05 November 2012

Election prediction

If pressed to give my best guess as to what the election result will be, here's what I'd come up with.

First, it seems that the conflict between state polls showing Obama ahead in most swing states, and national polls showing a tie or a slight Romney lead, is being resolved in favor of the former.  The Rasmussen and Gallup national polls are shifting toward Obama.  So I feel confident that Obama will win New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, where his polls leads, small or large, have been consistent.

I feel equally confident about Nevada, and almost as much so about Colorado.  As I pointed out here (4th paragraph), there's empirical evidence that conventional polling in the Southwest undercounts Hispanics, and therefore understates Democratic support.

That leaves Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida, which look too close to call according to the data we have.  However, based on the momentum being in Obama's direction in the last few days, I'm going to go out on a limb and call all three of them for Obama, though I expect his margins in those states to be narrow.

Arizona is intriguing.  It's been a red state, but the latest poll shows Obama behind by only 53%-46%, and the under-polling of Hispanics in the Southwest could mean the real gap is quite a bit narrower.  Some polls have shown the Arizona Senate race very close.  The fact that the Democratic Senate candidate is himself Hispanic could increase Hispanic turn-out.  I think Romney will still win the state, but the margin might be close enough to throw a scare into the Republicans.

So here's my prediction:

This yields an Electoral College landslide of 347-191.  Note that even if Obama loses Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida -- the three states I'm least confident about -- he would still win 290-248.  So even if Florida delivers another hanging-chad 50-50 nightmare like in 2000, the national outcome won't depend on it.

I know that 347-191 is a bigger landslide than almost any serious pundit is predicting, but this is my honest sense of where things stand.  I expect Obama's popular-vote margin to be smaller than in 2008 but still big enough to quell credible Republican claims of having been robbed or cheated in some way.

In any case, we could know the outcome pretty early tomorrow evening.  If Florida is called for Obama, it's game over -- Romney has no chance.  If Florida is called for Romney or is too close to call right away, it will take longer to know the national winner.

For the Senate, Baldwin and Warren will win in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, giving us our first openly-LGBT Senator and an intelligent, outspoken populist who fully understands the urgent problem of the financial parasite class and skyrocketing economic inequality, and isn't afraid to speak bluntly about it.  Akin and Mourdock will lose in Missouri and Indiana, despite their presumed lock on the rapist vote -- once again the teabaggers will have thrown away what should have been easy Republican wins, as they've already brought down Richard Lugar, a survivor from the old days when the right wing still produced intellectual heavyweights.  Nelson will win for us in Florida.

I don't think Kerrey can win in Nebraska, unfortunately.  He's done superbly in such a red state, but it's just too red.

Heitkamp and Tester do have a real chance in North Dakota and Montana respectively.  Heitkamp has run a great grassroots campaign and some polls have shown a tie, while the latest from Montana actually shows Tester ahead two points.  Too close to call, but if we achieve an Obama landslide, his coattails just might pull them over the top.

In Arizona, Carmona is behind by only four points; if Hispanic turn-out far exceeds expectations (see above), he might just win this one for us.

The bottom line:  Our Senate majority will increase.

I haven't been following any of the House races closely enough to say anything intelligent about them.  It sounds like we'll make gains, but not quite enough to take back the majority.  BooMan Tribune, whose opinion I respect, thinks there's a chance.

So there you have it.  Only a fool would claim certainty, and complacency would be positively dangerous, but my expectation is a big win.  In about 40 hours we should know.

Update #1:  Republican site Race42012's map looks like mine except that it gives those three toss-up states -- Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida -- to Romney, still leaving Obama with a winning 290 electoral votes.  See also this analysis of Romney's fading chances.

Update #2:  On the popular vote for President, I'm expecting to see a better margin for Obama than the consensus of polls (due to GOTV and the undercounted-Hispanic factor), but not as good as in 2008.  So, a 4% or 5% margin.


Blogger Leslie Parsley said...

Gosh, I so hope you're right. This election is about to drive me back to drink.

05 November, 2012 05:46  
Blogger John Myste said...

If I were to guess, and it is only a guess, I think Romney will likely take Florida. Obama has a chance, but "thinking" he will take Florida seems a little like prayer to me.

05 November, 2012 08:38  
Anonymous KanaW said...

I believe this to be accurate - IF people are actually allowed to vote.

The rate of disenfranchisement in this country is appalling me.

05 November, 2012 08:50  
Anonymous Burber said...

Good analysis and we'll all be watching Florida.

05 November, 2012 10:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

LP: Hang in there. It will be over soon.

JM: It could go either way. Obama has the momentum right now, though.

KW: That does need to be addressed. Here in Oregon we have vote-by mail, so all the issues of picture ID, long lines at the polls, intimidating thugs at the polling places, etc., are moot. Hopefully the whole country will eventually go that way.

Blurber: Thanks. Hoping for an early good result in Florida so I can relax for the rest of Tuesday evening.

05 November, 2012 18:38  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

I have significant doubts about Obama's reelection:
1. So many people, including many young, do not hold the privileged in contempt but rather instead hope to aspire to wealth if they keep the wealthy in place.

2. The relentless assault by the Conservatives on breaching the integrity of the voting system either through legislation or back-door hacking of voter tabulation results. (ALL voting machine manufacturers are run and owned by conservative businesses - voting machine software is "proprietary information", business secrets that not even the government is allowed access to.)

3. The sheer volume of unrestrained PAC money directed to candidate and issue marketing; 80% of the source of which is raised from Conservative sources.

4. The tepid to complete lack of journalistic integrity of the MSM to pursue inconsistencies in Conservative viewpoints or demand any accountability (like pursuing that Romney still has not divulged his complete taxes or the batshit crazy beliefs of Mormonism).

5. The public's short-term fixation on the economy and how it reached this point and the time necessary to turn it around. The dreamy promise of "jobs" though in reality neither candidate can really deliver on these nebulous promises.

6. And the "anyone but Obama" sentiment which has people (women, poor, minorities, etc.) willing to vote against their own self interest. (I voted for Obama last time but... blah blah blah)

I confess, I can't fully emphasize how fervently I hope that I am proven wrong!

05 November, 2012 20:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

RtS: Well, we'll see. Aside from #2, any effect of those factors would be affecting actual voting intentions and therefore would be reflected in the polls we're looking at -- which nevertheless show Obama ahead and Democrats ready to make gains in Congress.

If the whole population fully understood the realities of the situation, Obama and the Democrats would probably be ahead more like 75%-25%. The factors you cite are part of why the ratio is only something like 52%-48% instead.

As for point #1, by the way, I don't believe all the rich should be held in contempt. Some, like Bill Gates or J.K. Rowling, did actually produce things of value that earned them what they have. My objection is to people like Romney who got rich manipulating the system without producing anything of value (and in fact destroying things of value). Aspiring to being better off is not unrealistic in a normal situation. It's just that in our own country, upward mobility has largely disappeared as tax cuts and laissez-faire economics have undermined the basis for advancement (education, for example) and made class differences more rigid and immobile than in the socialist democracies that make up most of the rest of the Western world.

06 November, 2012 02:37  
Blogger S.W. Anderson said...

I am very concerned about vote tampering, ballot ditching/ destruction and other chicanery in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. The tighter the race results in any of those states, the more likely cheating by Republicans will be, IMO.

06 November, 2012 17:11  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SWA: We'll see. Right now it looks like Obama will win regardless of the outcome in those states.

06 November, 2012 19:23  

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