Maiello's Book-Almost Hits the Metaphorical Stands
Miami Fans Mistakenly Chant "Let's Go Eat" During Playoff Game
Please join me Tuesday for a liveblog of the 2012 election. I have already explained in a separate post why I predict that Democrats will pick up one seat in an uphill Senate cycle. This blog details my view of the current state of the Presidential race, which explains why I believe President Obama is certain to win re-election, as well as the states and electoral vote total I think he will win. Would love to hear your different predictions, if any. Here we go:
The History of This Race: Obama Pulls Away At the Wire
The last two-and-one-half months of this race now have a narrative structure that is complete. We saw the selection of Paul Ryan enthuse the GOP base but fail to achieve a definable bounce, other than perhaps a one point move to Governor Romney. The Republican convention was ineffectual, particularly in its failure to focus on Governor Romney and sell him, culminating in the misappropriation of its final night to create the empty chair meme when it should have been selling the Governor's life story and vision. The Democratic convention was focused and on message, and helped drive the gender gap wider, and also bring independent voters home to the President and the party's candidates.
The gap between the party conventions spurred a bounce of roughly five points for President Obama, putting him in front by 6 or so nationally. This bounce was further fueled and extended by Romney's speaking out harshly on 9.11 based on the mistaken assertion that the Obama Adminstration was apologizing to extremists after being attacked, followed by the more consequential 47% comments. The race appeared unwinnable for Romney, as he trailed by up to 10 in Ohio.
Romney's bright moment came in Denver, as he outshone a lethargic President Obama in the first debate. It was scored as a win by a whopping 72/20 polling margin -- a record margin of victory in such an event. President Obama's lead dwindled, and Governor Romney came to lead in some national tracking polls by midOctober. Yet even then, Romney/Ryan never led in Nevada, Wisconsin, or Ohio, without which they were not "leading" in the Presidential election as it will be scored. Vice President Joe Biden reprised some of the interruptive aggression that Romney had used well in Denver, and beat Rep. Ryan in their debate. The second debate, headlined by Romney's mistake on Libya, Candy Crowley's correction of it, and Obama's strikingly more aggressive manner, was scored a victory for the President. The third debate, in which Romney reprised Al Gore's illogical choice to radically vary his tone debate-to-debate, was a dismal failure for Romney, as time and again he meekly agreed with the President, flip-flopped on a hard withdrawal date for Afghanistan. Gallup found that by a 24 point margin, voters thought Obama won this one.
With that, the tide turned. As I showed here, in week-over-week polling, Obama moved up in the swing states, showing significantly better from October 23-29 than he had from October 16-22. Then came Superstorm Sandy, its devastation, and the federal government's unKatrina-like staging of needed supplies before the storm arrived, and effective movement of them into forward areas quickly. Unlike Katrina, Americans by vast margins saw an effective federal response. Governor Christie worked closely with President Obama, praising his response and memorably embracing him as the President arrived. The President exhibited a Clintonian touch, holding and consoling a New Jersey storm victim and telling her it was going to be ok and that help would get to her quickly. During the last week, the polls rose further. Pew Research, which showed Obama up 51-43 during his September bounce, showed Romney up 49-45 after his Denver bounce, and tied after the latter debates 47-47, this evening shows Obama up 50-47.
The President was going to win the Electoral College whatever the popular vote split at the time of the 47-47 Pew survey, but with Pew, Rasmussen, and WaPo all showing further movement to President Obama, it seems clear that the President now leads the average of national polls (which was not true during midOctober, regardless of the Electoral College advantage he held). That motion is additive, providing a further layer of advantage to what would be an Obama Electoral College victory even in a popular vote tie.
Realizing that Ohio is almost certainly not an option for him, Governor Romney has thrown a bit of money and time at Pennsylvania, in service of creating the idea that he could win there. This claim is self-refuting. If Pennsylvania is a good place for Romney, he should have devoted some energy or time to that before November. He did not. The silly Baydoun/Foster polls (they found a 15 point lead for Romney in Florida at one point!) to the contrary, Michigan is likewise not in play.
Get ready to start thinking about whether Hillary will run in 2016, if the Democrats can retake the House in 2014, whether troops will come home sooner from Afghanistan than previously planned, funding Obamacare, the fiscal cliff, and other things. This one is baked.
Obama's Path to 332 EVs (50.6% PV), Romney's to 206 EVs (48.3%).
Without further ado, here are my predictions, swing-state by swing-state (Obama/Romney):
Minnesota 53/45 (+7.5)
Nevada 53/46 (+6.5)
Michigan 52/47 (+5.5)
Wisconsin 52/47 (+5.0)
Pennsylvania 52/47 (+4.8)
Iowa 51/48 (+3.2)
Ohio 51/48 (+2.8)
Colorado 50/48 (+2.5)
New Hampshire 50/48 (+2.2)
Virginia 50/49 (+0.9)
Florida 49/49 (+0.1)
North Carolina 48/50 (-1.9)
Arizona 46/52 (-6.8)
Indiana 46/54 (-7.6)
Georgia 46/54 (-7.8)
Thus, expect only Indiana, North Carolina, and the lone electoral vote represented by the Congressional district containing Omaha, Nebraska to change from Democratic to Republican hands. Florida appears to be too close to call, with early voting favoring Democrats despite a more restrictive window for early voting. While Romney leads very narrowly in the average of polls, the average of polls modestly underpredicted candidate Obama's performance in 2008. Happily, a razor-thin margin in Florida would not be conjoined with Florida again being our tipping point state, an honor that should go (fittingly, given its place in this campaign) to Ohio.