My 2012 Election Prediction: Obama 294, Romney 244

It’s the weekend before the 2012 Presidential election and, as the kids in the business say, this cake is pretty much baked. All that needs to happen now is for it to be sliced up and served. That being the case, I’m going to go ahead and put my marker down: I think that President Obama is going to get re-elected, and I think this is the map that’s going to keep him in the White House.

Note I have a couple of states here that I think are more uncertain than others. For Obama, I think my three shakiest states for him are Virginia, New Hampshire and Iowa. However, he could lose all three of them and still have 271 electoral votes, which is still a win. For Romney, the shakiest states I see are Florida and Colorado. He doesn’t want to lose either, but if he loses Florida, where the polling is very close at the moment, then Romney is in for a very bad night indeed. My understanding of the electoral math is that if Romney loses Florida, he’s going to have to win every other swing state. And right now, the polling of the swing states looks pretty grim for him.

In my own estimation, the most likely Romney win scenario would be Romney 285, Obama 253, in which Romney, in addition to the states he wins in the map above, wins Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire and Iowa. I think if Romney does win Ohio, these three states are likely to come along as part of the pot. He could shed either Virginia or Iowa and New Hampshire in that scenario and still win. However, as noted, if we wins all those states but not Ohio, he’s toast. So for better or worse, I think the election really will come down to Ohio.

That said, while I think the Romney 285 is the most likely Romney victory map, I don’t think a Romney victory is likely in a general sense. As noted, the latest round of state polling doesn’t seem to be going Romney’s way, and while polls can certainly be wrong or show a statistical bias, at this point, pretty much all the polls would have to be statistically biased in the same direction. That’s possible, but also unlikely. Alternately, the polls could simply not be seeing a vast groundswell of Romney voters hitting the polls in the swing states. This is why we have the actual elections, rather than simply declaring the winners from the last set of polls.

One scenario folks talk about for this year is Obama winning the electoral vote while Romney wins the popular vote. I don’t personally see that as likely, but I think it’s more likely than the other way around, or Romney winning both. The most likely way this happens is lopsided voting in highly populated red states plus more Romney voters than expected in deeply blue states like California and New York. What will it mean if Romney wins the popular but loses the electoral? Ask former president Gore this question. For my part I will admit it would be initially amusing to watch the same people who defended Bush’s 2000 win completely lose their minds about Obama’s 2012 win in this sort of scenario, but that would grow old very quickly. However, my own expectation is that Obama will end up with a narrow popular win to go with his electoral win.

As a huge believer in participatory democracy, I don’t think the current round of polling should either give Obama supporters a false sense of complacency, or give Romney supporters a false sense of fatalism. Obama could lose if his supporters decide their vote is not needed this time around; Romney could definitely win if there’s a rush of his supporters to the polls. The best way to show your support for either of these candidates — or any other candidate for President whom you support and who is on your state’s ballot — is to actually show up and vote.

(Want to make your own electoral map? I made mine via RealClearPolitics’ “Create Your Own Map” page. Have fun.)

121 thoughts on “My 2012 Election Prediction: Obama 294, Romney 244

  1. Note: As it is the weekend before the elections, and election fever is running high, this is my reminder to you to be polite to each other in these comments. Or I will Mallet you! Joyfully.

    Also: Not that I think most of you don’t know this already, but this year I voted early and voted for Obama. I don’t believe my personal vote here significantly influences my electoral vote map (I’ll note my electoral vote map prediction for 2008 turned out to be conservative in terms of Obama’s eventual victory map that year), but then we do tend to be blind about our personal biases, don’t we.

  2. I suspect that Mr. Romney’s calculations mirror your own — reports are that he’s begun an ad blitz in Pennsylvania in the hopes of giving himself some breathing room. That would still not be quite a win on your map, but it would put him where either Iowa or Virginia would put him over the top.

  3. I’m thinking popular vote favors Romney 50.66% to Obama’s 48.34% with 1% to other. Romney wins 295 EVs to Obama’s 243 EVs. Romney wins FL, NC, VA, CO, IA, WI, and OH.

  4. Your prediction is the same as mine, except for Virginia. And I agree that if Romney does win, 285 is his likeliest number.

    For the record, as someone who defended Bush’s win in 2000, let me state that if Obama wins the electoral college vote then he’s the winner of the election, regardless of the national popular vote. And I think Romney will give a classy concession speech.

  5. I’ll most likely be spending Election Day doing poll monitoring, i.e. making sure people can exercise their right to vote – for whichever candidate they choose – and that questions about a voter’s eligibility are resolved according to the actual rules. There are already reports in early-voting swing states of voter harassment and attempts to mislead or scare people away from the polls. I imagine Tuesday is going to be a lot worse.

  6. > plus more Romney voters than expected in deeply blue states like California and New York.

    I think the other way to get there is by substantially lower than normal turnout in NY and NJ, which I think is now very, very likely. Substantial parts of Long Island and the Jersey Coast are still powerless, and many people are focused on things other than the election, now.

  7. My prediction is 303 Obama to 235 Romney, only because CO and VA are now very demographically similar, and I can’t see one going for Obama and the other not. Otherwise, a quick look-see at the various boosters is a good sign of what their data is telling them.

    The first big tell is how effusive Chris Christie–the keynote speaker at the Republican convention, let’s not forget–has been towards Obama since Sandy. Thanking the President for his support would be de rigeur for any governor in the midst of a crisis, but going on Fox News and telling their audience both how completely awesome Obama has been and that Mitt hasn’t even bothered to call is, from a political standpoint, above and beyond the call of duty. Methinks he knows something we don’t.

    The second is the attitude of the camps. Axelrod and Co. are joking about shaving off their mustaches and going on diets from all the fried food they’ve had on the trail. Meanwhile, the Romney folks are already talking about how to win without OH (which in campaignspeak is saying “we’re losing OH”) and “expanding the map,” a tactic that worked out fantastically for McCain’s campaign, who used the same phrasing about New Mexico and Pennsylvania in 2008 and ended up losing both by wide (double-digit, IIRC) margins. And for all their talk about expansion, Romney’s still campaigning hard in FL, which his campaign had basically called as safe two weeks ago. And poor Karl Rove and Dick Morris are already making their way through the political media complaining about how Hurricane Sandy is Obama’s October Surprise against Romney.

    And then there’s the anti-math brigade, with their vendetta against Nate Silver, nevermind that polling aggregators run by admitted conservatives (RealClearPolitics and Election Projection in particular) are also projecting an Obama win. As you say, the polling could all be systematically biased (and Nate actually has an article about it today on his blog), but that would require a tectonic shift in polling methodology and responses just since the relatively accurate aggregate polling of 2010, as well as the decade beforehand.

    We’ll see on Tuesday.

  8. I think i’ll trade you Iowa and New Hampshire for Colorado, with Virgina also going red, which still gives the president the win. I also think the popular vote will go to Mr Romney, which I agree would be deeply ironic. With this weekend’s total lie about Jeep moving to China, Romney lost Ohio for sure.

  9. Poll wise, Obama is on an upswing, and there’s not much to counter that. We may see numbers going up even further before polls open. You can see Fox News trying it’s best to tank Obama’s momentum by putting out stuff about Libya, but it’s not getting much traction. That’s really got to sting.

    What has you thinking Romney is going to win Colorado? Colorado leaning Obama as much as Virginia is leaning Obama at this point. In fact, Romney’s lead in FL and NC is smaller than Obama’s lead in Colorado.

    Nate Silver is claiming 305 to 232. Obama’s chances have jumped to over 80% according to the secret wizard sauce dude. According to math (which has a known liberal bias) state polling MUST be statistically biassed for Romney to win. Not just sampling error, but out and out bias. The problem is, there’s no historical precedent for this. Polls in previous elections have been, on average, accurate, outside of sampling errors. The only way out for Romney is if polls during JUST this specific election are a massive historical aberration weighted against him.

  10. I think Colorado is one of the places where the Johnson vote is going to be larger than the margin of difference between Obama and Romney – the pot legalization measure will being out people who will then vote libertarian, but who otherwise might not have bothered to vote.

  11. Ed – yes, this is true. However, there’s an even chance, a high chance and a slim chance in betting. Obama has a higher chance of winning. You understand that, right?

  12. Obama is going to win, and when he does the derp will be something fierce. I think Obama is going to win by a fairly large margin which is really going to piss a lot of people off.

  13. In terms of vote getting (I live in Colorado, one of the “battlegrounds”), I’ve literally had FOUR (count them, FOUR!) visits from people working for Obama’s campaign this last week, all of them wanting to make sure that, as a registered voter, I did get out there and exercise the right to do so.

    And yes, I did vote early.

    I’m hoping Obama wins. Because, for me personally as transgender and bisexual, a country ruled by the Republicans, given the current level of rhetoric coming out of them, would be very, very damned dark indeed. Even if I was only caught in the crossfire of their war on gay and women rights, and they didn’t specifically go after transgender people.

  14. I’ve noticed that some Repub sound-biters are going with the talking point that “If Obama wins the electoral vote and Romney wins the popular vote, it will be the first time in *history* that the presidency is won that way [mumble]by an incumbent[/mumble].” Thus neatly sidestepping the 2000 election of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-By-His-Own-Party.

  15. I’m helping Romney lose his home state which, last I heard, was probably Massachusetts. I’m very happy to see Elizabeth Warren (MA) in the lead for the US Senate office and yet another billionaire, Linda McMahon (CT), finding out that you need more than money to win.

    If Romney goes down, that should also take Rove down another peg or two for wasting huge $$ of investor/donor money.

  16. @lynnindenver: I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by Joe Biden’s comment earlier in the week, that transgender discrimination is “the civil rights issue of our time.”

  17. Speaking as a Pennsylvanian, I’d like to thank the Romney campaign for suddenly deciding our state is relevant in the closing days of the campaign, much like Senator McCain did four years ago. Perhaps we should consider a new state advertising slogan: “Pennsylvania: Where to go when you’re desperate.”

  18. Lynnindenver, I’d watch what you say on open boards like this. If the ‘Protect the Vote’ crowd hear about someone being bisexual, they may get confused and think you’re doing that so you can try to vote twice. ;^)

  19. We shall see. Obviously, I hope that you’re correct. However, I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff come through via facebook (links to Daily Kos, I think) and left leaning email about vote count fraud dealing with electronic voting where votes are being siphoned off to Republican candidates in amounts that keep to under 10% of the total to vote avoid triggering automatic manual recounts. It’ll be interesting to see if things turn out to be different from pre-vote polling and exit polling in favor of Romney in the 7-9% range if this gets any more play in public.

  20. Seeing as my puny punditry has about the same impact as Auburn’s current position in SEC football, I shall gaze at neither my navel nor a crystal ball. I think the election will be close either way it swings, but as a representative of the amiable opposition I hope your prediction is wrong. As to the voter-fraud potential, the rumor mill grinds both ways; I’ve read reports of electronic early voting defaulting to the Democractic ticket. I am afraid this will be the lasting legacy of the hanging chad, with the far ends of the political spectrum both convinced the election was stolen if their candidate comes up short.

  21. 538 has Romney slightly more likely to win Virginia than Colorado, and the president more likely to win both than Romney is to win Florida. I’ll predict the president gets both, plus Florida, for 330.

  22. Genufett mirrors my thoughts exactly. I also find it amusing that, of a sudden, Rasmussan is starting to show ties in states (and in the general) that they have consistently favored Romney (against the tide of other polls), leading me to suspect that they are prepping for the narrative of a “last minute” Obama surge, so as to maintain some semblance of credibility. I happened to catch FOX news at the gym yesterday (I needed a shower anyway), and saw a sample of the highly selective polls they were showing*. Obama’s win is gonna seem quite a shock to most of their viewers. Which is just “great”, since it will likely lead to a plethora of conspiracy theories. Thanks, FOX.

    * This was during the “news” part of their day, and not the, later, “opinion” part. I have noticed that MSNBC also has some shows that like to show selective polling, however, these tend to be in the “opinion” hours of the night. The stations themselves point out the distinction, so I am as well.

  23. I also find it amusing that, of a sudden, Rasmussan is starting to show ties in states (and in the general) that they have consistently favored Romney (against the tide of other polls), leading me to suspect that they are prepping for the narrative of a “last minute” Obama surge, so as to maintain some semblance of credibility.

    This is the Rasmussen MO, really. They’re consistently quoted as the most accurate pollsters on day-before/day-of polling, but that’s usually different from their polling the weeks leading up to the election. As for “highly selective” polls, they must have had little to go on yesterday. Of 24 swing state polls yesterday, Obama was leading in all but three, and only one of those three showed a Romney lead.

  24. My prediction is that if voting is honest, Obama will carry the states you pick plus Colorado. However, the GOP “war on voting” is an incalculable factor – as is the effect of voting machines that are programmed by companies whose CEOs are Romney campaign chairmen of various sorts. If Romney wins I’m certain that it will be due to one or both of those things.

  25. DH tuned in to FOX last night, and was shocked that they were utterly silent about polling, for the 5 or so minutes FOX was on. Previously, FOX had been showing polls from “The Janitor’s Gramma”, “The Dude who runs the Hot Dog Stand on the Corner”, and everyone else, showing Romney FTW. Maybe the polls are showing something they don’t like.

  26. I think there’s at least an 80% chance Obama will get at least 281 EV (your states minus Virginia) and a 30% chance he’ll pick up both Colorado and Florida for 329, and maybe 5% he’ll also get NC for 344.

  27. @Genufett You are correct. I thought back, and it was two days ago that I was at the gym. That was the last day that Rasmussen presented some real steamers.

  28. I’m rather hoping my current home state of Colorado breaks for the President. (My family and I certainly did our part.) I’d like to think that, between electing Hickenlooper and the bloody mess of things the 1-vote-majority Republicans in the lower state house liked to make, we may see more Obama supporters by Tuesday than have declared thus far, or see a significant number of Republicans stay home. But I’m an optimist, so…

    OTOH, Aphreal @ 12:35pm makes a good point I hadn’t thought of before. The pot issue has been kind of a non-issue in the local news I’ve read. It seems to be interesting only insofar as it’s on the ballot. No one seems to much care how that vote goes, one way or the other. I hadn’t thought about stay-at-home-on-election-day Libertarians suddenly flooding the polls. Aphreal is right that these folks are likely going to give Huntsman and Romney a boost that hasn’t shown up in the polling data.

  29. Nate Silver says that Obama’s extremely likely to win, unless there’s a statistical bias affecting most of the polls. Unfortunately there is one, which is the Republicans’ strategic efforts to disenfranchise groups of people who might be likely to vote Democratic, primarily through the Voter ID law scams, but also the aggressive use of tactics to purge registered voters from the rolls, with lists of “felons” like they’ve done in Florida in the past, having contractors attempt to contact people at their registered home addresses and then reporting them as “moved” if they don’t respond, etc. Is it going to be successful? We’ll find out, and hopefully most of the people who do get disenfranchised are ones the polls count as “not likely voters”. (My brother, btw, is really insistent on Voter ID being unconstitutional, and has made an issue of it in the last few elections in Indiana where he lives, so he’s ended up with a “provisional ballot” that never gets counted.)

    Ohio has been one of the battleground states for disenfranchisement for the last few elections, with abuses such as complicated electronic voting machines that for some reason work reliably in suburban Republican-leaning precincts but don’t have all the parts (power cords, table legs, not enough machines shipped, etc.) to accommodate the number of voters in poor Democrat-leaning precincts. IIRC, Virginia’s one of the states still using the discredited Diebold machines. (Friends of mine were part of the committee of computer security specialists that California’s secretary of state had evaluate them a few years ago, but as Ohio showed, you don’t need to have sophisticated computer hackers to get the voting machine start playing chess to get a biased election result.)

  30. At this point I’m not worried that Obama will lose. If Romney’s insiders thought Romney would win, not one of them would allow themselves to be quoted (although unnamed) in today’s long Politico story about conflict surrounding the last-minute decision not to choose Christie as VP nominee. I think the story has to be considered legit given Politico’s established slant. When a “should’ve” story sourced from insiders comes out before the election, it’s about the side that loses.

  31. DavidNOE: FWIW, I used an electronic voting machine during early voting in Larimer County, a decidedly purple region of the state. The machine I used generated a paper printout ballot, which I could view and confirm, but which was inaccessible to the voter and the poll workers. I don’t think it was any less secure than the paper ballots being issued.

  32. If Romney’s insiders thought Romney would win, not one of them would allow themselves to be quoted (although unnamed) in today’s long Politico story about conflict surrounding the last-minute decision not to choose Christie as VP nominee

    That story was about discrediting Christie; he’s being friendly with Obama because of resentment over not getting picked as the VPOTUS candidate.

  33. The piece on Politico is as much about discrediting Christie as a pre-crimination piece blaming him for losing the election for Romney. He’s on his third consecutive day in front of the cameras talking up Obama as showing real bipartisanship, and they’re trying to get back at him. The quotes make the campaign sound petulant and childish, much like the leaks about the infighting over Palin in 2008 (which is basically the model for the campaign they’ve been running since the 2nd debate).

  34. I think that at minimum Romney will carry the popular vote. If Romney carries the electoral vote also, it could be big, 300.

    BTW, Morris is also predicting that the US Senate will end up with 53 Republicans.

    The the fun begins. How does one cut the spending and up the taxes enough without killing the patient? Remember, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone use 102% of the currrent US income. Answer, Social Security and Medicare will need to be means tested. Get ready for the battle of all battles.

  35. I really hope you’re right about an Obama win. A Romney win scares the bejesus out of me. And Georgia depresses me. Just…ug, people, UG!

  36. Regarding the Christie story: I don’t disagree that a lot of it is about discrediting Christie. But I still say that if the Romney campaign felt good about its chances of winning, the story wouldn’t have come out before the election.

    The president will be reelected. Kaynahora.

  37. I’d flip Colorado and Virginia, but otherwise I agree with this map. I live in Northern Virginia,(NoVA) and I’m not convinced the enthusiasm here is strong enough to run the vote up in sufficient numbers to outweigh Governor Romney’s advantage in the rest of Virginia (RoVA.)

  38. @Lynn McGuire: It is a tough road to a scenario in which the Republicans pick up the net four seats needed (three in the event of a Romney victory) for a majority, let alone the six that is being hypothesized. I think the most likely outcomes are +1 R to +1 D.

    The Ds are likely to lose Nebraska, North Dakota, and Montana, but it is just as likely that the Rs will lose Massachusetts and Maine regardless of the outcome at the top of the ticket. They also seem like they’re going to lose Indiana (Mourdock was in trouble BEFORE his comments about rape), putting it at a net zero.

    So which seats do they get? Virginia is a real toss-up, and could go either way. I guess Wisconsin is also unclear, although Gov. Thompson has been a dramatically weaker candidate than expected.

    Missouri is a blown opportunity, since Rep. Akin’s (reprehensible) comments have stuck to him and made his candidacy untenable. Linda McMahon in Connecticut looked like she had a chance, but her lack of serious experience trumped her money. I guess it is possible that in a world where Governor Romney wins the election, he might carry Pennsylvania and drag…the guy running against Sen. Bob Casey…along for the ride.

    But really, that’s it; no other race is even on the radar:

    Former Rep. Heather Wilson never caught on in New Mexico, Connie Mack was a total flameout in Florida, and Rep. Hoekstra’s overt racism seems to have sunk his candidacy in Michigan. Sen. Brown is easily handling Treas. Mandel in Ohio, and is clearly running ahead of the President (who is also poised to win.)

    All the other D controlled races are blowouts, and it seems more likely that there’s a long shot D pickup in NV or AZ than losses in MO, CT, or PA, let alone the others. Frankly, there’s a better chance that I expected that the Ds hold MT and maybe even ND, which is just crazy.

    Of course, Senate control is less potent than House control. Without the 60 vote supermajority for either side it is difficult to control the calendar, let alone shape legislation.

  39. In Ohio, it looks good that we are going to be able to keep Sherrod Brown. I decided this summer that control of the Senate was even more important that the White House..But it’s hopeful to see things breaking the way that they seem.

  40. I believe that you are wrong and it wont show up until election day. I don’t have a lot evidence, other than historical. The economy is still bad. You can argue that it is getting better, but there is not a ggod feeling about it. It doesn’t matter whose fault that it, when the economy is bad, the president gets the blame and the people toss him out. Most of the states are polling close to the margin of error. I don’t think it’s going to be close. Romney runs away with it.

  41. I suspect you are right that Obama will win, and I don’t have any significant objections to which color the states might end up being.

    That said, weird stuff can always happen. This is my fifth presidential election as a participant, and I have a feeling it will be the most interesting so far.

  42. I don’t have a lot evidence, other than historical. The economy is still bad. You can argue that it is getting better, but there is not a ggod feeling about it. It doesn’t matter whose fault that it, when the economy is bad, the president gets the blame and the people toss him out.

    Really? Because I have evidence to the contrary: Roosevelt in 1936 (the middle of the Great Depression), Truman in 1948, and Reagan in 1984 are all prime examples. In fact, FDR and Reagan won re-election by landslides.

  43. There’s a story from the Cold War that seems appropriate: An analyst and a general were arguing about how World War III would come out, and in exasperation, the general says to the analyst. “Well why don’t we just fight the thing and see how it comes out”, to which the analyst replies. “That would be totally invalid. You’d only get one run of the experiment.”
    Just change “WWII” for “election”

  44. I can’t see Allen winning over Tim Kaine in the Virginia Senatorial race. Allen is remembered as an incompetent senator, and recent polls are outside the margin of error, with Kaine firmly in the lead. I also can’t see Romney winning Virginia, but that is more likely than an Allen victory. But polls consistently have Obama up or in a dead heat.

    Today, I was contacted by both parties and received three political mailings. Nothing like being in a swing state. I’ve voted in Republican primaries before, but not the most recent.

    Curiously, Romney blamed Obama for the closing of what might have been Richmond’s worst barbeque restaurant, Bill’s Barbeque. Having lived here for a long time, I can say without a doubt that the closing of Bill’s should be considered a victory for free market principles. Lousy product plus poor service plus competent competition equals your business closing. At least locally, this one smacks of desperation.

    Can’t see Romney climbing over the Richmond+ Hampton + Vanilla Doughnut (apologies to George Clinton; it is no longer that, but “Chocolate City” was from what, 1974?) obstacle. I do think the polls could be fairly interesting, as in poll watchers/challengers, but we’ll find out come election day.

    Early (absentee) voting is tough here. I’ll be at the polls bright and early, like six am.

  45. Regardless of the ultimate outcome it seems more people are voting in this election than in past elections. Here in Florida I hear we have a few places that have already broken records for voter turnout and that was as of Thursday night. Our early voting doesn’t end until tonight (Saturday.) I’ve also heard that they’re expecting quite a few more districts to break voter turnout records on election day. Whatever the outcome of the election is this is a very good thing.

  46. I predict that Obama will win. I have no math or science to back me up and I didn’t vote for him. As usual, each person in my family will cancel out the vote of another family member as we are divided sharply down the middle. Mr Obama’s quick response to Superstorm Sandy may well have put many undecided voters on his side. I am sick to death of robocalls, nasty advertising, junk mail for candidates and reporters’ opinions. The poll I count on is the one that our countrymen and women participate in on the first Tuesday of November. Then whoever wins has earned the chair and I will respect his office, support him in prayer and feel free to complain about him. Love you, Son

  47. The most probable statistical bias in the polls is that they are under counting Latinos, which would impact Nevada and Colorado the most. This is what happened when Harry Reid managed to win in 2010 even though few people expected him to. I think Obama wins both states and that gives him the leeway to lose a couple of the other swing states. I’m thinking Obama: 303 Romney: 235 Virginia is the closest, so it could quite easily be Obama: 290 Romney: 248

    Romney is below the Mendoza line and I’m willing to take my chances with a below replacement level player’s chance.

  48. My expectation is a Romney win. This comes simply from my small network of friends. I know a number of independents who voted for Obama in 2004 and are either voting for Romney or not at all. Their reasoning is lack of economic progress. They would really like to be employed. I recognize this goes against the polls, but I put more stock in first hand experiences.

  49. @poguemahone, for half a second when you wrote “Bills Barbecue” I thought you meant “Extra Billy’s” and Scalzi was going to have to mallet me to Hell and back as I challenged you to a duel to defend the honour of the finest barbecue I’ve ever had in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Then I remembered Bill’s, thought “oh. Right…” and I took it all back. :-D

  50. I just don’t know. I want Obama to win and I think he will, but I have to wonder how much my desire might biasing my interpretation of the available data. I know how my state will vote (if WA doesn’t go for Obama, that will be definitive proof of massive fraud), but the rest of the country is a mystery to me. Polls and odds and endorsements only make me more nervous. I’m going to be a complete wreck while the results are coming in.

  51. @Mythago re: reports of voter harassment and intimidation. Yes, it’s true. The Secretary of State here in NC was quoted as saying he’s never heard of as many reports in any previous election. I haven’t heard if the cases lean to one side more than the other.

  52. I panicked after President Obama’s dismal performance in the first debate, but have to admit that he bounced back in the 2nd and 3rd debates and looks set to be re-elected. Will be voting on Tuesday in the safely blue state of Maryland.
    Looking forward to staying up all night on Tuesday and watching MSNBC (and probably turning to Fox News after President Obama wins just to see conservative heads collectively explode).
    I have to give it to Americans that y’all really know how to make your elections fun. Yes, I am an American too now, but having grown up in Canada where elections are shorter and less dramatic, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed all the drama.

  53. @genufett
    Regan in 1984 had a significantly improved economy over what it had been four years earlier so I don’t believe that is a good example. Truman had a good economy coming out of WW2 leading right into the boom of the 50′s so I don’t believe that was a good example. Use Carter in 1980 as an example. Use Bush 1 in 1992 as a good example. Bush had a 92% approval in January and he was gone by November due to a turn in the economy. The economy is worse now than 4 years ago (not saying its Obama’s fault), so he will be gone next week.

  54. @Ken C
    By the only measure that matters -The mood of the public. You can site Statistics all day and I’ll site ones that refute yours and we will get no where. In the end, ask yourself if people FEEL that they are better off now than they were 4 years ago.

  55. @elgion:

    We should run the election like that. Instead of voting machines, we’ll have those personality testers they used to have at bars. Only, they’ll measure how strongly people feel about their vote. And, we’ll just go with that. I don’t know if I can rightly say that would be the only measure that matters. But, dammit, I feel like it is.

  56. @other bill
    I’m sorry you FEEL that way.
    Are you better off than you were four years ago? Are your nieghbors? Parents? I don’t know anyone who is better off and my job allows me to travel to many states. I bet you can come up with 5 people who are worse off, for every one that is better off. And yes before you go there, I do imagine that Mr Scalzi is better off.

  57. @elgion:

    I am better off than I was four years ago. But, I don’t think I’ll take that bet if we’re going to measure it based on feelings or our circles of friends and acquaintences.

  58. Although I am not pleased with either candidate, I will have to go with the lesser of 2 evils and hope Obama wins. Romney has told too many half truths and total lies. (The Jeep fiasco for one) And he has a bit of the warmonger in him….anyone care to prosecute 3 wars at once? He’s too flippant about where he would send our troops. I am also still convinced he is out of touch with the reality of living without millions of dollars as a cushion. Sorry Mitt but you just couldn’t convince me.

    And just so you all know, I am neither Democrat nor Republican, I vote for who I think will do a better job, and not who some Party nincompoop tells me to vote for. I have my own brain thank you very much!

  59. The guys who elected George Bush Jr twice?
    Those guys want Romney to be president.
    Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?

  60. @elgion Geo Bush Jr. Had 8 years to totally destroy our economy, and you expect that Obama could make everything all right in just 4? It will take many more years to fix that particular mans mishandling. Use you brain man!

  61. @jtt
    I didn’t say I expected anything. I just said bad economy = no Obama. Rightly or wrongly. Just because you think he should be given a chance to fix things doesn’t factor in. Bush 2 won in 2004 because of a good economy that he probably had very little to do with. Obama will lose because of economy. I don’t like either of the candidates. I’m just making my prediction. If I were rooting, it would be for them both to lose.

  62. @Elgion: Your comments remind me of the female journalist in 1972 who was shocked when Nixon was re-elected that year. She said that she and everyone she knew voted for McGovern (she lived and worked in New York City), so what the heck happened?

    My point is that you’re likely “measuring” the feelings of only your own circle of friends and family, and maybe a few work associates, and that is hardly going to give you a representative sample of the population as a whole.

  63. Elgion is like the third or fourth person in this thread to claim that their personal acquaintances were somehow an accurate representation of an entire nation. Those three or four have also all claimed a certain, landslide victory for Romney, even though no one thinks this is gonna be anything but close.

  64. @Bill Stewart, ItsjustBeej: yes, lots of reports of attempts to suppress voting, for example just about everything the Ohio secretary of state has been doing, such as openly defying court orders regarding early voting, and waiting until 6 pm. on Friday to issue an order regarding provisional ballots to make sure they are less likely to be counted (and apparently in violation of Ohio law).

  65. @ elgion & Greg

    Are you better off than you were four years ago?

    A better question might be: Are you better off than you were four years ago because of the current administration? My answer: in some ways yes, in others no, but I’m confident we’d be worse off had the mutated zombie remains of the Grand Old Party been at the helm.

    Bush, McCain, Obama and Romney all supported economic stimulus when Something Had to Be Done. On the economy, the Republicans say one thing and do something else like clockwork hypocrites. I don’t agree with the corporatocracy, but at least the Democrats are honest about supporting it. Foreign policy is likewise a constant clusterfuck regardless of administration. That leaves voting on social issues, civil liberties, or for a third party. In the final analysis, I’m not interested in living under an unchristian hate-fueled theocracy run by the far-right social conservative wing-nuts* that’ve shanghaied the GOP. The day the GOP wakes up and gets their mittens out of my private life is the day I take a serious look at their national candidates again…and that ain’t the way the wind is blowin’ these days.

    *NOT a description I’m leveling at all or even most social conservatives, but definitely the loudest and most politically active ones. I mention this before someone says I’m stereotyping social conservatives, as if the far-right was someone wholly representative of right-wing.

  66. Two of my friends are voting for the Libertarian. One of my friends for Romney. I’m voting for Obama. What does this tell us about the election? Landslide victory for The Libertine. Also, I’m sad alot because my friends are lunatics. And imaginary. In *this* case.

    Can someone explain again why Nate “Mathy Matherson” Silver is such hot shit? I can poll my friends, too.

  67. Nate Silver is such hot shit because he’s better at meta-analysis of all the polls in the country than everyone else is. He’s also better at predicting future performance of baseball players and a bunch of other things that can be predicted based on statistics. It feels to me like any late break is likely to break towards Obama, and be small. Romney’s campaign was really badly run. They ended up presenting him as a shifty politician who blows in the political wind and is scared to talk to reporters and the American people about his plans, his taxes, everything. He won the first debate in part because no one’s as bad as his self-inflicted caricature.

    Even without any break, Obama wins the popular vote, not that it matters,

  68. “Nate Silver is such hot shit because he’s better at meta-analysis of all the polls in the country than everyone else is. He’s also better at predicting future performance of baseball players and a bunch of other things that can be predicted based on statistics.”

    Maaaybe. But, I also have friends with opinions about baseball players.

  69. John, I think you’re getting 49/50 states right, which is good enough for Nate Silver territory there–I think Colorado drops by a very slim margin for Obama (following the 2010 result where it dropped for a very slim margin for the good, but kinda non-entity-ish incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. If he can win in a Republican year, Obama can win in a Democratic year.) Romney wins North Carolina and Florida, Obama picks up Ohio (natch), Virginia, NH, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nevada which, thanks to Harry Reid’s ridiculously good ground game, is no longer a swing state.

    The interesting stuff will be the Senate–really rooting for Tammy Baldin in Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, the four equal-rights-for-gays-lesbians ballot measures (including one in my home state of Maine), and Joe Donnelly in Indiana.

    If North Carolina or Florida end up too close to call early on it’s gonna be a bad night for Romney.

  70. Maaaybe. But, I also have friends with opinions about baseball players.

    That should pretty much cement’s Nate’s bona fides.

    (Seriously, if you know anything about baseball, you know Silver’s work in early part of the 00s was pretty much the gold standard–darn near every GM is using stuff he’s developed).

  71. And yet, neither you nor your friends are paid by the New York Times or Baseball Prospectus to share those opinions, Other Bill. Aaand no one gave you advanced statistics degrees for your system of cataloguing your friends’ thoughts. Nor offered to publish your extensively researched book on predictions which became an important take on the endeavor. I’m shocked, and I can see why you might be bitter at the unfairness of it all. Perhaps you should sue?

  72. Honestly, I was genuinely surprised he became a campaign kerfuffle. I mean, campaigns live and breathe on the kinds of statistical analysis he performs. It isn’t just silly because the guy is a verifiable wizard. It’s ridiculous because every single pundit shit-talking him was refreshing his page like made before, during and after the segments in which they shit-talked him.

  73. Silver calls Colorado for Obama now, which as an ex-Coloradan is Very Exciting.

    (As an ex-Hoosier I’m sorry to see that Indiana is unlikely to break for Obama this year after astonishing me in 2008, but if Murdoch gets his ass handed to him over that God’s will crap, I’ll take it.)

  74. Regan in 1984 had a significantly improved economy over what it had been four years earlier so I don’t believe that is a good example.

    So does Obama.

    Truman had a good economy coming out of WW2 leading right into the boom of the 50′s so I don’t believe that was a good example.

    Well, you’d be wrong, because there was at least two recessions under his administration, one in 1945 and one in 1948. That latter one, BTW, had an unemployment rate of 7.9%, exactly where Obama is now.

    Use Carter in 1980 as an example.

    Carter had lower job approval ratings (<40% as opposed to ~50% for Obama), lower approval on the economy, a major economic crisis that involved high interest rates (which are historically low at the moment) and an oil crisis, and a foreign revolution that had entangled the US. Plus, he'd barely won the primary (Obama went unchallenged) and Reagan had led him in the polls essentially all year long.

    So, not a good example.

    Use Bush 1 in 1992 as a good example. Bush had a 92% approval in January and he was gone by November due to a turn in the economy.

    See above re:approval ratings. And all the turns in the economy this year have been upward.

    The economy is worse now than 4 years ago

    This is demonstrably false.

    Are you better off than you were four years ago? Are your nieghbors? Parents? I don’t know anyone who is better off and my job allows me to travel to many states. I bet you can come up with 5 people who are worse off, for every one that is better off.

    Anecdotes are not the plural of data. Based on your previous assumptions, there’s likely quite a bit of confirmation bias in your sample.

    Bush 2 won in 2004 because of a good economy that he probably had very little to do with.

    Bush barely won, and there’s a good deal of evidence it was almost entirely due to national security. The economy had very little to do with it, as there had been at least one recession under his watch as well.

  75. Personally I don’t think it will really matter whomever of Obama or Romney that gets elected. They are not as far from each other as you may think if you look at their public appearance. And at the moment the economic situation is of the type that you will have to ride it out in the best possible way – much like a storm or a mudslide.

    And as it is now the election in the US is a relatively complicated construction which only has room for two main competitors and can’t offer anything for real for anyone outside the Democrats and the Republicans. At the time when the election system was created it may have been a good idea but today when the world looks very much different it seems to be a bit aged.

  76. Nils H:

    “Personally I don’t think it will really matter whomever of Obama or Romney that gets elected.”

    Your e-mail address suggests that you are coming in from Sweden, in which case I’ll merely suggest to you that candidates in the election look substantially different when one is not an entire ocean away.

  77. “Personally I don’t think it will really matter whomever of Obama or Romney that gets elected.” – Scalzi from post above…

    I am pretty sure this is right and the possibility of a third party ever breaking in is close to hill. If I were to really think about the way elections are run I could have voted my conscience this time around. Oregon the state in which I vote is pretty solidly blue so my Obama vote is not tipping any scales, its not canceling my mothers Romney vote in California because the popular vote is a mute point as is her red vote in that blue bastion. I could have vote Green and been happy about choosing to vote the way I want and not reacted to my abject terror of a Romney presidency.

    In the long run the base for both the big candidates is the same as are their general interests. Though I think Barak is the lesser of the evils that could get into office their terms from 2012 to 2016 would probable look very similar from my vantage point in minimum wage labor land….

  78. Well all I can say, I voted the day the polls opened in Texas. I know, many think voting for Obama in Texas doesn’t matter. It does though it is one more vote in the pool of the popular vote. I also voted for every Democrat on the ticket in Texas, it might not matter in the Scarlet that is Texas today, but we were not always Red so someday we might once again run these criminals out, someday it can be hoped we run out of office these lifetime members of the Ayn Rand Republican Party out. In the meantime, I vote no matter if it is simply a voice on the prairie.

    I think Colorado will break for the President. I also think N Carolina will break for the President and surprise everyone. Sandy is a problem, voting may well be a problem for all those on the Eastern Seaborne, I am hoping not but we will see.

  79. @ John Sclazi

    Another Swede here. I think the main reason is not the width of the Atlantic ocean but that of the ocean between the US and Swedish political spectrum/political culture. If Obama and Romney where magically transplanted to Swedish politics they would both be considered dangerous far right religious nutters by pretty much everyone (in Sweden only the Christian Democrats mentions god and usually where voters won’t hear). Using that perspective even major differences between them would still mostly be considered different shades of wierd.

  80. @PatrikH,
    Some of us folks here in the US feel the same way you do, and we are considered the weird ones….(Laughs)

  81. Using that perspective even major differences between them would still mostly be considered different shades of wierd.

    And Swedish politicians transplanted to the United States would be considered dangerous far left nutters. Doesn’t mean either perspective is correct.

  82. I’d add to Nils H that, if you’re looking at it from a foreign policy perspective, their differences are close enough that I can see where a non-American can shrug their shoulders and say “Que sera sera”.

  83. Actually I prefer to think that both perspectives are correct or at the very least sometimes useful.

  84. The first big tell is how effusive Chris Christie–the keynote speaker at the Republican convention, let’s not forget–has been towards Obama since Sandy. Thanking the President for his support would be de rigeur for any governor in the midst of a crisis, but going on Fox News and telling their audience both how completely awesome Obama has been and that Mitt hasn’t even bothered to call is, from a political standpoint, above and beyond the call of duty. Methinks he knows something we don’t.

    First, I probably wouldn’t vote for Chris Christie if I was a New Jersey-ican but he strikes me as a pretty decent human being who put his day job ahead of being a Romney campaign mouthpiece. As he bloody should.

    But I also think there’s something pretty obvious here we should all know. No matter who wins on Tuesday, Governor Christie has just over a year before the next gubernatorial election. I think he’d rather get term-limited out of office than lose as the guy who put Mitt Romney first when Sandy came to town.

  85. @Lynn Mcguire: Social security, Medicare & Medicaid are 102% of current US income? Got a source for that? ‘Cause I think the actual number is well south of that. (Caveat, I guess it depends on how you define “current US income.” I presume you mean federal tax receipts? And surely you’re including Social Security/Medicare tax receipts in there, right?)

    Re the rest of your post: You’re paying attention to Dick Morris (other than as something to point and laugh at)? That’s your first mistake. I’ll cheerfully give you 100:1 odds that Morris’ electoral predictions will (once again) be proved false. And if you’re counting on him for economic data, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that he’s just as wildly inaccurate in that field.

  86. @Ozzie: I have friends who are out of work and still voting Obama, because they’ve noticed that the GOP is the party of talking a big game about the economy and then doing nothing but looting and pillaging it the minute they get power. Every single time we’ve wound up with a smaller pie that they and their owners have a bigger piece of. People are starting to pick up on the pattern.

    And as a matter of fact, I am significantly better off than I was 4 years ago, having been “steadily overemployed” (as one of those friends put it) for that time and having received a 8-10% annual raise.

  87. Other Bill, the reason Nate Silver’s got such a reputation is partly that he works for the New York Times, and partly that he’s done a consistently good job the last few elections of evaluating all the different polling organizations, identifying their biases and correlations, and predicting the results as they go along.

    And Fox News would be just fine with this, except that the conclusions he’s been coming to the last week have been increasingly strongly in the direction of predicting an Obama win, and that’s not the story they think their listeners want to hear right now. They especially don’t want their listeners in the right-wing news bubble hearing that most of the country thinks that Romney would do a terrible job.

  88. Nils and PatrikH, probably from a Swedish perspective in 2000, George W. Bush and Al Gore would have both seemed like nearly-identical crazy right-wingers also. (Or certainly Bush and his 2004 opponent John Kerry would.) But Bush made a radical change in the politics of most of the world that’s lasted for over a decade. Al Gore might have reacted to the 9/11/2001 attacks by attacking Afghanistan, but he wouldn’t have started the Iraq War or deliberately promoted hostility between the Muslim world and the west, and would probably would have followed Bill Clinton’s relatively moderate economic policies instead of the radical deregulation of the banks and encouragement of the housing price bubble and subsequent financial collapse that’s affecting Europe today.

    Obama’s not as good as Al Gore, and Romney’s not as crazy as Bush, but Romney’s certainly as dishonest as Bush was and is still working for many of the same groups that backed Bush.

  89. Bill Stewart – If I had to guess at the push back on Nate Silver, I’d say it was because the Romney campaign bet quite a bit of the last couple of weeks on “Romentum!’. And, if that’s what they bet on and a fairly widely credited numbers guy keeps putting out work that deflates that, well. The only choice is the Character Assassination of Math Incarnate. It’s like a Piers Anthony novel.

    “[Fox News] especially don’t want their listeners in the right-wing news bubble hearing that most of the country thinks that Romney would do a terrible job.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s in Fox News’ mission statement. As Rupert Murdoch’s tombstone will quite possibly read “Protector of The Bubble – I Want My Two Dollars”.

  90. @ Other Bill

    As Rupert Murdoch’s tombstone will quite possibly read “Protector of The Bubble – I Want My Two Dollars”.

    There’s a fantasy satire in there, I’m sure of it. Sadly, I don’t write fantasy, though I’m going to be thinking about how to turn this into a short SF piece.

  91. While the polls clearly indicate an Obama victory, two things give me pause. One is just that, because of overconfidence or not being as enthused as they were in 2008, the “likely to vote” Obama supporters might not turn out in the numbers that the polls predict. The other, is a Fox News-ism that I actually think might have some merit – the hipness factor. In other words, a bunch of Romney voters aren’t admitting to it because voting for Romney is so uncool. In some circles it’s worse than uncool, it’s seen as racist, homophobic, or an indication of stupidity. We’ve seen this factor before with gay marriage votes, where people claim to support it but don’t actually vote for it. I give this theory some credence because I have felt it. I am going to vote for Obama, but I’m not that impressed with his first four years. I seriously considered Romney, but I don’t admit that to anyone I actually know because, for instance, who doesn’t want to be aligned with Joss Whedon?

  92. Gulliver – I’m thinking some cover art circa 1970s scifi. With a gleaming dome in the background and a barren landscape all around. Mashed up with an old school western cover art. With surely looking strapped guy smoking a cigarette. The story? A mash-up of the Eastwood Dollars Trilogy versus Akira.

    You know. Or whatever. I’ll settle for a creative consultant credit.

  93. I’m going to make a bet against my colleague Eric James Stone and say Romney 291, Obama 247. The President gets all the “true blue” states, including the bulk of the Northeast and much of the Great Lakes, save for Ohio — which will surprise expectations and join Wisconsin in breaking for Romney/Ryan. Otherwise, the Big Middle of the country will be red (except for New Mexico) and Romney/Ryan will handily take Florida to complete a sweep the Southeast. None of which will be a ringing endorsement for Romney/Ryan as much as it will be a regretful disendorsement of Obamanomics. Romney/Ryan will then have to prove themselves — as Obama/Biden have had to prove themselves — in the hot seats.

  94. Ed said:
    “Predicting results of any type is another game of chance-gambling.That’s life. Sorry, if anyone’s bubble is burst.”

    Well, what you dismiss as “predicting results” scientists call “testing the model”, or “part of doing science”.

    So, no, predicting results needn’t just be gambling, unless the system you’re predicting is wholly chaotic (and so, by definition, unpredictable). Predicting results can be the application of a sophisticated understanding of underlying principles to model an expected outcome, and the accuracy of the prediction can be used to identify and improve deficiencies in that understanding. Being able to make accurate predictions is the only way we know we truly understand something. So it’s a pretty important thing to be able to do.

  95. Obama total: 272
    Romney total: 266

    Of the “battlegrounds” I allocated them thusly:
    obama: NV, CO, IA, WI, NH
    romney: OH, VA, FL

    Basically, I think it differs from yours in that I put CO in Obama’s column, and VA and OH in Romney’s column.

  96. Other Bill,
    Hmmm…never share my writing, except for one story I let one friend read last year, but if Protector of the Bubble: A Tale of Two Memes gets written, I’ll let you read it if we ever meet, and I’ll be sure credit you on the byline, FWIW. I’ll leave the cover art in your capable hands; I can’t draw worth my salt. This would be an interesting challenge. I’ve done social parable before, but never a straight political satire…

  97. I agree with your map except for Colorado. I think Colorado will go Obama. It’s the state I live in and the Obama volunteers have been out in force the last couple of days. I think Obama will get 303.

  98. Thank you for posting this map. It has been a stressful week for more than one reason, but the election was one of those reasons. This map gave me more hope than anything else I was seeing in the media or in person. It calmed me. I sent it to friends. It calmed them. And it was right! Thanks for a bit of peace of mind in a crazy world.

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