Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where do we stand electorally?

Now that it appears that Mr. Romney is going to have more than half the delegates, where does he stand with regards to the General Electoral landscape? It is first good to look at the 2008 results. In terms of per cent, Mr. Obama received 52.935 of the popular vote and Mr. McCain received 45.66%. In short, the GOP candidate got beat by a little more than 7 points. However, since Red states have increased their population a little faster than the rest of the country, if every state were to vote for the same party by the same margin, the gap between Mr. Obama and the GOP candidate shrinks from about 7.3 per centage points to 6.9 points. In part because Red states like Virginia and Colorado moved Blue and in part because Purple states like NH, Iowa and New Mexico went Blue by more than a few points, Mr. Obama has an electoral advantage. Mr. McCain won 173 electoral points. Because of the last census, Mr. Romney would win 179 point simply by winning the same states that Mr. McCain did. While Mr. McCain had a difficult time hanging on to Missouri and Montana to a degree, he barely lost North Carolina and Indiana as well and the second district of Nebraska. Further, while Florida and Ohio were not nail-biters, the margin in both those states was less than 5 points. Assuming that Mr. Romney wins all of those close states, he would be at 253 point. If Mr. Obama hangs on to every state that he won last time, he also sits at 253 points. So if the political landscape shifts right uniformly across the country, VA, CO, NH and Iowa would be the 4 states that decide the 2012 Presidential election. In 2000, Mr. Bush won because of Florida, in 2004, Ohio’s then 20 points put him over the top, a few states NM and Iowa were icing on the cake and in 2008, Colorado was the state that put Mr. Obama over the top as he won that state by about 1.7 points more than he won the national popular vote. While much can and probably will change between now and the election in November, it is possible that Colorado will decide or help decide the 2012 contest. In two thirds of all the states (including all Purplish states,) we have had at least one state opinion poll between the two major candidates. In fact over a dozen states have been polled over the past week, so we have a rather good idea of what is going on in each state as well as the country as a whole. While Real Clear Politics gives Mr. Obama at least a 2 point advantage, if we give more weight to the better polling companies, the gap nationally is probably about 0.1 in Mr. Romney’s favor; essentially a tie. Despite the fact that it is essentially a tie, at this point, the electoral landscape appears to favor Mr. Obama today. Near the beginning of the month, Mr. Obama would have probably won a national election 343 to 195 in the Electoral College and he would have won the popular vote by 1.5 points. So the gap is closing on both accounts. In the beginning of May, Mr. Romney would have won all McCain states plus Indiana and New Hampshire. Also, State-wide polling with regards to Nebraska in early May suggested that Mr. Romney would have won the second district. Polling later in the month suggested that Mr. Obama would hang onto the second District, but recent national momentum for Mr. Romney probably puts the that district back in the Romney column. While, relatively recent polling suggests that New Hampshire is back in the Obama column, North Carolina, Florida and even Ohio have moved into the Romney column to sit him at 253. Polling (both state and national) suggested that Mr. Romney has closed (or widened) the gap with Mr. Obama since 2008 in 47 state, while he has lost ground compared to Mr. McCain in Arizona, Minnesota and Tennessee. While it is understandable that Mr. Romney would lose ground in Mr. McCain’s home state, we might very well have bad (or incomplete) polling from the other two states. In any event, Mr. Romney will hang on to AZ and TN anyway and while Mr. Bush did well in MN, it is certainly not a purple state these days nor a must win for Mr. Romney. On the other hand racking up the score in bright Red states like Utah and the Dakotas and making it closer in costal states that he won’t win anyway does not help Mr. Romney. In short, under the current political landscape, Mr. Romney must win the popular vote by 1 or 2 points in order to win the Electoral College. Mr. Romney is probably lagging in the 4 keys states of 2008 by anywhere from 1 to 3 points. So he is no far from victory. On average, the needle has moved 7 points Red since the last election. While not every state is moving at the same speed, the political landscape is relatively stable. While Mr. Obama won Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin by more than 10 points, he won these 4 by less than 14 points. For now, Mr. Obama still leads MN by more than 10 points, but Mr. Romney has cut Mr. Obama’s lead to 5 or 6 points in both PA and WI so these states could potentially be key states. Nevada has become a key state by virtue of Mr. Obama’s gap being cut to 1.5 points in that state. Unless Mr. Romney wins the 4 2008 keys plus Nevada, he must win Ohio where his lead is less than 1 point. Mr. Romney is one and a half points ahead is Florida and is would be difficult to believe that Mr. Romney would be the Electoral College without Florida. So the 6 Key states for 2012 in order of Reddest to Bluest are currently, Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. Not a big change from 2008 so far. In fact the only change to the 6 key states so far is that Nevada replaces PA. On a side note, MN moves away from being a potential swing state. Either Virginia or Colorado is the deciding state currently; just like last time. The absolute worst case scenario for Mr. Romney is 206, but he will likely get at least 235 or 253 as a minimum. Mr. Obama should get at least 217 points and at this point it would be difficult to realistically get him under 247. If Mr. Obama does eventually fall into meltdown mode, the next states that we would expect to fall based on 2008 would be New Mexico (a traditional Purple state,) New Jersey (a state that has move Blue over the past few decades,) Oregon (where Mr. Bush narrowly lost back in 2000,) Michigan (the state that put Mr. Reagan over the top both times,) Washington and Maine. Of this group of states, polling suggests that at this point, Oregon is the only state that Mr. Obama is at risk of losing. His lead is about 5 and a half points. However, since we have only had one poll from Oregon, I would have to have my doubts that Oregon is that close. Mr. Romney is probably within 10 points of winning, Maine, New Mexico and New Jersey, but Mr. Obama is still safe for now, the only thing Mr. Obama might have to worry about in this group of states is hanging on to the 1st District of Maine. I suppose one could always question the accuracy of the various polling companies and their methods, but it would appear that both WA and MI are out of reach for Mr. Romney at this point. It was a pipe dream that Mr. Romney could turn his father’s state of Michigan into a key state. It is certainly possible that Mr. Romney might end up winning Michigan if Mr. Obama has a severe meltdown, but MI is not the key state that it was in the Reagan years. If Mr. Obama really falls into meltdown mode, states like Connecticut and Rhode Island might come into play, but at of now the key states are Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. While the list of key states might change slightly as the campaign unfolds, all of the key states and the few potential key states have a slightly higher than average Veteran population, this should help Mr. Romney. These states on balance have their fair share of Blue collar working which is a double edge sword. Many Blue collar workers have traditionally voted Democrat, but are not happy with the extreme environmental regulations coming from the current administration. On the other hand, they are not happy with Mr. Romney’s connections to Bain Capital so it is no surprise that we are hearing a lot about Bain and Solyndra in Key states. On a personal note, I am not impressed with the economic policies of either of the 2 main candidates. For the record, while Bain did not create as many jobs as Mr. Romney claims, Bain capital was and is a net positive on the American economy and to be sure, Mr. Romney was a good businessman, but in the end it matters to me not how Mr. Romney carried on his business and personal affairs. The bottom line is that while governor, his record on jobs was 47th in the country. So just like a good eye doctor cannot always fix your teeth, a good business does always govern with good economic sense. Meanwhile Mr. Obama governing record with regards to economics has been even worse. He has presided over and helped cause arguably the second worst economy in America’s history. So one candidate is not a capitalist (or at best a crony capitalists) and the other might have his heart in the right place and pretend to be a capitalist, but has no record of delivering while governing. So I for one am not excited about my choices from an economic point of view. These times call for the extreme Right Wing policies of Governors Walker and Kasich. Despite not having an economic choice, I will vote for Mr. Romney because at least there will be a good possibility that he will appoint good judges. It is difficult to predict exactly how the election will unfold 5 months from now, but since Mr. Romney is close to shoring up at least 253 points, Mr. Obama should be beatable, especially with the economy in poor shape. As Mr. Rumsfeld says ‘you go to war with the army you got.’ I am among those who would not chose such an army, but I guess I’ll cross my fingers and hope for the best.


Machtyn said...

One person needs to acquire 100 apples to fill their need. Another person needs to acquire 1000 apples to fill their need. Apples are hard to come by in this situation.

The first is able to go out and acquire 45 apples. The second is able to go out and acquire 350 apples. Clearly, the first person was a failure and came in 2nd in this race to acquire apples (or 47th, if there were 46 others who acquire more than 45).

Of course, when you've already picked your trees and only a few apples are left, it's hard to gather more than the other person who has a lot more apples waiting to be picked. In other words, MA had nearly filled all of their jobs, so of course their job creation record will be lower than others' job creation records.

Machtyn said...

Now, on to the rest of the article. Very well thought out and I agree with a lot of it. It would be nice to have some paragraph separation.

Call me an optimist, I think that NV will be in play. Obama may still win it, but it will be close. And PA may be closer than we think. Even though Dem registered voters are up, the Repubs had major wins in the 2010 election. I'm a little nervous about FL. Ohio will be VERY interesting. They've been moving blue quite steadily. But Obama's war on coal and existing energy production can't be overlooked.

The EC count will most certainly be close, even if Romney wins the popular vote. (I'm still saying Romney wins with 5%+ on the EC count.)

Ohio JOE said...

With regards to paragraph separation, I must have computer issues because every time I saw it in review form, I see the separations.

Yes, NV is in play and PA could be. While Ohio moved Blue in 2004, it actually moved blue in 2008 by less than the national swing. And yes, Mr. Obama's war on coal is not helping him.

Finally Machtyn, I am not sure I buy the 100 apples versus 1000 apples analogy. Yes, arguably, MA was already close to full employment, but so were many other states. Also, if one argues that because of its small size, MA cannot possibly create as many jobs as NY, PA, CA and TX, one must also conclude that it should have created more jobs than states that were even smaller than itself.

Machtyn said...

I know my analogy needs work. It's not that MA was of a small size, but that they were already close to a healthy economy. And I would argue that "many other states" were close to full employment. When MA hit 6.0% unemployment, Romney was able to swing that number back down below the national average and keep it there until the nation caught up during the final 6 - 12 months. Of course, it depends on the definition of many. ;^)

By the way, when in doubt, go to the html editor and stick a couple of < br > tags between your paragraphs. (without the spaces, of course)

Anonymous said...

You seem to imply that Romney's economic record as Governor was not good, only better than Obamas economic record as President. Rest assured, Romneys record as Governor was very good, especially compared to Obama and especially when you factor in the context that massachusetts competes with California for Bluest state in the country.

GetReal said...

I'm very happy to have you on the team, OJ!

As far as the employment issue, I will just say the "47th" stat can be misleading, and I think we'd all be celebrating if the nation had anywhere close to MA's employment rate at the end of Romney's term.

In fact, if Obama had such a record, he'd be running on it, instead of distractions.

Robb F said...

It is also important to keep things in perspective when it comes to MA job creation. Mitt was coming in to a very liberal state that already had many job killing policies in place. You don't completely change that in one term and even if you do the results don't necessarily happen immediately. When your Legislature has a veto proof majority you are also limited in the types of reforms you can even attempt. Judging Mitt as if he was governor of TX is just simply not reasonable if one intends to be fair.

Anonymous said...

Would be nice if there were some separated paragraphs in this post. Writing 101.

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