Election Prediction: The Only One You Need to Know
The official prediction (as of today) of America’s most accurate and least well-known political analyst: Romney wins the popular vote 52-47. He wins the electoral college by 277-261.
The presidential election is going to come down to five states: Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire. (Among those that Real Clear Politics has reckoned as toss-ups, I give Romney Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado, while I give Obama Michigan and Pennsylvania.) The other five really could go either way. But in my estimation, I see Romney winning Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire, with Obama picking up Ohio and Nevada. So there really is a way for Romney to win without the Buckeye State.
Here’s why: the “fundamentals of the election,” as the president referred to them a couple of weeks ago, have never been good for Obama. I don’t have to rehearse all the bad economic indicators–everyone knows that the economy is in bad shape, that Obama has done little that has made a difference, and that the economy and unemployment are the two biggest issues in voters’ minds.
Those fundamentals haven’t changed, and the fact that Obama has been unable to get over about 47% in terms of popular vote is the best indication that the majority of the electorate is ready for a change. The only question has always been whether they would vote for his challenger. That’s why the president’s entire campaign has been about demonizing the Republican. He is counting on the undecided voter’s choice coming down to the devil he knows and the one he doesn’t.
That’s why the first debate was so important. It shattered the Obama-built mythology of Romney as an uncaring, robotic, plutocratic vulture capitalist whose only concern was getting bigger tax breaks for his ultra-rich friends. Once Romney became a viable alternative, his popular vote victory was assured.
The electoral college, however, is far less certain. Obama’s campaign has come down to a narrow focus on a handful of toss-up states and a slim slice of the electorate. At this point, the only people he cares about are 1) disenchanted liberals who may sit it out rather than hold their noses and vote for Obama; 2) socially liberal but economically moderate-to-conservative women who can still be scared into voting with their “lady parts” rather than on the economic issues that really concern them; and 3) young people who would vote for Obama if they did, but can’t even remember what day the election is on. Those are the people that the Big Bird/binders/birth control campaign has been directed at, which is to say that it is about one last push to make Romney unelectable.
That strategy can make it closer than it should be, but it can’t win. That’s especially the case because Obama lost independents back in 2009, and they have never come back. He’s going to suffer at least a 15% turn-around in the independent vote, and I don’t think there’s any way he can turn out enough Democrats to make up that difference. When you combine that with the fact that Republicans are going to turn out in bigger numbers than they did four years ago (Bush fatigue combined with a candidate lots of Republicans disliked suppressed that vote, while even those who don’t particularly care for Romney are going to turn out in droves just to get Obama out of the White House), that’s the ballgame.
Now, this is all seven days out, and there’s ample time for change (that’s especially the case if the mainstream media decides to stop sucking their collective thumbs and actually do some reporting on the scandal in Libya, which is going to destroy some careers even if the president is re-elected). So I’ll be back on Monday with a final look at what’s likely to happen on Tuesday. But unless Romney does something really, really stupid, the only thing that is likely to change in the next week is the growth in his margin of victory.
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