there is an afterlife of punishment, I think Andrew Sullivan (among others) tilted their scores heavily that direction by the glaring anti-Mormon bigotry they exhibited in the last days of the election. But I sure would like to know why I should believe it's not true.