Why President Obama Will Win Reelection

Doug Wilson is pretty convinced that Mitt Romney will pull off an impressive win against President Obama this November. Wilson is so sure of his prediction that he says, “If I were a betting man, which I am not, I would be willing to put a $25 steak dinner on it.” Well, if I were a betting man, which I am not, I would see his $25 steak dinner and raise him a $15 barbecue platter. I think President Obama is going to win reelection.

Having said that, 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. But here’s why I think the country will be blue again this November:

1. The polls are trending against Romney. I know, I know. Republican critics are saying that the polls should not be trusted at this point and that there is some internal flaw with the polling. I am not buying that. It’s not any one poll that that I am basing this on. Nearly all the major polls have Romney behind, and I’m having a hard time believing that they are all wrong. The trends are clear, so critics’ objections sound like special pleading to me.

2. Romney is losing in the battleground states. It’s not just that Romney is behind in national polls. He’s losing in the swing states that he must win in order to reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes. President Obama starts out with about 265 electoral votes from states that are likely to go his way. Romney starts out with 191. That leaves only 82 electoral votes from states that are genuine toss-ups. Romney has to win nearly all of them, but he’s falling behind in nearly all of them. Just look at the trends below in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia (see below). In those critical battlegrounds, President Obama has overtaken Romney and is poised to increase his lead.

3. Negative impressions of Romney are already beginning to harden among the electorate. No doubt the media drive some of this, and no doubt much of this is unfair. But Romney hasn’t helped with his weekly gaffes—the recent 47% comment being perhaps the worst. The bottom line is that Romney has not convinced voters that he is a viable alternative to the incumbent. In an election that should be focused on the record of the incumbent, it has instead been focused on lampooning Romney’s mistakes. This too is driven in part by the media. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and Romney shows no signs of transcending it.

4. Romney has one chance to change negative impressions of him: the debates. To be specific, he has to dazzle voters in the first debate. But I haven’t seen anything in Romney’s debate performances that makes me think he’s capable of dazzling anyone. Perhaps Romney will surprise everyone and prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

So I look forward to claiming my $25 steak dinner from Brother Wilson this November…[throat clearing] that is, if I were a betting man.

–My name is Denny Burk, and I approve this message.–


  • Richard Carwile

    Valid points. BUT, you have to consider polls are taken from samples of the population. The only way to know who each person will vote for is to have a national election in which each eligible person can vote. That will happen in November. Until then, we just do not know. Polls have been wrong before. They are strong indicators, but they are not absolute. There is also a lot of time between now and the election, so anything could happen….for the better or worse of either campaign.

  • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)

    I live in Ohio and it seems like the phone is ringing constantly with political calls, most of them surveys at this point. One thing to keep in mind is the campaign timeline. Romney’s campaign (in their phone bank and door-to-door effort) is focused on identifying supporters and getting them to commit to vote early/absentee so they can cross them off the list and move on to undecided voters in the next round. There is sort of an inverted pyramid so that they can focus their most intense efforts on the smaller pool of undecided voters in the final days of the campaign. So that’s where the effort has been thus far, which may be affecting the poll numbers.

    That said, there are some very troubling signs. Messaging has been terrible here. Our Republican governor has improved the unemployment rate and the overall economy while balancing the budget. Instead of Romney saying he would do what Gov. Kasich is doing to improve the rest of the country, he comes here and talks about how bad the economy is, seemingly oblivious to Kasich’s reforms. On Facebook I received back-to-back messages from Romney and Kasich, Romney’s saying how crappy the economy is in Ohio and that he would fix it and one from Kasich saying that under his leadership, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 7.2%. They are completely stepping on each other instead of linking arms and working together.

    Perhaps the most troubling part of this is that it will affect down-ticket races. Our GOP senate candidate, Josh Mandel, a conservative and tea party favorite, is also losing. He has been a target of the liberal newspapers and of Huffington Post and other blogs and the GOP has done little to fight for him. It was a very winnable race against Sherrod Brown, one of the most liberal members of the senate, but the GOP has thrown Mandel under the bus. It’s very indicative of the timidity of the overall strategy.

  • David Thomas

    Denny, I think we both know what the other would /like/ to see happen, if only as a lesser of two evils. Maybe I am presuming, but I don’t think I am.

    That said, I recall you once commenting that it is somewhat hackneyed to speak of the bias of the “liberal media.” Hackneyed though it may be, it also happens to the cold hard truth. I would also deign to say that it is more in play in this election than any I have ever seen before. And polls are one of the most favored “mediums of the media” and are used to influence the public by creating the very powerful “air of inevitability,” encouraging the ranks of one party while breaking the spirit of the other. In other words, polls are propaganda weapons of psychological partisan warfare.

    This link http://spectator.org/archives/2012/09/25/how-carter-beat-reagan/ provides a most enlightening insight that (at least in this election) is as true or truer than it was 32 years ago. Because of the dynamics described here and the almost absurd variations in the polls you yourself present, I simply don’t buy into your reasoning that this is all but determined. It is very, very much in play. Obama still has a negative rating (strongly approve vs. strongly disapprove) that approaches 20%, enthusiasm in the core voting blocks that voted him in is far less than 4 years ago (pointing to low voter turnout), even as these ranks are roundly counted on by the polls that put Obama so strongly up. The economy is terrible and unemployment hasn’t been this high this long since the Great Depression. People are deeply disaffected.

    I think Romney is a weak candidate who has squandered opportunities and made some bad mistakes, though there’s no doubt he’s been hammered and depicted as far worse than he really is (and Obama far better–or less bad anyway–than /he/ really is). But this thing is far, far from over. It’s neck and neck, and anything could happen over the next 5 weeks.

    In the end, of course, you have a big chance of being right. At least 50%!

  • EAJ

    I think Romney a conservative, although not nearly conservative enough for me will not win and not because of gaffs and such. He won’t win because the majority of the US culture of is embracing a liberal agenda and morality. Just look at the change in our churches and what is happening there. They will re-elect Obama.

    I will vote for Romeny, I don’t like that I have to. And I only choose to because I do hold onto a grain of hope he may actually be able to put his finger in the dike and keep it from breaking. Maybe that will give us some more time…maybe.

    I wish Rick Santorum had won the party vote – although he would loose as well. But I think he would have gone down fighting for better principles and certainly for the lives of children. That is a message I would have liked to have seen fought for by a Presidential candidate even if the majority of American didn’t want to hear it they would have had to listen.

  • Aaron O'Kelley

    I’m with Wilson on this one. Obama rarely breaks 50% in any of the polls. That is an ominous sign for any incumbent.

    And let’s not forget that Jimmy Carter was ahead of Reagan at this point in 1980. The economic conditions and the foreign policy disasters of that year and this one are eerily similar.

    • Denny Burk


      I think you are correct that things can change between now and election day. The 1980 election is analogous in that Reagan was trailing far into October that year. The main difference this time is that the Republicans don’t have a candidate with the talents of Reagan who could transcend all the negativity in the coverage. So it’s possible for things to change, but I don’t think it’s likely.


  • Don Johnson

    Polls are notorious for being incredibly easy to manipulate to get the “right” answer if that is what you want to do. One way is to do a LOT of them and only publish the ones where the answer you want is what the poll results say, as you see it. No one sees the polls that do not have the results you want.

    On voting day, the goal is to get the other side to stay home, thinking it is not worth it. In many places, it IS not worth it, it is only really worth it in the so-called swing states. I live in one of them and my phone has been going off the hook with polls, which I refuse to answer. The basic reality is “Follow the money.” Politicians do not spend money on polls or states where they already know they are going to win, they spend it where they might win or might lose. So this indicates to me that my supposed swing state is actually a swing state.

  • Barry Woodward

    I’m starting to get the same feeling. However, Dick Morris predicts that in the end basically ALL of the undecideds will break for the challenger, which if true still looks hopeful for Romney.

    It’s hard for me to believe that the same country that voted the way it did in the 2010 midterms will reelect Obama.

    • Paul Abella

      the country that voted the way it did in 2010 had massive grassroots support on the right for a lot of far, far, far, far, far, far right wing candidates. The same tea party republicans that came out in force in 2010 are going to vote for Romney? I think you’re going to see a massive malaise amongst factions of the GOP’s voting bloc and a anyone from the center and leftward scared beyond belief by Romney/Ryan. The republicans made it too easy this time.

  • David Rogers

    Though I am certain I will not vote for Obama, I am still undecided as to whether I will vote for Romney, a third-party candidate (who?), or write someone in. It seems to me that the Republicans/Conservatives have made this campaign all about the evils of Obama. The problem with that, for people like me, is that I was never going to vote for Obama anyway. They have really done nothing to win my vote in the meantime. At this point, I am not inclined to vote for Romney either. And I tend to agree that Obama will likely win. But God’s Kingdom will ultimately prevail.

    • Denny Burk

      I say vote for the candidate that is most likely to advance the principles that you care about. That’s not the same thing as voting for the candidate who has the same principles that you have. Which one is most likely to move the ball down the field? Not every play will be a touchdown, but it’s still better to gain a yard than to lose yardage. That’s why I think it’s sometimes better to vote for imperfect candidates.

      • David Rogers

        Yes, I will have to take that into consideration and prayerfully make my choice on election day. In the meantime, I was just positing a theory regarding why a certain sector of undecided voters (including myself) may well end up not voting for Romney.

  • ndefalco

    If Huckabee were running, this election would be a slam-dunk win for the Republicans. He finished a strong second in the 2008 primary. Mitt, 3rd place finish. The difference? Cultural conservatives would be jazzed about Huckabee and not “Well, he’s better than Obama.” And with his flat tax idea he would’ve won over fiscal conservatives. Sorry, but we had that “he’s better than the other guy” with Dole and McCain and the libs had that with Kerry. Huckabee would’ve been our “Reagan”.

    • Paul Abella

      I actually voted for Huckabee in the 2008 primary (which was awful, because then I had to vote for a Republican undercard, too). In 2008, he was the socially conservative Bill Clinton. What wouldn’t be to like? In 2012, he’s been mainlining the Kool Aid and is simply a more personable Rick Santorum. He would have gotten stomped in the general election.

  • Aaron O'Kelley

    Something else to consider here is that polls have to be weighted according to demographics. Pollsters have to decide what they predict the turnout of various groups will be on election day, and that determines how much weight they assign to each group in their samples.

    Normally, pollsters have been on fairly safe ground to use turnout models from the previous election cycle. However, I would contend that 2008 gave us the most unusual turnout in modern election history because of the historic campaign of Barack Obama. Pollsters have been relying too much on 2008 turnout numbers in their samples this time around. The fact is, Obama is not running near the campaign he had then. Demographics who turned out in droves last time around will be significantly less represented this time. The result is that polls are heavily skewed in his favor, but the result on election day will likely be very different.

    And even with this “poll advantage,” if you want to call it that, Obama is still not getting over 50% of the vote. He is dead in the water, in my opinion.

  • Aaron O'Kelley

    I’ve probably worn out my welcome by now, but I thought I would add one last thought: Denny, where are you getting the 265 electoral votes in the bag for Obama? Karl Rove’s most recent map, based on the most recent polls, gives Obama 196 votes plus an additional 51 that are leaning his way (though I would contend that Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and perhaps even Michigan are still up for grabs). I think 265 is way too generous to the president at this point. Here is Rove’s map:


    We must also recognize that one of the strategies of the Obama campaign (and its propaganda machine known as the mainstream media) is to convince potential Romney voters that this race is over and depress their turnout, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If anyone reading this blog falls into that camp, do not let yourself be manipulated.

  • Dave Dunbar

    Things can change quite a bit before voting day. And God’s plan may not be apparent to us.

    However, I’m afraid, Denny, that you’re absolutely correct.

    But even evil rulers have been used for the glory of God and the furtherance of the gospel! No matter who wins, our job doesn’t change: the proclamation of the glorious gospel of grace.

    • Denny Burk

      Ahem…attention everyone. It has been brought to my attention that we will be entering into the final season of “The Jersey Shore.” Please duly note this earth-shattering news as I’m sure your lives will never be the same.

      (HT: Mitch “has lost his mind” Dean)


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