Trunkline 2012: Today’s News from the Campaign Trail

Bookmark and Share   Monday’s election news wrap-up provides readers with a look at; what the candidates need to do in tonight’s debate, the importance of Wisconsin and New Hampshire to a Romney victory, CBS declaring a winner in the election, Republicans doing well in early voting, Romney racking endorsements from paper that once endorsed Obama, Obama’s ever changing story on Libya, a look at Chris Christie ripping the President apart, and much more:


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Romney Still Winning the Election in the Electoral College But Wisconsin and New Hampshire Are Becoming Critically Important

Bookmark and Share   The latest White House 2012 analysis of polls, conditions, and circumstances in individual states projects a slightly smaller Electoral College vote total for Governor Mitt Romney than he had last week, but Romney still remains above the magic number of 270, that he needs to win in the Electoral College.

This week, WH12 has seen the battleground states of Iowa and Nevada taken out of Romney’s column and designated as toss-up states.  This switch has taken away 12 electoral votes from the Romney-Ryan ticket and brought  them from last week’s total of 291 electoral votes , to 279 electoral votes this week.  But as Mitt Romney sees 12 votes go from him to the undecided column, President Obama sees his previous Electoral College projection decrease by 10 votes as WH12 now takes Wisconsin out of the President’s column and classifies it as a toss-up state.  So President Obama now finds  his Electoral College vote drop from 247 last week, to 237 this week.

But the big story here ends up not being the new numbers projected in White House 2012’s analysis.  The real story here is the increasing importance that these numbers places on New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and probably most of all… Wisconsin.

Based upon WH12’s  current level of confidence in Mitt Romney having solid leads in all his base states* and strong leads in the once very competitive states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, combined with our increasing confidence in Romney’s ability to at least squeak out a win in Ohio, what we find ourselves with here is a race that really hinges upon Romney’s need to win any combination of New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and or Wisconsin.

With former toss-up states like Colorado, Virginia, and Florida projected to be solidly behind Romney, as seen in the map below, all the Romney-Ryan tickets needs to secure victory is Ohio.    With Romney’s base states, and locks on the battleground states of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina,and Virginia, if Romney can squeak by in Ohio, he can lose New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa, and  Wisconsin and still win with 5 more electoral votes than he needs to secure the presidency.  That would produce an electoral vote of 275 for Romney, to 263 for President Obama.

But Ohio is too close for comfort for Romney to count on.  So the Romney-Ryan ticket must secure an optional path to victory to rely upon.  Based upon the current projection which gives Romney the battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New Hampshire, ,  if President Obama wins Ohio, the only state that Romney needs is Wisconsin.   In that scenario, even if the Obama-Biden ticket won the remaining battleground states of Iowa and Nevada, Mitt would still win in the Electoral College with 271 electoral votes to Obama’s 267 electoral votes.

Without Ohio, this New Hampshire plus Wisconsin combination to victory for Romney is currently the best and most logical strategy to pursue.

In New Hampshire, the Romney-Ryan ticket is behind Obama-Biden by only approximately 1%.  That is well below the 2.2% margin of error that WH12’s projection formula adds to Romney’s numbers in an attempt to compensate for the erroneous turnout models that pollsters are using in their polls.  So by WH12’s standard, Romney is actually ahead of President Obama in New Hampshire by approximately 1.2%.    Then there is Wisconsin.

While Real Clear Politics has Obama ahead of Romney by approximately 2.8% in Wisconsin according to White House 2012 that is only a .06% lead for the President.  It is a lead so small that that it could easily by overcome.  Especially if its favorite son, Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan,  focusses on Wisconsin during this last two weeks of the election. That is a point White House 2012 made last week in a post entitled  “Checkmating Obama with Wisconsin: A Romney Win in the Badger State Dooms Obama“.   Furthermore, Ryan’s focus on Wisconsin could also produce an overflow effect that impacts the close contest in Iowa which borders Wisconsin and possibly provide the margin of victory for the G.O.P. ticket there.

What this all means is that if projections that give Romney his base states and the critical battlegrounds of Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, but he losses Ohio, the Romney-Ryan ticket can still win the election if they take Wisconsin and either New Hampshire, Iowa, or Nevada.   But under this situation, if Romney does not win Wisconsin,  Romney would have to win all three states of New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.

So it becomes clear to us that while several states remain quite important in this election, if Mitt Romney’s momentum  continues to hold, Wisconsin and New Hampshire may be the states that offer him the best assurance of a victory in the Electoral College. Especially if Ohio remains as tight as it currently is and goes down to the wire as a state so close that its results might not be known until days or even weeks after they are litigated in the courts.  However, the outcome of such litigation would be meaningless  if Romney can put New Hampshire and Wisconsin safely in his final Electoral College vote total.

In the meantime, while White House 2012’s current projection classifies 22 electoral votes as toss-ups, no matter which way they ultimately go, the most Barack Obama could get is 259 electoral votes.  That would leave and Romney with at least 20 more electoral votes than Obama and nine more than Romney needs to win in the Electoral College.

Meanwhile, if Barack Obama fails to curtail the Romentum that we currently see, it won’t be long before White House 2012 finds itself issuing the very best but still realistic projected outcome that Mitt Romney could see.  That projection may end up with a far more lopsided Electoral College than anyone is expecting.  As seen in the map below, existing trends may soon establish a projection that looks like th e map below.  It’s a Romney led Electoral College result of of 302 electoral votes to 236 electoral votes.

Right now, that is the best case scenario for Romney but if current trends to continue, it is the result we are most likely to see.  It is also a result that would include something new… the splitting of Maine’s electoral vote between Romney and Obama.  Maine, like Nebraska splits their electoral vote between their congressional districts.  Some recent polling has shown that in  Maine’s second congressional district, Romney was leading Obama 49 to 44%.  If that holds up, it would be the first time Maine ever actually split it’s electoral vote.  And it would also give Romney at least 1 electoral vote from a region of the country that Romney has been all but written off in.

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New White House 2012 Projection Has Romney Winning By 24 Electoral Votes

  Bookmark and Share With 29 days remaining in the race for President, White House 2012’s latest analysis of polls, circumstances, and conditions, concludes that there is a swing towards Mitt Romney in the Electoral College that is so pronounced that the Romney-Ryan ticket has increased its lead over the Obama-Biden ticket by at least 24 electoral votes.  The last White House 2012 projection had Mitt Romney winning 273 electoral votes to the presidents 265 electoral votes.  Today Romney stands at 281 electoral votes to 257 for the President.

For the first time, the latest projection gives Romney the all important state of Ohio, which up to now has been written off by White House 2012 as an almost certain win for President Obama. However, small shifts which have revealed themselves in most of the polls figured in to the Real Clear Politics average of polls since Romney’ stellar debate performance last Wednesday, now indicate that if the numbers hold up, Romney will win Ohio, a change that significantly increases the number of ways that Romney can reach the magic number of 270 that is needed to win the presidential race in the electoral college.

While Romney seems to be gaining momentum, it is too early to call it a steady trend, especially given the fact that while Romney has picked up Ohio in the newest projection, New Hampshire and Nevada which Romney did have in column last week, have flipped back to President Obama today.  The good news is that combined, New Hampshire and Nevada have a total of only 10 electoral votes while by itself Ohio has a total of 18 electoral votes.  So even if Romney did lose Nevada and New Hampshire, he stands on better ground after picking up the Buckeye State.  However; it is important to note that White House 2012 is being very conservative by flipping New Hampshire and Nevada to the Obama-Biden ticket.  While the RCP average has pushed the President’s lead in those two states to be in excess of the 3.7% margin of error which we give to Mitt Romney to compensate for each polls poor judgment in the use the 2008 turnout models, other factors prove to be working in Mitt Romney’s favor and allow us to give the President those states by only the slimmest of margins. So both New Hampshire and Nevada are now only barely light blue for the President and they could easily turn pink for Romney at a moment’s notice.

While most states are clearly leaning towards one candidate or the other, White House 2012 is currently only considering there to be seven battleground states.  They are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.  Of those states, White House 2012 currently projects the following outcomes;

White House 2012 does see the potential for Romney to become much more competitive in Wisconsin, New Mexico, and possibly Michigan but for now, we do not consider them to be battleground states.

Other Favorable Indicators for Romney

As the race continues to evolve, this projection will change, however; at the moment the race is shaping up to be one that is moving in Mitt Romney’s direction.

For instance, it is with good reason that we continue to forecast Romney victories in the critical states of Florida and Virginia.

While some polls show small Romney leads in those states, most all other polls show Romney to have at least closed the small previous gap that existed between him and the President by as much as half or more.  For example, the latest number from PPP, a Democrat leaning polling outfit, shows that in Virginia, Obama’s lead has shrunk from +5  to +3.  While that Obama lead might not seem like good news for Romney, it is actually very good news when you consider the fact that by using the same turnout model from 2008, the PPP sampling finds this smaller Obama lead even after still giving Democrats a +6 advantage over Republicans.

Furthermore; it is that same Democrat advantage that polls are giving to the President which we see in other states such as Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire and all the other critical swing states.  Yet despite this Democrat advantage, Romney is gaining on the President.  So much so that WH12 sees evidence that indicates the Romney-Ryan ticket will probably not only win the election, they will probably win it by an even wider margin than anyone thinks possible.

Adding to this positive direction for Romney are indications that his own internal polling in at least two states. Currently, those internal polls are said to show Virginia and Ohio show him beating Obama by as much as 3.0% and 4.5%, respectively.

Conclusion;

The recent questionable jobs report has provided a slight spike in consumer confidence but it has not yet translated in to a bounce for the President.  At the same time, President Obama’s approval ratings continue to remain at or below 50%, a position not conducive for reelection of an incumbent President. 

Meanwhile, after his initial debate performance Mitt Romney has established himself as a real threat to the reelection of President Obama.  For the first time since their conventions, Romney is seeing evidence of his base becoming excited with his candidacy and there are signs that undecided voters are moving in his direction.  But Republicans must be careful to not consider this a trend until and unless future polls over the course of the next week show these recent numbers to still be moving in the right direction.  However; at the moment the Romney-Ryan ticket seems to have blocked President Obama’s own forward momentum in the polls and at the same time has finally gotten his campaign moving at pace that could turn the tables on the Obama-Biden and make them the ones with fewer paths to victory.  But to do that, Romney must be sure to keep the momentum moving in the right direction and at the right pace.  To do that, Romney must avoid any stumbles on the campaign trail and he must make sure that an endless repetitive stream of his well crafted 30 second ads are driving home his message and allowing it to sink in among the voters who have a new found respect for Romney after his first debate and are now more receptive to his message than they have been at any other point in this election.

The Projection Formula

The White House 2012 projection takes the Real Clear Politics average of polls and compensates for the outdated 2008 turnout models being used in each in poll by compensating for the under-counting of Republican turnout by adding to Romney’s total, the 3.7% average margin of error in the seven key swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.  Then along with a dose of personal political instinct, our projection incorporates other factors in to the equation such as the unemployment rates of individual states and the organizational strength of each state’s Party. 

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Romney’s Rosy But Bumpy Road To Victory

   Bookmark and Share  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.

Independent Voters

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.

The Results

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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