Mike’s 2012 Election Prediction

by Mike on November 6, 2012

in Election 2012,Politics

Well, it’s Election Day and it’s time for the three of us to post our predictions.  I always hate doing this, especially when the race appears to be close, but here goes.

When looking at political races, I tend to focus on data, maybe too much.  Prior to Hurricane Sandy’s landfall over New Jersey last week, I thought Mitt Romney had this race in the bag and was on his way to a comfortable win.  The reputable national polling firms showed a lead of about 5-6 points.  You could even see it on the candidate’s faces at the Al Smith Dinner.  But when the storm stuck, I believe President Obama got a bounce, not because of any strong leadership, but because both candidates’ messages were silenced.  In Romney’s case, that was a bad thing, but it was great news for Obama.

Obama’s Sandy bounce helped him pull into a tie on the national surveys, though it appears Mitt has been gaining since the weekend.  Rasmussen’s poll yesterday showed Romney with a one-point lead, as did the final Gallup poll.  IBID/TIPP shows a one-point lead for Obama while Pew shows a three point edge for the President at 50-47.   The state polls show slight leads for Obama in the swing states, but those tend to assume a Democrat turnout advantage on par with the historic 2008 election.  No serious person believes that will be repeated.  The question is by how much the margin shrinks or if it flips.

In fact, Peggy Noonan may have hit the nail on the head with her prediction that Romney will win tonight.  In that post, Noonan wonders whether many of us who follow politics closely may be missing something by focusing on the data:

Is it possible this whole thing is playing out before our eyes and we’re not really noticing because we’re too busy looking at data on paper instead of what’s in front of us? Maybe that’s the real distortion of the polls this year: They left us discounting the world around us.

I think that might be right.  There is no doubt, except in some state polling, that Democrat turnout will not match 2008.  You see it in the yard signs, bumper stickers, and diminished crowd sizes.  Even Bruce Springsteen can’t draw a crowd for Obama like he did for Kerry in 2004.  You see it in the overflowing crowds for Mitt Romney, hear it in the voices of apolitical or even Democratic co-workers who are voting for Mitt because they see him as a problem solver.  Conservative voters are even more motivated this year than in 2004.  Gallup and Rasmussen’s party registration surveys seem to confirm that.  I think the national polls are starting to re-capture what I think is happening on the crowd for Romney and I think the state polls, which normally lag the national numbers, aren’t doing so because of the statistical assumptions.  Unlike most years, the polling averages are not bell curves, but two sets of data based on differing assumptions.

I could be wrong obviously.  2008 was a historic election.  If it was a realignment rather than a wave, then I think the President wins with about 290 votes and the map would look like this.  But I don’t think 2008 was a realignment.  I think it the result of a country that was war-weary and proud of what electing the first black President in history meant for our country.  The voters were wrong in 2008, but meant well.  I think they still mean well and see this President for the failure he is.

I tend to be data-driven in my analysis.  But this year’s take is part data, part observation, and part gut instinct.  I think Mitt Romney will win tonight.  I don’t think it will be a landslide, but I also don’t think it will be that close.  Unfortunately, we cant’ embed maps like last time, so here is the link to my map.

My prediction:  Romney 315, Obama 223  (I pray this is right) Popular Vote: Romney 51 Obama 48

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