A few of you have asked for this, and to be honest I didn’t want to do it because I haven’t had the time to really look at the polls as much as I wanted to the last couple of days. I did do a little checking today though, and feel better about making a prediction.1
First, let me give you the map and then I will go into my analysis:
A few general comments. The polls have been hard to gauge recently, mostly because I have not had access to the internals and cross-tabs as I would have liked. Also, a few people that I trust in their analysis have had some issues because of #Sandy, and so I haven’t had the ability to bounce ideas off of them. This map is based on two main premises. First: The voter turnout tomorrow will not look like 2008 and will more closely resemble 2004 or 2010. Most people that I trust agree with this, and the basis for this idea is Rasmussen’s recent Voter ID Survey:
Dan McLaughlin has a good run down of what this Ras-graph means in terms of turnout. His theory is one that I, and others adhere to: If the electorate looks anything like 2004 or 20102 Romney should be the winner.
Second, the GOTV story will be the story of the day. This seems like an obvious statement, but Romney needs a strong Republican turn out and independents. They can’t carry one another, and he needs both. Based on what we have seen in the polls this should be the case.
Bottom line: Romney 51.2% to Obama 48.2% – this is a lofty projection, but if my theories hold then this is how it will look. As the electorate moves to D & D+1,2,3… that gap closes. To me the tipping point is about a D+2.5/3. I am nervous at D+2.
I will talk swing states here, giving more attention to the states that I think are more in question.
Florida seems to be Romney’s. There was a little campaigning here and while it is always close as McLaughlin states, there are no indications either in the polls or in campaign stops that says this goes to Obama. Romney will have to carry this along with North Carolina and Virginia. There is always the possibility that Obama pulls off VA, but if that is the case, it might be a short night for Romney as it could be an indication of things to come.
New Hampshire, Colorado, and Nevada. Romney takes the first two, while Obama takes Nevada. I include these for Romney for the same reason McLaughlin does, that if Romney wins it means independents and R+ turnout is happening. If that is the case, these two states should fall just on his side of things, giving him these states. Nevada is Obama’s, and although was in striking distance, didn’t get much attention because of distance and small number of votes.
Pennsylvania: Lots of talk about this state. Was it ever really in play? I think to some degree it was. I think it was also clever to start putting it in play once Tom Smith running for Senate closing the gap there. It seems both he and Romney are riding a bit of a wave there. Unfortunately, I just dont see this one falling Romney’s way more than likely. This for me, like McLaughlin, is also a safety pick. Romney might pull it off like Bush pulled a few states off in 2004, but I’ll give it to Obama.
Michigan: Romney won’t win this state and it isn’t because the campaign didn’t put a lot of resources there. There are the auto unions, the bailouts, and a slew of left leaning union ballot props that are motivating voters this year. Yet the biggest problem was a lackluster run by Pete Hoekstra. Could there be an undercurrent that pulls things off for Romney and maybe even Hoekstra at the finish line? Doubtful, but I wouldn’t call it the upset of the century as it would be part of a much larger swell for Romney. PA falls before MI.
Wisconsin & Iowa: This is where I split like McLaughlin does. For conservative reasons I am saying the candidates split these. The Ryan factor, the Walker factor, and the fact that Romney put a lot of effort into Wisconsin gets him across the line here. Add to that the fact that RNC Chair Reince Priebus got Walker safe in his recall, I think he delivers for Romney here. Iowa is just a state of collateral damage for Romney. Obama wins only because the polls show that this one isn’t as close as you would think. That being said, there is a large Catholic population here that if they turn out and vote the way other Catholics are, you could see this go R with about an R+1 turnout.
Bottom Line: In this Map Romney could lose WI & NH, or OH, or VA & NH, or WI & CO and still win. This is a very possible path to 270 for Romney, and as I have said, with an EVEN to R+1 or 2 turnout the map ends up this way with a comfortable Romney win. If things break even stronger the margin could grow by a few states. High D to D+ turnout and things could go bad. High turnout overall helps a bit, only in that independents and “part-time voters” usually are the ones “adding” to the electorate sample, but we won’t know the story until late Tuesday. So, get ready for a long day.
- Major hat-tip to @Baseballcrank for his post format, which I unabashedly copy here. [↩]
- Somewhere in the D+2 – R+2 range, Romney should be in good shape as long as the independents go to him 6%-12% [↩]