A roller-coaster of an election has reached its final day. Americans have begun their trips to the polls and barring any problems with the counting of ballots we will have a President-elect and newly minted, or re-elected Senators and Representatives tonight.
Predictions about the winner of the election are a favorite pass-time during this season. Few rise beyond the level of a soothsayer trying to tell the future by reading the entrails of an animal. That is not quite my style and I believe that my neighbor’s recently acquired rooster will be better dealt with by code enforcement. Many predictions are based on gut feeling, anecdotes, superstition and polling results. Others attempt to bring the scientific method to bear to predict the decisions of their fellow citizens.
In this fine tradition of prognostication I offer reasons why I believe that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States. I will briefly cover the changing perceptions about activism among citizens, the varying levels of voter intensity between the parties, quotes from leading authorities, the scientific method and much more.
A huge change that has taken place among Republicans is their view of activism. Republicans tend to write letters to the editor and send contributions to candidates that they support. Protesting public officials and their policies is something associated with Democrats. During the first two years of his term President Obama had majorities in both houses of Congress. Legislation proposed, passed and ‘deemed passed‘ by the Pelosi led House and the Reid led Senate raised the ire of normally disengaged citizens.
The TEA Party sprung up as a loose confederation of concerned citizens and they got to work. Volunteers wrote their representatives, held rallies and unprincipled elected officials saw consequences at home. In a stunning upset based in part on his promise to be a vote against Obamacare, Republican Scott Brown was elected to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat long held by Ted Kennedy. TEA Party groups also rallied on Capitol Hill in a final effort to convince representatives to vote against Obamacare. When the bill passed into law these same groups recruited candidates to challenge establishment politicians. Their participation led to a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and established a TEA Party caucus that has given the House a more conservative direction. Republican Scott Walker was elected governor of Wisconsin and survived an attempted recall by the unions.
Conservative groups have also jumped into the fray at a rate not seen before. Organizations including FreedomWorks recruited volunteers to travel to battleground states to assist in voter contact. Voter contact from Republican and conservative groups has risen significantly over numbers from 2008. With the President’s volunteers discouraged, momentum with activists favors Mitt Romney and Republicans.
Mail, signage, bumper stickers and rally attendance numbers do not equal votes. However they are proxies for voter intensity. Literature from campaigns and third party groups has stacked up faster than ever before. Yard signs for Romney and down ballot Republican candidates have sprung up like weeds. Romney signs tend to be boldly placed and easily seen by passing drivers. Homes that have never before displayed signs for any candidate or campaign now advertise their support of the GOP nominee. Obama supporters are fewer and less obvious about their support. Signs – the few that are visible – tend to be located closer to homes and one has to look to find them.
Beyond the candidates, organizations that probably did not exist during the last election cycle have popped up to try and reach voters.
An email from a relative described a fundraising effort for electronic billboards with pro-freedom, pro-Republican messages. Other billboards, like one in Miami, FL, take a less ideological and more practical approach to their view of the President’s failure. It has the price of gas on President Obama’s first day, the President bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia, and the current price of gas. The message is simple and effective. Another video that features “Obama phone lady” is showing voters the dangers of a population dependent on government.
The media suggests that Democrats had higher turnout during early voting but remember that Republicans like to vote on election day. Analysts have also cautioned that Democrats may have been cannibalizing their best voters to get headlines about Obama’s lead in early voting. Voter intensity and election day voting favors Mitt Romney. The efforts of some of the President’s supporters may also help Romney and no, I don’t mean Joe Biden.
The story goes that the result of the last home game of the Washington Redskins before the election mirrors the results of the Presidential election. If the Redskins win the game, the incumbent wins re-election; a Redskins loss means a loss for the incumbent. The “rule” has held true since 1940, correctly ‘predicting’ the winner of the Presidential contest with the lone exception of 2004. It received some attention in the media before the game. The outcome: the Redskins fell to the Carolina Panthers 21-13.
Of course this is absolutely silly and closer to a soothsayer reading bird entrails for inspiration. But is there any doubt that the media would have been trumpeting the good omen for Obama if the Redskins had won? This development favors Romney even if just for the entertainment value.
Democrats themselves seem to be resigned to a loss this year. A political writer for the New York Times is preemptively trying to pin the blame for Obama’s loss on Bill Clinton. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has pledged to obstruct President Romney’s agenda in the coming Congress. Has Senator Reid seen internal polling that is not publicly available? Some rank-and-file Democrats also seemed resigned to a Romney victory. This post from a New Mexico columnist describes the racist plans that he believes Republicans will implement during a Romney administration. Replies to the post are more entertaining as the columnist is taken to task by his readers. If Democrats don’t believe that their man can make it over the finish line they may just stay home.
People who earn their living in this field tend to be more knowledgeable than the average Joe or the average blogger for that matter. Briefly, I turn the floor over to Michael Barone, Nate Silver and George Will.
Michael Barone is a political analyst and pundit. As the author of The Almanac of American Politics he has encyclopedic knowledge of political trends and events in the United States and is often knowledgeable down to developments in individual counties. His recent column on election predictions gives Romney the nod:
“Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.”
Nate Silver rose to notice with his near perfect prediction of the results of the 2008 election. He has consistently had the President on track to win the election giving him a 1.6% lead over Mitt Romney as of the latest polls. Some have accused Silver of using a flawed model that does not take into account that 2008 election occurred in a wave year.
George Will is an Pulitzer Prize winning author and has a syndicated column. In a 2008 talk at the University of Miami, he quipped that if the Democrats were not able to win the presidency in 2008 that they should just give up the enterprise altogether. He correctly saw the wave building for Senator Obama, the tarnishing of the Republican brand, and lackluster support among Republicans for their nominee. This time around Will is predicting a 321-217 Romney victory in the Electoral College.
Two researchers at the University of Colorado have developed a model that takes economic conditions into account to predict the winner of the Electoral College. Using data from previous election years the model has correctly predicted the winner each time. The most recent revision to the model was made in early October:
“The model foresees Romney carrying New Mexico, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida. Obama is predicted to win Michigan and Nevada.”
The authors caution that there is a margin of error and that states with closely split votes may shift in the other direction. It is an interesting and novel way of predicting the results of the election and worth a read.
So there you have it, I believe it’s Romney in 2012.
Of course the only poll that matters is the one currently in progress across the country. One way or another we will get the government we deserve. The American people will soon render their verdict.