Editor’s Note: This entire column might be tossed in the garbage by Hurricane Sandy. The storm could build support for the White House and federal relief efforts or it could leave voters with a sour taste in their mouth on Election Day. Additionally, the storm could delay Election Day entirely in many places. A disaster of this magnitude landing directly on a presidential election is unprecedented, so all predictions are wading into the deep here.
In one week the final votes will be cast in the United States presidential election. Four years ago President Barack Obama was voted into office atop a wave of anti-Bush sentiment. The charismatic young senator from Illinois captured the hearts and minds of millions. Voter turnout among youth and minority demographics was at an all-time high. Sarah Palin was out there, doing her thing. It was a crushing electoral victory.
Today, while the charisma and charm are still apparent, the luster of candidacy has given way to the lull of incumbency. A new challenger has come to the fore and assumed Obama’s mantel of “hope and change” that was so successful in 2008. Who will Americans choose to be their president in 2012?
My gut instinct and reading of the metrics still leans toward President Obama. I predict 294 votes for the president and 244 for his challenger. The final map can be seen here.
I predict that Mr. Romney will narrowly win Florida and Colorado while fairly comfortably cruising to victory in right-leaning North Carolina. The voter turnout operations of the Obama campaign in those states will certainly keep things close, but this is a winner-take-all system and close just doesn’t count. President Obama will then sweep up the rest of the swing states – Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.
There is a very slim chance that Mr. Romney will take the national popular vote but lose the Electoral College. This possibility will become more prevalent if Hurricane Sandy keeps people from voting on time in deep blue states like New York and New Jersey.
This isn’t bluster or blind PRObama sympathizing. President Obama ought to win most of these swing states (particularly Wisconsin and Pennsylvania). His bailout of the auto industry is very popular in the Midwest. Meanwhile, Iowa grants the Romney campaign few natural advantages in this race. Mitt Romney was barely able to out-duel Rick Santorum’s unguided lunacy in the Iowa Caucus just months ago. Nevada is only nominally a swing state and should easily lean to Obama. New Hampshire seems unlikely to fall for the Republican campaign this late in the election cycle.
President Obama has a superior ground game in all of the battleground states, particularly in ultra-important Ohio. Organizing for America has been on the ground in many states for four or five years. Obama campaign teams have been working Get Out the Vote operations for the 2012 election for more than a year. More people will be willing to go and stand in those lines on Election Day now that they are guaranteed a shorter wait thanks to hundreds of thousands of voters removing themselves from the polling place. Furthermore, the accessibility of early voting takes thousands of people who would otherwise be standing in line and makes them available to help turnout operations in the lead up to the election.
The outcome will be very close in many of the swing states, but so long as we don’t have vote-rigging shenanigans (see: Ohio 2004) the majority should go Obama on November 6th.
And if not, well sh*t, the American electorate just doomed the Middle East to a brand new war and sunk the domestic economy all over again. Every single Republican President has expanded the national debt (even the only good one, Eisenhower). Expect that trend to hold true.