Everyone in my field is coming out with predictions, so I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring. Let me stress that the important thing is for us to win and turn out the vote. The punditry, analysis, and ‘who was right horse race talk’ is secondary. Moreover, the real fight for our country will begin in earnest when Congress returns next week, irrespective of who wins the election. We are committed to fighting for limited government, free markets, an America-first foreign policy, and traditional American values here at the Madison Project. That is something that will not change with the outcome of the elections.
With that said, I’m predicting a 295-243 Romney victory.
Ultimately, there has been a clear trend in this election over the past few weeks. Romney is leading in enthusiasm, winning Independents, and hitting early voting benchmarks in all the key states that have early voting except for Nevada. The momentum was blunted slightly by a small bump for Obama following Hurricane Sandy. Rasmussen seems to indicate that the bump has subsided. While I believe that the bump will still cut into the larger margin of victory that I initially anticipated, it will not be enough to alter the fundamental trajectory of the race.
Even according to the polls that show the race tied or Obama ahead, Romney would clearly be leading in the event that the D vs. R turnout reflects anything that the anecdotal evidence is indicating. Rasmussen and Gallup are actually predicting a Republican edge in turnout tomorrow. If that is the case, this thing will not be close. I don’t anticipate there to be an R edge; however, I think that a D+2-+3 turnout would still lead to a Romney victory – even using the media polls.
Even though most national polls have the election either dead-even or one of them with a 1-point lead, Romney appears to have regained his lead among Independents in the most recent polls. The final Rasmussen poll showed Romney leading by 15; ARG showed+12, Monmouth showed +16, and CNN showed a whopping +22. Some of these numbers are clearly too high, but even if you adjust them to a 7-10 point lead, it’s hard to see how Obama makes up the ground with his base. He would have to replicate the 2008 turnout model of D+7 or greater in order to overcome the deficit with Independents – a proposition that would require both a depressed GOP turnout and a repeat performance of his record minority and youth turnout 4 years ago. The early voting turnout and the enthusiasm gap in the polling have proven that model to be demonstrably false for this election. Remember that Obama only won Independents by 7 points 4 years ago.
Running down the list of states – it’s a no-brainer to me that Romney wins North Carolina and Florida. It won’t be close.
Virginia: I believe that Virginia will be close, but Romney should win based on his consistently positive polling with Independents and the strong turnout advantage in early voting for the conservative parts in the state relative to the urban areas.
Colorado: Republicans have the lead in early voting in Colorado. It’s hard to see Obama overcoming that when election day voting is so much more Republican to begin with. Also, Independents in Colorado have soured on Obama more than anywhere else.
Iowa: Republicans have met the benchmarks for early voting in Iowa and are on target to match Bush’s 2004 numbers. The newspaper endorsements had a huge effect and even some of the skewed polls have the race tied.
New Hampshire: While most polls show New Hampshire tied or Obama slightly ahead, they also show Romney with a massive lead among Independents. Both of these data points cannot be true. Therefore, with Romney’s solid advantage among Independents, in conjunction with the overly white demographic, this one should turn red.
Ohio: I fully subscribe to Karl Rove’s early voting math. Democrats have lost a net of 265,000 early votes relative to 2008 – wiping out Obama’s margin of victory in the state. All polls show Romney winning the election day vote. That should be enough to put him over the top.
Wisconsin: I have full faith in the ground game of the Republican Party and tea party groups in Wisconsin. They turned out a huge victory for Scott Walker, and if the D vs. R split is even close to the recall election, many of the media polls would show Romney ahead. Moreover, the gap between early voting turnout of the conservative Milwaukee suburbs and liberal Dane County is the same it was during the Walker recall. That’s a good omen.
Among the states I think Romney will lose are Nevada, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.
Nevada: The minority growth and the Democrat machine in the state have become insurmountable. Early voting already shows that.
Michigan: Romney never really made a play for it, and even Rasmussen’s last poll had him down 5. The auto bailout factor is also in full force.
Minnesota: I think this one will be much closer than anyone would have imagined a few weeks ago – maybe within 2-3 points. However, ultimately we have not invested enough time to harness the GOP trend in the state. It will take one more election cycle.
Pennsylvania: Of these 4 states, I think PA is the most likely to turn red. I would love nothing more than a PA victory. I ultimately think that Romney will blow it out in central and western PA, and will even win the Philly suburban Bucks County. However, I believe that Obama will turn out enough of his base in the inner city (along with some help from voter fraud) that he will need more to overcome the margin. I just don’t see him winning enough of the other suburban Philly upscale voters in Montgomery and Delaware counties to pull out a victory. I see him coming within 1-2%, but coming up heartrendingly short.
That’s how we get to 295 electoral votes for Romney. I think he’ll win the popular vote by about 1.5%.
This is my prediction, but I recognize, as all my colleagues do, that this is a very murky pre-election period. Anything could happen. As conservatives, we must be prepared for any result.
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