Sunday, November 4, 2012

Presidential Election Prediction

UPDATE (11/09) -  Not too great on this one. Pretty abysmal in fact. Lesson- 1) Don't listen to GOP operatives who speak against major sustained polling analysis.

Against all the odds (and perhaps some clamors of bias) I am predicting that Romney will win the Presidential Election by an electoral college margin of 295 - 243. I believe that his route to victory will be found via wins in the swing states of Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Here's how he wins. 

First- the 'swing' states that I believe are now 'safe' for each candidate. It is my opinion that the traditional conservative support which exists in Florida and North Carolina will place those states firmly in Romney's bracket. Conversely, I also now believe that Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan will go for Obama. The union presence and traditional Democratic affiliation of many voters in those three states will be a great boost for the Obama vote. 

Having banked the electoral college gold mine of Florida (29 EC VOTES), victory in the following swing states will enable Romney's victory.

COLORADO (9 EC VOTES) - Romney has closed Obama's lead in Colorado. Obama will be unable to replicate his 2008 voting success among younger voters, while Romney will attract greater support from independents and from a considerable Republican base which is far more energized than in 2008. Colorado will be close, but I believe it will fall into Romney's bracket come election day.

OHIO (18 EC VOTES) - By most estimates, Romney has closed the poll margins to within the margin of error. Winning Ohio will require a number of actions to fall in Romney's favor. First, Romney must be able to mobilize significant proportions of his base to get out to the polling booths. Based on the energy with which Republican leaning voters are now engaged in the election,  I believe this will occur. Today's New York Times has a good piece on both campaigns voter outreach efforts in Ohio. Second, Obama will need to see a depressed turn out of polled likely voters who currently say they will support him. I also expect that this will occur. Come election day, reduced enthusiasm for Obama will mean that a small but significant minority of his leaning supporters do not turn out to vote. Third, as yet undecided voters (who are a small minority of the likely voting total) must break heavily in Romney's favor. Again, I believe (and historic 'late undecided' trends suggest) that Romney will be able to persuade these voters to enter his name.
         To become reality, Romney's victory in Ohio will therefore center on three key actions- his campaign's ability to 'get out the vote', the Obama campaign's inability to motivate a comparative level of enthusiasm and the influence of undecided voters breaking in Romney's corner and turning up at the polling stations to reflect their decided opinion.

PENNSYLVANIA (20 EC VOTES) - For me, has become the most exciting state in the run up to election day. As recent polls have broken towards an increasingly pro-Romney trend, the Romney campaign has made Pennsylvania a major target. Interestingly, one of the most recent Pennsylvania polls has put the race at 47%-47%. The Romney campaign evidently made an error in not engaging a major focus on Pennsylvania before October. Regardless, now that the polls have tightened and the Romney campaign is expending resources in the state, I believe that Romney can pull out a shock win. Romney's victory in Pennsylvania will require that rural, conservative leaning voters turn out in significant proportions. In addition, Romney must undercut Obama's 2008 lead in urban/suburban areas. Ultimately however, I believe that Pennsylvania will go for Romney for the same reasons behind my suggestion of a Romney Ohio victory. Put simply, between likely voters and the few undecideds still in the race, I believe that Romney will be able to attract more voters than Obama. From research and from having spoken to people on the ground in Pennsylvania, I firmly believe that the Romney campaign has a statistically significant advantage over the Obama campaign in terms of voter enthusiasm. For me, enthusiasm is the crucial, always understated element of electoral success. Being a likely voter is NOT the same as turning up at a polling station.

VIRGINIA (13 EC VOTES) - As with the other swing states, Romney has closed the gap on Obama since the debates. The polls in Virginia remain very close - some show Romney leading, some Obama and some even. Ultimately, as with the other states, 'getting out the vote' will be critical for Romney if he is to win. Romney will need to generate high turnout in the traditionally more conservative southern areas of Virginia. In addition, Romney will have to undercut Obama's lead in Washington DC suburbs like Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington. Again, I believe that undecided voters will break in Romney's favor and that the enthusiasm of the Republican base will propel Romney to victory.

CONCLUSION - The above predictions are definitely bold. However, I believe that Romney can and will achieve an upset victory on Tuesday night. The enthusiasm of the Republican base exceeds that of the Democratic base. And enthusiasm gets voters to the polling station. Romney now has comfortable metrics in terms of likability, leadership and ideas. These strengths will place him in a good position to take advantage of undecided voters who get to the voting stations. Obama will be unable to rely upon the base of support he received from young Americans in 2008. He will also attract far less independent voters. Taken together, these dynamics matter. Voting wins elections, participating in a phone poll does not. And... as Harry showed us in 1948, it's not over until its over.

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