Final Electoral Update 2012

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the Eastern Seaboard as the 2012 presidential election reaches its most feverish pitch, and there is a torrent of prognostication out there.  With roughly two weeks left before the 2012 presidential election there is still a lot of bluster about who will win. My blog space is no exception, but the reader should rest assured that your author came within a handful of seats in the 2010 mid-terms of predicting a perfect 63 seat swing.  This in the face of myriad pundits and political analysts who called my careful estimates wishful thinking, bordering on homerism and insanity.  Rest assured, Exile reader, though I clearly favor Mitt Romney, this is purely objective.

Mitt Romney has a clear advantage in the popular vote, holding onto about a 51-47 advantage. When undecideds are factored in on Election Day, the majority of undecideds choose the challenger in 82% of elections, so that number should widen just a little bit, probably to 52-48. This doesn’t amount to a hill of beans without a victory in the Electoral College which requires 270 electoral votes (for those of you who are curious, an election which is tied in the Electoral College gets kicked to the House, where Mitt Romney would undoubtedly win due to the enormous Republican advantage there). In one final election update here, I will try to project the final tally.

The color coded electoral map here shows the safe Republican states for candidate Romney in dark red. These are states which Romney will likely win by more than 10 points. A middling shade of red denotes states in which Romney will probably win by between 5 to 10 percentage points. A very light shade highlights states which will be very close, but Romney will eke out a win of between zero and five points. In dark blue, safe states for President Obama’s camp are shown, and likewise the mid-blue and light blue reflect states closer to toss ups. Neither candidate has yet gained enough safe electoral votes to reach the necessary 270 votes to win the presidency. In the map, Romney has established what I consider a safe lead in states giving him 244 electoral votes (though Romney is shown winning Florida, Colorado and North Carolina by 5-10 points, Obama has virtually no chance of winning them). Obama has accrued 201 electoral votes, leaving 77 electoral votes as ‘toss ups’, in eight states. This means that they are all contests with a margin between 0 and 5% percentage points, and their outcomes are in some doubt.

Let’s begin with the states that are no longer swing states after my last update:

FLORIDA:

Electoral Votes: 29

Last Election: 5148

Currently: 5048

The Skinny: Romney has built in advantages and the lead here. Democrats have never received more than the 51% of the state’s vote there since 1976. Obama’s performance in Florida in 2008 trailed his 52% performance nationally, Romney leads by 2 to 3%, and has crossed the 50% threshold according to four of the last six non-partisan polls.  Romney has won Florida, and I expect the margin to be much wider November 6th.  This is no longer a swing state.

Final Result: 5247

COLORADO:

Electoral Votes: 9

Last Election: 5445

Currently: 4947

The Skinny: Colorado is Romney’s to lose. The youth and hispanic turnout in this state will not likely equal those of the last election and enthusiasm among Republican voters is unprecedented. Colorado is a state where demographics are changing, as Hispanic voters (42% increase in the voter rolls from 2000 to 2010) and hipsters and yuppies of all sorts have deluged the state in the last several years, but Colorado is a red state in this election. It seems that Colorado will still be close, but Romney is shown at 50% already by Rasmussen and leads 49%-47% overall. Romney will win Colorado by 5% and this is no longer a swing state in my book.

Final Result: 5247

And next, we will introduce the state I had dropped off of my swing state tally after the last update, but which is making a triumphant return:

MICHIGAN:

Electoral Votes: 16

Last Election: 5741

Currently: 4845

The Skinny:  I had very early on expressed some hope that Michigan would be contested closely, but thought that Obama would probably win a close contest.  A month ago, it looked like the auto-bailouts, combined with a Romney campaign which failed to contest the state, had overcome Romney’s roots as the son of a popular Governor and had resulted in Obama amassing an insurmountable nearly 10 point advantage. More recent polling by a democrat polling firm and by Denno Research of nearly 2,000 likely voters after the three debates has shown not only a close Michigan race, but one where the president is only carrying 44% to 47% of the vote.  If those numbers are accurate, Obama will lose Michigan.  However, given the state’s demographics and history, I have to say that the actual numbers are somewhere between the two polls which showed Obama at 44% and 47% and two other recent polls by Rasmussen and EPIC of 1,300 likely voters which said the president carried 52%.  Michigan is a toss up, and Romney can definitely win there if the chips fall in his favor, but I still think Michigan is a state Obama will likely win by 2 to 3%

 Final Result: 5148

Electoral Tally: 217244

Next, on to the other seven swing states:

VIRGINIA:

Electoral Votes: 13

Last Election: 5246

Currently: 4947

The Skinny:  Obama still polls well below 50%, Romney is shown up by a point or two in the most recent polls by Rasmussen and FOX, and Obama has been polling right around 47%. Considering demographics, history and Romney’s lead with independents, Romney has a slight, but stable and solid lead in the Old Dominion and appears to be in a position unchanged after all three debates.  Romney’s current standing ahead of Obama at 49-47% is quite solid when accounting for undecideds, who for all intents should be considered Romney votes. Romney will win by 3 to 4%, and though still slightly shaded red, Virginia is barely still a swing state.

Final Result: 5248

Electoral Tally: 217257

PENNSYLVANIA:

Electoral Votes: 20

Last Election: 5444

Currently: 4945

The Skinny: Pennsylvania was a state very early on that I claimed would be vulnerable in this election cycle if the Romney campaign sunk some hard campaign cash and face time into the state, especially since neighboring Ohio is such a big target. The recession hit Pennsylvania particularly hard just as Ohio and Michigan were affected. However, Romney’s campaign was late to the game and held a lot of their resources out of the Pennsylvania suburbs until very recently when polling started to show Obama garnering under 50% of the vote in the state. I was almost ready to declare that Pennsylvania was not a swing state at all after my last update, but a Susquehanna poll showed Romney trailing only by 2%, and subsequently actually showed Romney up by an equal margin, so I held off.  Romney can still win Pennsylvania, but he may have jumped into the game too late.  I expect that Pennsylvania will narrowly choose Obama, but some smart moves in the last weeks may prove to pull in states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.  I anticipate Obama will probably win by 2 to 3%.

Final Result: 5148

Electoral Tally: 237257

IOWA:

Electoral Votes: 6

Last Election: 54-44

Currently: 4848

The Skinny:  Stubbornly remaining very close, Iowa is a state that I did not expect to remain close, as most states where Obama polled weakly in the 47% range 6 months ago have by now landed safely in the Romney column.  However, Iowa has remained a very tight race, possibly a product of the fact that, aside from Ohio, Iowa may be the state that Obama has focused on most intensely.  Recent polling in Iowa probably shows that Obama has a soft advantage in a tie at 48%, well below 50%. Romney is still likely ahead, given Republican voter enthusiasm (Romney leads 52-45 among those who have already voted) in this cycle, but this should be a close race on election day.  I expect Romney to eke out a close win by 1-3%.

Final Result: 5049

Electoral Tally: 237263

NEVADA:

Electoral Votes: 6

Last Election: 5543

Currently: 5048

The Skinny:  Despite having one of the worst economies in the nation, Nevada Democrats have been outperforming their poll numbers by a point or two and held firm in 2010 to upset their GOP counterparts in the last election. Democrats have established a solid ground game in the state as well. I had expected these factors to contribute to the state drifting solidly toward Obama, much like New Mexico, but Nevada has stubbornly remained a toss-up. In fact, Obama only leads by an average margin of 50-48 in the most recent polling. With Romney’s lead among independents, and Obama’s organizational advantage in the state, this race is shaping up to be one of the closest in 2012. Romney can definitely win, but I think Obama will just barely edge Mitt here, by a percentage point or two. If Romney loses Ohio, wins in Nevada or Wisconsin are probably the only hope for Romney to win 270 (since Michigan and Pennsylvania, at that point, will probably also opt for Obama).

Final Result: 5049

Electoral Tally: 243263

WISCONSIN:

Electoral Votes: 10

Last Election: 5642

Currently: 4949

The Skinny:   Paul Ryan’s entry into the race, combined with the historic win by Governor Scott Walker in 2010 seem to have placed Wisconsin in a battleground role usually only occupied by states like Ohio and Virginia.  A prize like Wisconsin could be a difference maker for the Romney campaign, and he has been polling exceptionally well so far. I thought in my last update that the race was closer than many polling houses indicated, and so did the Obama campaign, which focused an intense effort in recent weeks to stem the Romney team’s advances.  Rasmussen and Marquette probably have it pretty accurately at about 49% apiece for Obama and Romney. In my last update I predicted that Obama might only win by a few thousand votes.  I still think the race could be decided by just a few thousand votes, but this time, I think Wisconsin will put the Romney team over the top.

Final Result: 5049

Electoral Tally: 243-273

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

Electoral Votes: 4

Last Election: 5445

Currently: 4948

The Skinny:  One of the closest races in the country and the only competitive race in New England (though Connecticut may only be a 5-6 point race). Obama managed to win by 9% in 2008 so there would need to be a large turnover from Obama’s 2008 constituency for Romney to win New Hampshire, and that is exactly what has happened.  Obama has failed to add to the 47 or 48% of folks committed to vote for him for months, and Romney is edging closer to 50% every day.  In 2006, Democrats gained control of both state houses and the state’s two Congressional seats, and retained them through the 2008 elections. in 2010, however, Republicans won two-thirds of the state legislative houses and both Congressional seats. This state has been in play for a while. My first update predicted a Romney win based on gut, and I’ve taken a lot of flack for that pick.  It now looks like Romney will win by 2 to 3%.

Final Result: 5149

Electoral Tally: 243277

OHIO:

Electoral Votes: 18

Last Election: 5148

Currently: 4948

The Skinny:  Ohio is the most important of the most important states in this election (Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Nevada). If Romney wins Ohio, he will definitely win the White House. If he loses the Buckeye State, Obama will probably get a second term. There are only three plausible scenarios where Romney wins without Ohio, and those include Romney winning Nevada and New Hampshire, winning Pennsylvania or winning Wisconsin. Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are not likely to go for Romney if Ohio doesn’t, leaving Romney a very narrow path to victory if he loses Ohio. However, Obama absolutely must win Ohio in order to win it all.  There are no other routes for Obama.  There is a distinct wall in the Ohio voter base of around 52% for Democrats, but that same wall stands at 51% for Republicans.  This state will be decided by less than 3 percentage points.  In my last update, I railed against the mainstream pollsters and prognosticators who were ready to call the state of Ohio for Barack Obama.  I pointed to numbers which were very bad omens for the president, even though most polls showed the president up by 5 to 10 points.  Romney crushes the president among independents (16% ahead of Obama).  This advantage buoys Romney’s numbers among late-deciders and is showing up in the last weeks of the election. Other warning signals are waving for the flagging Obama campaign.  Voter registration in this state’s election is down from the 2008 election by 490,000 voters, and 44% of that drop, according to FOX News, is in Cuyahoga County, where Democrats outnumber Cleveland Republicans by a 2-1 margin. Requests for absentee ballots in Ohio also favor Mitt Romney.  In the last election, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in these requests by 14 points.  This year, they lead by just 5 points.  Surges have been seen in Republican counties such as Franklin (Columbus) and Hamilton (Cincinnati), where ballot leads have stretched to 5% and 13% for Republicans.    As I have always said, the deader you get, the more likely you are to vote for Democrats.  Voter fraud combating efforts have shaved off 450,00 dead and duplicate registrations this year, which were mostly Democrats.  Lastly, 220,000 less Democrats have cast ballots this year, and 30,000 more Republicans have voted, representing a 250,000 vote swing. Considering Obama even in 2008 only won the state by 263,000 votes, this is very bad news for the Obama campaign.  All of this leads me to believe Romney will win by 1 to 2 percentage points.

Final Result: 5149

Electoral Tally: 243295

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3 Responses to Final Electoral Update 2012

  1. Dave says:

    Great analysis.

  2. Rob says:

    Rob says:
    August 21, 2012 at 12:15 am
    Tel you what. I will come back post election day and we will see how good you are.:)

    Well, it seems as if you were way off as I indicated back in August. The question is, can you now man up and admit your prognostications had a serious partisan slant on them and were more wishful thinking than reality?
    Or will you try to spin the whole thing as some kind of huge polling glitch?

    Rob

    • ubii2001 says:

      They were off. In part, because 3-5 million Republican voters did not turn out, as expected. A Gallup poll in 2011 found that 22% of voters would not vote for a Mormon candidate, and judging from the turnout numbers in places like southern Ohion and Virginia, that may be what happened. The 1-2% difference this created changed the party ID numbers more than expected. While Democrat enthusiasm was way down, it appears that silently Republican turnout was also dampened–who knows by what exactly, but I have a sneaking suspicion about it being his religion. There was no partisan slant on the polls, they were just wrong. However, given that 12% of voters made up their minds in the last week, the race could have just as easily gone to Romney had Sandy not occurred, as usually most undecideds break for the challenger. That did not actually happen this year. For a variety of reasons, the prediction was wrong. But not because of partisan bias.

      Thanks for coming back,
      David

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