According to most of the latest data made available to the public through the mainstream media, there is no denying that President Obama holds an upper hand in his reelection effort. In fact, according to most pundits, pollsters, and network political prognosticators, President Obama is almost certain to be reelected. However, given a number of factors including the depth and duration of our dire economic condition, a proliferation of polls that are based on a 2008 voter turnout model which overestimates the enthusiasm that exists for President Obama in 2012, and a growing trend toward Mitt Romney among the critical independent voting bloc , I am not convinced that this election can be called for President Obama just yet.
It’s The Economy Stupid! Maybe?
As for the economy, now over 5 years since the recession began, over 25 million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed and despite approximately $800 billion in Obama deficit spending meant to stimulate the economy, the government’s official but undercounted unemployment rate remains above 8.0% for 43 consecutive months. And at the same time, all other economic indicators remain so sluggish or stagnant that it is clear that our job growth and overall economic growth fails to even keep pace with the existing population growth rate. Yet regardless of these glaring facts, polls would have us believe that a majority of Americans do not hold this worst economy since the Great Depression against President Obama. It is a conclusion which I find hard to fathom. Especially given that if reelected to another term, the only solution President Obama seems to be offering is more of the very same Keynesian, deficit spending mentality which has sustained and prolonged the worst economic recovery in American history. Still though, even with history as a guide, I can not state for sure that a majority of Americans will blame the poor economy on the President. During the Great Depression, voters did not blame FDR for the very slow recovery he commanded over, but in 1980 angry voters did hold Jimmy Carter responsible for inflation, stagflation, unemployment, and the misery index which he presided over.
The optimist in me wants to believe that most Americans do believe that President Obama should be held accountable for his failing economic policies which seem to lack the ability to turn the economy around. However, the pessimist in me fears that the socialist tendencies promoted for generations through FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society, and now BHO’s blatant focus on the redistribution of wealth, have finally been accepted by a majority of Americans as the new norm… a norm that has a majority of Americans proudly dependent upon government. It is a mentality demonstrated in the clip below.
If a majority of voters agree with that woman, then Barack Obama will be a two term President. But I am not yet ready to believe that the views held by the slave to government in that video clip are the views held by most respectable and learned American voters.
Slanted Polls and the Blatant Media Bias
The second area of doubt that I have regarding the certainty of a successful reelection effort by President Obama is based upon the polls and the interpretations of those polls being offered to voters by the mainstream media.
Now to be clear, I am convinced that most reputable polling outfits want to be accurate in their polls. Although the current regime in Washington, D.C. finds the free market to be an enemy of the people, the free market still drives entrepreneurs, even the political entrepreneur who wishes to make a buck by gauging the sentiments of voters. That stated, it behooves pollsters who want to be in demand in the future to get things right in the 2012 election. So I cannot in good conscience totally discount all the current polls that are out there. But I can and do disagree with the decision by most pollsters to rely on the 2008 turnout model which tends to overstate the strength of President Obama’s support.
I am of the opinion that in 2012, a more accurate turnout model to base this election on is the turnout seen in 2010. I see little reason to believe that the massive anti-Obama sentiment which existed in the 2010 midterm elections does not continue to exist in 2012. In my view even those voters who are not quite excited by Mitt Romney will still be coming out to cast their ballot for Mitt if for no other reason than to vote against President Obama.
Combine those two factors with the lack of appropriate reporting regarding the fact that the all important independent vote seems to be breaking for Mitt Romney by as much as 14 to 20 percent and I believe that the Romney-Ryan ticket is on the verge of establishing an Election Day lead over the Obama-Biden ticket.
While an undeniably polarized electorate consisting of the 94% of voters who are firmly planted on one side of the political and ideological spectrum or the other make it certain that states like California and New York will be voting for Obama while states like Missouri and Texas will be going for Romney, the six percent of the undecided independent voters in the middle will make all the difference in the remaining states that are toss-ups… particularly Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hamphire, Nevada, and Virginia. If this pro-Romney trend among independent voters continues, and I believe it will, each of those states will cast their lot with the Romney-Ryan ticket.
I cautiously arrive at that conclusion through a combination of factors that include polling, reporting, and my own judgments and political instincts regarding all the available data that could and should be reasonably factored in the electoral equation. At the moment though, even my own unique formula finds Mitt Romney at a disadvantage. Using the Real Clear Politics average of polls in six of the seven current toss ups states, as a rule of thumb, I have adjusted for the overestimated Democrat turnout in the polls by giving Mitt Romney the benefit of the average margin of error in the Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Virginia. In those six states, the average margin of error is 3.7%. Ohio and North Carolina are also considered to be tossups however, I believe North Carolina is a reliable state for Romney and that Ohio may be out of Romney’s reach at this point. Therefore; I have taken both of those states out of the toss-up category.
According to my formula, the adjusted 3.7% margin for Mitt Romney would swing Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Virginia to Romney, giving him a total of 267 electoral votes. At the moment though, President Obama holds an RCP average lead over Romney in Nevada that stands at 4.%. That is 0.3% outside of the existing margin of error which I give to Romney. Unless Romney closes the gap, President Obama would win Nevada and reelection to the presidency with a total of 271 electoral votes… one more than needed. However, given the closeness of the race in Nevada and the momentum Mitt Romney has among independent voters, I see the Golden State as being quite winnable for Romney. If that is the case Romney will defeat President Obama in the race for President with 273 electoral votes to Obama’s 265 electoral votes.
The Problem(s) Produced By a Race That is Too Close For Comfort
As politically divided as Americans are in 2012, a very close election result is fraught with problems that could trigger historic constitutional measures into action and lead to a level of discourse not seen since the Bush v. Gore case in 2000.
Thanks to the already incredibly polarized electorate and the left’s continued desire to exact revenge for the Supreme Court decision that thew the election to George W. Bush in 2000, if the presidential election turns out to be as close as it seems to be, we could easily another case of a Republican winning the White House by losing the popular vote but winning the Electoral College vote. The ensuing tensions from such a result could reignite a popular backlash that will lead to varying degrees of civil unrest that have the potential to linger on for at the very least, a few months and possibly spark a very real attempt to do away with the Electoral College… a cause that would consume the national agenda for quite some while.
With extraordinarily large pluralities being produced for President Obama in some of the most densely populated states in the nation, i.e.: California and New York, it is quite likely that much smaller pluralities for Romney from less populated states such as Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, and Wyoming, will not be enough for the Romney-Ryan ticket to overcome the total popular vote that the Obama-Biden ticket receives but could easily allow the Romney-Ryan ticket to reach the 270 votes required to win the presidency in the Electoral College.
Making matters worse, is the fact that if the election is actually as close as the above projection indicates, in addition to Romney losing the popular vote but winning the election in the Electoral College, if each state goes the way I predict but New Hampshire happens to go for Barack Obama instead of Mitt Romney, there would be a 269 to 269 vote tie in the Electoral College and with both candidates 1 elector short of the 270 needed to win the presidency, the election would be forced into the House of Representatives. In that event, thanks to a likely makeup of each state’s congressional delegation, Republicans would have control in at least 26 states, enough to assure a Romney victory. A result that will please conservatives like myself but which will send liberals running through the streets screaming.
Those are just some of the situations that could drag this election out if it remains as close as current data indicates.
But there still remains the possibility that this election will not be as close as we are led to believe it is.
With less than five weeks remaining, I contend that Mitt Romney will surprise many with a well coordinated and highly targeted campaign that will have the ability to attract the type of heavy Republican turnout that we saw in 2010. Of course being a presidential election year, the Democrat turnout will be much higher than it was in 2010 and that will compensate a bit for the wide gap that existed in 2010, it will not be enough to overcome the anti-Obama sentiment that I believe still exists. So much so that Romney may even be able to actually make a run at winning a state like Wisconsin and possibly also avoid becoming the first Republican to win the White House without Ohio. Unfortunately I do not yet see Romney winning either of those states yet though.
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