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State of the race: Romney 263 Obama 223, 52 EV Toss-Up, trending prediction on toss-ups

OH, PA, NH, WI

I believe Karl Rove, Michael Barone, and Jay Cost are all sound on their predictions of a Romney win.  These boys have been around politics for a long time and are as sharp and realistic as they come.  The Battleground Poll Election Model indicates a Romney win.  Even the Huffington Post election model predicts a Romney win.  I have Iowa going Romney and Nevada going Obama as being lean states that could change.  Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Indiana are in the bag for Romney.  Some lefties may argue about Colorado but the early voting looks very strong for Romney there.  So here it goes.

Ohio

The one everyone is talking about and has since the whole 2012 race started.  Rasmussen currently has the presidential and Ohio Senate race tied as of today.  I believe Romney will win Ohio by 2 points minimum on Election Day and believe it could be as high as 5.  Here is why:

  1. Massive GOP enthusiasm and turnout on Election Day –  If there is one thing that I believe has been consistent in all the polls, it is near certain that they are all underestimating the GOP turnout in Ohio.  They did so in 2004.  Reports are from GOP operatives and Bush operatives are that the Romney ground operation in Ohio is significantly larger and better than Bush-Cheney 2004 which produced an R+5 electorate in Ohio against an enthusiastic Democratic base that came out for John Kerry along with independents that went solidly for Kerry as well.  The evangelical vote will be out in droves like they were in 2004 by all indications.  The crowd sizes the last few days also indicate that Obama will have a very hard time pulling in his voters because of the lack of enthusiasm for the ticket.
  2. Crossover Democrats voting for Romney — Probably the most under-reported story in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Coal mining and natural gas voters in Eastern Ohio very upset with the Obama administration’s environmental regulation interference costing jobs and bankrupting coal companies alone will very likely yield a significant proportion of cross-over votes to Romney.  It is apparent that this is very well the case as Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania are very interlinked.  With Obama pushing the panic button in Pennsylvania, it says that the race in Pennsylvania is very much in play and in danger of flipping red.  If this is the case, I cannot think of any reason how Romney can lose Ohio if Pennsylvania is a narrow Obama win in the margin of 4 points or less.
  3. No early voter pad for Obama –  In 2008, Obama had about a 250,000 + vote lead going into Election Day 2008.  Not anymore as Karl Rove pointed out:

Adrian Gray, who oversaw the Bush 2004 voter-contact operation and is now a policy analyst for a New York investment firm, makes the point that as of Tuesday, 530,813 Ohio Democrats had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot. That’s down 181,275 from four years ago. But 448,357 Ohio Republicans had voted early or had requested or cast an absentee ballot, up 75,858 from the last presidential election.

That 257,133-vote swing almost wipes out Mr. Obama’s 2008 Ohio victory margin of 262,224. Since most observers expect Republicans to win Election Day turnout, these early vote numbers point toward a Romney victory in Ohio. They are also evidence that Scott Jennings, my former White House colleague and now Romney Ohio campaign director, was accurate when he told me that the Buckeye GOP effort is larger than the massive Bush 2004 get-out-the-vote operation.

Independents in Ohio according to which pollster that you look at show them to be all over the place, likely because of the voter screens that the pollsters use.  However, bottom line is that the GOP vote turnout will be what tips Ohio to Romney.  How many Democrats cross over and regardless of how independents vote will determine if Ohio is a close Romney win or blowout.  Jay Cost tweeted in the last 24 hours that Ohio turnout of the electorate historically is 0 to R+2.  I don’t see that being any different this year.  One final point and pass this along to all your friends.  We have seen dirty media tricks in 2000 and 2004 (the early Florida call, Ohio exit polls showing Kerry running away with Ohio in 2004).  I’ll get into this in a later post prior to Election Day.  It comes from CAC at Ace:

When the numbers come in from Ohio, keep the razor blades away for the first two hours. The Secretary of State has announced that the early vote is going up first in reporting, and if we go by polling it will be heavily Obama. Now, if it isn’t…

The numbers are probably going to be in Obama’s favor as the early vote is counted first.  Watch out for MSNBC and CNN for statements like “Looks like Ohio is going Obama and could make a call soon” which could affect the vote in Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, and Nevada.  Keep your head down, ignore the media, go vote straight Republican.

Pennsylvania

In my opinion, a pure toss-up now with very strong momentum toward Romney.  The wild card in all of this is how the collar counties around Philadelphia go to offset the Philly urban vote.  Western and Central Pennsylvania are looking to go heavily toward Romney.   Jay Cost provides a very good analysis:

The low-down on the Keystone State:

Broad context: PA outside of Philly County has been trending red for 20 years. It has so far been checked by Dem turnout in Philly County, but Philly County’s population has been flat. So turnout increases in the county are from turnout machines/enthusiasm alone. At some point, that could breakdown.
So assume:

(a) Total PA turnout is up 3% over 2008. Philly County comprises 11.5% of total PA electorate (similar to 2004, less than 2008).

(b) Romney wins non-Philly county 54-46. (Slightly better than Bush ’04, who won 52.5 to 47.5)

Then:

Obama MUST net 433k votes out of Philly County to win. In 2008 he netted 478k votes. In 2004 Kerry netted 410k votes. In 2000 Gore netted 350k votes.

Tweak the assumptions to lower Philly turnout, increase non-Philly turnout, increase Romney share of non-Philly. And Keystone State goes red.

That doesn’t look like that heavy of a lift.  Romney being in Bucks County tomorrow with Bill Clinton frantically following on Monday making four stops in PA including Philadelphia looks like very, very real peril in Pennsylvania for the Democrats.   Bottom line, I don’t know.  Watch for the Susquehenna poll that comes out in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review tomorrow.  If Romney is up, tied, or within 2 points of Obama, Ohio assuredly will fall Romney on Election Day.

Wisconsin

I don’t really detect any sort of momentum in either direction and Rasmussen has the race tied at 49 according to the latest poll.  However, the Mayor of Denver is quite worried about the early voting in Wisconsin:

“We have not turned out the vote early,” Hancock was quoted as saying in an article about the rally that appeared in the Washington Examiner. “The suburbs and rural parts of Wisconsin — the Republican base — are voting. President Obama’s base has yet to go vote. We’ve got to get our people to go vote.”

And from Michael Barone:
Recent polling is discouraging for Republicans. But Gov. Scott Walker handily survived the recall effort in June with a great organizational push. Democrats depend heavily on margins in inner-city Milwaukee (population down) and the Madison university community. But early voting is down in university towns in other states. The Obama campaign is prepared to turn out a big student vote, but you don’t see many Obama signs on campuses. Romney.
Combine that with a native son as the VP running mate, the intangibles and visual evidence indicate Wisconsin may be a slight tick toward Romney.
New Hampshire
A polling Jekyl and Hyde.  Romney is up 2 in Rasmussen.  Agenda pollsters PPP and Marist show Obama up 2.  Even Barone isn’t sure:
Polls are very tight here. I think superior Republican intensity will prevail. Romney.
Looks like a 51-48 to 52-47 national popular vote, 281-315 EV win for Romney, barring some unforeseen, unconventional swing toward an unpopular incumbent at the last minute.  I don’t make final predictions.  I leave that to the professionals!

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