Morning Briefing: October 30th, 2012
By Steve Deace
After a 2012 campaign that seemingly began the moment after President Obama took the oath of office four years ago, there is just one week left until the voice of the voters is finally heard from.
So with one week to go here’s where things stand:
Hurricane Sandy is wreaking havoc on the eastern seaboard, and thus the election. At this point it appears things will be stuck in neutral until later in the week. Romney-Ryan has cancelled campaign events through Tuesday, and the president has returned to “oversee” disaster relief (i.e. photo ops all politicians up for re-election in both parties look for at times like these).
A terrible national disaster notwithstanding, it appears the race has come down to “Mitt-mentum” versus the vaunted Democrat early voting machine. Right now Romney has the sort of momentum a challenger looking to dethrone a sitting president traditionally needs. However, the Democrats are posturing that so much of their vote is banked it may not make a difference on Election Day. This analysis of the importance of early voting done by The Washington Post is definitely worth a read. The analysis specifically looks at the Democrat early voting edge in Ohio, Nevada, and Iowa. If Obama wins those three states he will win re-election.
Two prognosticators respected by pundits on both sides of the aisle are Nate Silver of The New York Times and Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.
Silver’s 538 Blog is loved by liberals and was perhaps the most accurate forecaster in the 2008 election cycle, correctly predicting the outcome of 49 out of 50 states. Silver’s latest analysis claims the race hasn’t changed that much since June. He believes Romney’s post-debate bounce just evened things up after Obama’s post-convention bounce. Silver believes the race is close, but Obama is still ahead and favoring the president. In fact, his algorithm gives Obama a 73% chance of being re-elected. Even Intrade, which has been bullish on the president’s re-election chances all along (and currently rates him as 62% to be re-elected), isn’t that optimistic.
Sabato, a favorite wonk of Fox News and other right-of-center media outlets, last updated his analysis on October 25th. On November 1st he will make his final calls on the Electoral College on his “Crystal Ball” blog. For now, Sabato mostly agrees with Silver that the race is very close but still favoring Obama. Sabato currently gives the president 267 Electoral College votes (it takes 270 to win), and Romney 235. Sabato has Florida titling to Romney, and Ohio to Obama. He has Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin as the last remaining real toss up races. Under Sabato’s scenario, Romney would have to win every one of those states to win the election.
As for my own analysis, I haven’t seen anything to alter my forecast that I laid out last week. I still believe the popular vote will be won by Romney, and folks would be wise to avoid those who claim that if Romney wins the popular vote by 3-4 points he can’t lose the Electoral College. That’s just simply not true. It’s quite possible Romney could still lose the election in that scenario because he padded his popular vote edge by overwhelming turnout in red states, and lower voter turnout in blue states compared to four years ago.
At this point both candidates are pretty much running for president of Ohio. If Romney wins the Buckeye State, it’s game-over for the Obama Regime. If Obama wins Ohio, then Romney’s route to 270 becomes a very improbable path. For more on the importance of Ohio, and the makeup of the state, feel free to read my recent column for Townhall.com on why the Buckeye state has been a tough nut for Romney to crack.
In terms of Congress, it remains a near certainty the Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives. Regarding the Senate, I believe if the election were held today the best the Republicans could do is manage a 50-50 tie. More than likely the Democrats would end up with a slim majority of 51 or 52.
Finally, for those of you living in my home state of Iowa the Republicans are still expected to take over control of the Iowa Senate, although previous talk of winning as many as 29 of the 50 seats in that chamber has cooled. I’m told now it’s more likely 26 or 27 seats. However, I’m also told Republicans think they have a chance to gain seats in the Iowa House, where they currently hold 60 of the 100 seats. There is also a lot of confidence that State Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins days are numbered. Wiggins is the lone judge up for retention this year who played a role in the court’s controversial ruling against marriage in 2009. Republicans are more optimistic about Romney winning Iowa than they were two weeks ago, but still wary of the Democrats’ early voting advantage in the state. Republicans think Steve King and Tom Latham are near shoo-ins to be elected to Congress in their new districts, and that John Archer has a good chance to pull an upset in the Second District. However, they are not confident Bruce Braley can be defeated in the First District.
On November 5th I will give my final predictions on the outcome of 2012 election.
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