In what became one of my most unpopular posts ever, I predicted back in September that President Obama would win reelection on November 6. The president had a comfortable lead in the polls then, and I didn’t see any likely scenarios that would allow Governor Romney to catch up to him.
Well, that was then, and this is now. A lot has changed since I made that prediction, and the race has tightened up considerably. My initial prognostication had one caveat. I said that Governor Romney had one more chance to sway voters his way, and that last chance was the debates. I said that he would have to “dazzle voters in the first debate” if he were to stay alive in this race. I didn’t think that he could do that, but to my great surprise he did. And the race hasn’t been the same since. Romney has been enjoying a slight lead in national polls, and he has narrowed the President’s lead in critical swing states.
With all of that in view, some have wondered whether or not I would revise my earlier prediction. The short answer is no, not really. Here are the cold, hard realities. The national polls are interesting, but the only thing that really matters at this point is the Electoral College. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. All things considered, it is very unlikely that Governor Romney will reach 270 electoral votes without winning Ohio. With only two recent exceptions, the polls in Ohio have consistently favored President Obama. Right now, the Real Clear Politics polling average has President Obama leading in Ohio by 2.3 percentage points.
What does this mean? It means that after all is said and done—after all the gains Governor Romney has made since the first debate—Romney still trails in Ohio. Not only that, Romney is trailing in the early voting in Ohio as well. President Obama will go into Election Day with national unemployment below 8 percent and with Ohio’s employment outperforming the national average. It will be close, but at this point it looks like the President is poised to win Ohio, which means that he will also win the election.
It will be closer than what I predicted in September, but it will nevertheless be a victory for the incumbent.
P.S. If you don’t like this prediction, then you need to cast your vote on Tuesday. Especially if you live in a swing state like Ohio, turnout could turn this election and this prediction on its head. Go vote.
P.P.S. Please keep in mind that this is my analysis, not my advocacy. This is not what I want to happen, just what I think will happen.
P.P.P.S. It’s important to point out that I’m no political professional. I’m just an amateur who follows these things pretty closely. So take my prognostication with the requisite grain of salt.
P.P.P.P.S. I have predicted the LSU Tigers to lose to Alabama on Saturday and Romney to lose to Obama on Tuesday. For what it’s worth, I would love to eat crow concerning both of these predictions.
P.P.P.P.P.S. I’m aware of the disputes over the polls. I’m also aware of Karl Rove’s prediction in WSJ this week. I’m not buying any of it. There’s no one poll that I’m looking at. I’m talking about trends across all the state polls in Ohio, and they consistently favor Obama.