"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Electoral College Projection

While I've not had time to write as extensively on the election as I did in 2008, I have been following very closely. Below I would like to give my electoral college projections for tonight's election. I will start with the same phrase virtually every journalist has in the last week, I'm not sure who is going to win tonight. In 2008, my final projection was a "best case scenario" for John McCain, which still had him losing. I couldn't see a way to 270 votes for him. 2012 is very different. I still think Obama is the favorite to pull this out, but Romney created a path for himself in the first debate. Without further ado, here are the projections. Romney will win comfortably in the heartland, Big Sky country, and the Deep South. He will also claim Arizona and the Tennessee Valley states totaling 191 electoral votes. Obama will carry the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast (New Hampshire possibly excepted, see below), the west coast, New Mexico, Illinois, and Michigan. Bringing his total number of EV to 217. Obviously, this makes the road to 270 easier for the president, which is why I think he is still the favorite. I basically see 10 states in play. I do not buy any chance of a Romney win in Minnesota or Michigan. Nor do I see Obama picking off the 1 electoral vote from Nebraska's Omaha district. Here are my thoughts on the ten states below, with a winner picked in each one. North Carolina-From the beginning of this election, I thought Indiana and North Carolina would go solidly for the whomever the Republican candidate was. The states were too red in 2004 to support a democrat in a non-wave election. Obama carried both states by less than 1 percent in 2008. However, the president has had some impressive staying power in NC. While he will probably not win here (I think owing to tamped down enthusiasm among young voters at NC's expansive university system) the fact that he made Romney spend time and money here is strategically important. 15 votes for Romney. Florida-The state that so many predicted would slip the president's way after the Paul Ryan VP pick had other ideas. Florida was again a state that the president did not win definitively in 2008. Just 2.5 percentage points separated he and a very weak candidate, John McCain. Recent polling has been fairly consistent that Obama will lose this big prize. 29 votes to Romney Virginia-Several weeks ago there was a flurry of articles indicating that the Obama campaign was conceding losses in VA, NC, and FL. This meant a much closer race than prior to the first debate. Romney had a real shot at winning the electoral college. But while Bush won VA in 2008 by 8 percent and it is a traditionally red state, Obama has maintained a narrow advantage in state polling. He has lead in 9 of the last 10 polls of the state...albeit barely. However, that kind of consistency has to mean something. A number of columnists have pointed out to low early voter turnout in democratic strongholds of Northern Virginia. But I think that, while this might be the closest vote in the entire country tonight, Obama wins. 13 Votes for Obama. That would give Romney a 235-230 vote lead in the electoral college. New Hampshire-The one Northeast holdout (unless you count PA) is set to go Obama. Romney should be doing better here. This was his firewall in the primaries. He owns a house here. He spends his summers here. But he simply has never been able to close the deal. The polling here again shows a small but consistent lead for the president. 4 votes for Obama Iowa-This state has been a trap for Romney since 2008 when Mike Huckabee came out of nowhere, upsetting Romney's tremendous organization in the state in the GOP primary. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul again kept him from garnering all of the Iowa delegates in 2012. Along with New Mexico, Iowa was one of the traditional battleground states where everyone knew John McCain never had a chance. The state was Obama's then, I believe it is now also. 6 votes for Obama Ohio-Much ink has been spilled on the importance of this state. Republicans have never won the presidency without it. The auto bailout seems to have put Obama in position (possibly helped by Romney's 47% comment) to win Ohio. While I thought Catholics in Ohio would turn on Obama (and they have) and that white working class voters might think twice about pulling the lever for Obama, it has not been enough. Like New Hampshire and Virginia, the state is close but I think it's Obama's. 18 votes for Obama Colorado-This week's polling has shown Obama re-emerging with a very small lead. However, the president's team weeks ago wrote off Colorado as a sure thing. In fact, they seemed less certain of a win here than in any of the southern 3, FL, NC, or Virginia. Some of Romney's rallies here have also been overwhelming. I think Colorado will shift back to the red column for this year. 9 votes to Romney That would mean a 258-244 lead for the president in the electoral college. IT also means that Romney would have to win both Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Wisconsin-I think Romney pulls off the upset here. It's close. Romney's internals, released last night, show him tied with Obama. Paul Ryan represents a democratic district in a democratic state. If he can carry his district, I think Romney wins here. Wisconsin has certainly jerked rightward with Scott Walker winning his recall election and Russ Feingold being booted from the senate. It'll come down to the wire, but I predict a narrow win for Romney. 10 votes for Romney Nevada-Those afore mentioned Romney internals showed him trailing in Nevada. I'm not aware of any public polling showing Romney ahead and early voting in Clark County, the democratic stronghold has been on pace. The expansive Mormon vote in the state will keep it close, but I think Obama by 5 or 6 in Nevada. 6 votes for Obama Pennsylvania-Romney has been making a strong effort here in the closing days of this election. The race for these 20 votes has narrowed much in the last two weeks. Most public polling still shows this race as Obama's to lose and the fact that no Republican has won this state in the last 5 elections casts doubt on Romney's hopes. I believe that Romney knows that his chances in Ohio have waned. He needs another state. This seemed like the best shot. I would not be shocked if Romney wins, but I would be surprised. 20 votes for Obama 284-254 in favor of the president is my projection. I will point out, that of the 10 tossup states, I truly feel 100% confident in only North Carolina, Florida, and Nevada. The other 7 states could go either way. If Romney were going to win, the most likely paths would be a narrow win VA combined with a win in either NH or IA. I could actually see that. But I'm sticking with the 284-254 projection. Let me know your thoughts.

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