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Hullabaloo


Monday, November 05, 2012

 
My Presidential Electoral Prediction

by David Atkins

Since it would be unfair to conservative analysts projecting a big Romney win without going out on a limb myself, here is my final prediction for posterity:

Obama 294, Romney 244. Obama wins popular vote by 1.2 percentage points. My one hedge is Colorado which I consider an ever-so-slight edge for Romney, but could easily land in the President's lap, turning the margin into a 303-235 landslide.

You can play with your own map at here. Here's mine:



As we go through the states I'll begin geographically with the Southeast in Florida, and move northwest from there.

Florida (29 EVs): Romney. The TPM poll average is R+1.5. The early vote numbers are looking good for Obama, but the voter suppression efforts combined with residual damage among seniors over the lies about the Affordable Care Act stealing money from Medicare will likely be enough to keep Florida in Romney's column.

North Carolina (15 EVs): Romney. The TPM poll average is R+1.2. North Carolina only tilted toward Obama by half a percentage point in 2008. While early vote efforts in North Carolina by Democratic and allied groups have been nothing short of heroic, it's hard to imagine that the President can withstand the GOP push.

Virginia (13 EVs): Obama. The TPM average is O+1.8. Virginia perhaps more than any other heavily contested swing state has been surging in Obama's direction in recent polls. The unemployment rate in Virginia is low by national standards, and north Virginia Democrats are among the best organized in the country. Virginia is going to be increasingly reliably Democratic and progressive in the new national realignment. Keep in mind that the loss of Virginia alone essentially dooms the Romney campaign. When the media call Virginia for Obama comes in around 10-11pm Eastern Time, that will be the guarantee of Obama's electoral college victory nationwide.

Pennsylvania (20 EVs): Obama. The TPM poll average is O+4. Only the laughable outlier Republican pollster Susquehanna has shown Romney within real striking distance of Pennsylvania. So why is it part of the national conversation? Because Romney desperately needs it to be, and because Pennsylvania doesn't vote early. Romney's path to 270 is so fraught with peril everywhere else the he needs a miracle in PA to make up for losses elsewhere. But since Romney's only real chance at 270 comes from systematic polling failure and a last-minute surge, the fact that Pennsylvania doesn't vote early means that it's actually more reasonable ground for hope than other states where early voting has made Romney's needed comeback margin more difficult among the shrinking populations of Election Day voters remaining. Still, the Democratic lean of the state makes this is a very tough play for Romney.

New Hampshire (4 EVs): Obama. The TPM poll average for NH is O+2.8. New Hampshire is famously quirky and difficult to poll. As a Massachusetts Rockefeller Republican, Romney might have been poised to take the state. But Romney's "severe conservative" move to the right in the primaries will have made New Hampshire difficult ground. Also, immigration to New Hampshire from surrounding areas has made the state more in line with its fellow New England progressive states in recent years.

Ohio (18 EVs): Obama. TPM poll average is O+3. The crown jewel of the national race, Ohio also has 1 in 8 citizens who work in the auto industry or ancillary jobs. Romney's callous disregard for auto industry jobs and call for Detroit to go bankrupt, combined with Obama's successful bailout of the American auto industry, is putting Ohio largely out of reach for the challenger and keeping that way. Romney's desperate lies about Jeep sending jobs to China have been smacked down by the auto companies themselves, leading the press to get off their usual objectivity fence and excoriate the Romney campaign for its mendacity. Combine that with the Obama campaign's vaunted Ohio ground game and labor anger against Governor Kasich, and you have the recipe for a narrow but clear Obama victory in the state. Romney has very few paths to victory that don't include Ohio, obviously.

Michigan (16 EVs): Obama. With a TPM average of O+4.4, its liberal lean plus Romney's abandonment of the auto industry not including car elevators means that Michigan has never really been credible as a swing state.

Wisconsin (10EVs): Obama. TPM poll average of O+5.3. Wisconsin shifted strongly toward Romney after his inclusion of Paul Ryan on the ticket, but it won't be enough to matter. Conservatives have been given false hope in Wisconsin by Scott Walker's wins, but it's false hope in the presidential cycle. The exit polls during the Walker battles showed a large number of crossover Obama-Walker voters. The GOP had hoped that those Obama-Walker voters would become Romney-Walker voters. Not so. Public distrust of the labor movement in some areas and demographics doesn't necessarily translate to acceptance of the GOP economic and social program. Wisconsin will stay comfortably in Obama's column.

Iowa (6 EVs): Obama. TPM poll average of O+2.3. While Iowa's predominantly white demographics makes it theoretically fertile territory for a Republican winning 60% of the white vote nationally, Iowa is the state that launched Obama's presidential career and has shown a strong disinclination against abandoning him. The President doesn't need Iowa's votes to win, but he'll get them by a narrow margin, anyway.

Colorado (9 EVs): Tie/Romney. TPM poll average of O+2.8. So if Obama has a nearly three-point average lead in Colorado, why give it to Romney? For a few reasons: 1) PPP has been considerably more bullish for Obama in Colorado than other pollsters, leading me to question its methodology there; 2) Romney's early vote numbers in Colorado are looking impressive with a current Republican lead there (in other states Republicans are crowing somewhat amusingly about their improved early vote performance versus '08. In Colorado, however, they're actually ahead in the early vote); the state has been considerably more Romney-leaning than other western states with similar demographics, which leads me to think there's something cultural happening there. If Obama does win, it will be due to undercounting of the Latino vote in the state combined with the potential pull of Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Nevada (6 EVs): Obama. With a TPM average of O+4.7, an incredibly powerful Nevada Democratic/labor GOTV machine, a sizable Latino population, and thousands of California volunteers flooding into the state, Nevada has never really been in serious play for Romney desperate its significant Mormon population.

Oregon (7 EVS): Obama. Despite certain Republican fever dreams, Oregon and its O+6 TPM poll average aren't swinging anywhere.

And there you have it. If I'm wrong and Romney wins, I'll happily eat my share of crow. I suspect I won't be, and that it will be the George Wills and Peggy Noonans who will be embarrassed by Tuesday's results.

Except that they won't be embarrassed. The media organizations that pay their bills will still publish their drivel as if they had insight worth the paper they're printed on.


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