Monday, October 29, 2012
After a difficult September, the debate helped Mr. Romney regain the lead in both the Electoral College and the national popular vote
As imperfect as my model is, with the release of more data to the public over the past months, by the end of September, I saw patterns that internal pollsters were seeing earlier in the summer. While every election cycle, there are about 12 to 18 battleground states, there are usually only 5 or 6 states that are truly swing states in terms of potentially tipping the balance to one candidate or the other. By early September, it became evident that at least 7 or 8 states could call themselves swing states, now it does not take too much of a stretch to see we have about a dozen swing or at least quasi swing states.
If an election were held at the end of September, Mr. Obama would have probably won 333 to 205. Mr. Romney would have won North Carolina by less than 2 point and Mr. Obama would have won the remaining swing and quasi swing states and win the national popular vote by 2.6%. The good news for Mr. Romney was that Mr. Obama would be only 247 electoral points without the swing states. In fact, Mr. Romney was behind by less than 1 point in Colorado, Florida and Virginia. Adding these states to Mr. Romney’s total, would put him at 256. He trailed in Iowa and Ohio by less then 2 points. Winning these two tipping point states, Mr. Romney would be up to 180 already and he was within 3 point of New Hampshire and Nevada; winning these states would bring him to 292. Wisconsin and Oregon were quasi swing states and Michigan and New Mexico were close to being quasi swing states. In short, with so many states being up for grabs, it was possible for either candidate to win a significant amount of electoral points without winning the popular vote by a huge margin.
By the eve of the debate, Colorado and Florida had already fallen slightly into the Romney column, but by the end of the weekend, Virginia had also fallen into the Romney camp as well. With the strength of national and regional polling, Nevada joined the GOP side and with the strength of Adjusted for party ID state polling Swing state polling Ohio tipped the scales on Tuesday October 9th to give the Republican candidate 281 points. In short October 9th was the magic day in my model. On the strength of swing state polling, Iowa became a Romney state on Thursday October 11th and then on Friday, October 12th, state polling put New Hampshire in the Romney column and Mr. Romney probably gains one point from Maine now to sit him on 292 points. Finally, Wisconsin went back and forth throughout the week, but as of Sunday, it leaned GOP to give Mr. Romney 302 point. As of Sunday, MO is safe, NC is essentially safe and Florida and Virginia were promoted from swing states to battleground states, so essentially, the worst case scenario for Mr. Romney is 248 points. Colorado is on the verge of being a battleground state and Mr. Romney managed to get a comfort level of at least a few points in the swing states of Ohio, NH and Nevada. The swing state of Iowa is not as safe. As of this past weekend, Mr. Obama had at least 211 points, he sits on 236. He held PA and MI by less than a point and New Mexico is now a swing state. Because regional data influence my model, I have Delaware as well as Oregon as Battle ground states. Maine, Minnesota, Connecticut and New Jersey are close to becoming battleground states in absolute terms should Mr. Obama slip further in the polls. As of today, I literally have both Wisconsin and PA on the knife’s edge.
While the GOP’s internal polls are not quite as rosy as my model in terms of Electoral points, things are in good shape in that department as well. GOP internal polling also suggests that Mr. Romney is safe (or almost safe in states comprising 248 points and doing well in Colorado and Ohio for 275 points. They also show Mr. Romney leading in New Hampshire for a total of 279. Unfortunately, internal party polling show that Mr. Romney is a little shy in both Iowa and Wisconsin and a bit further back in Nevada, which party pollsters and officials have a difficult time believing with regards to their own polling for that state. In fact, GOP pollsters have shown a Romney surge over the past few days or so. Finally, the party believes that Mr. Romney is not far behind in PA and Michigan, but they have essentially given up on New Mexico. BTW, my model shows that Mr. Romney has about a two and a half point to three point lead in terms of the national popular vote.
To be sure, the debate has reversed the momentum of the contest and the second debate did not do anything to halt the momentum. I talked to my mother by phone soon after the debate and the she said that she was more surprised with the chattering class and the media establishment (in my homeland) reaction to the debate rather Mr. Romney beating Mr. Obama. In short, Mr. Romney’s debate victory was clear enough that he was declared the winner in my homeland where the media thinks the same of Mr. Romney as any other Republican; a gaffe prone buffoon. I read several article over the next few days for newspapers there where it was said that Mr. Romney won by moving to the Left towards to Center. I read similar non-sense from newspapers from American Blue states. However, I am in the camp that thinks Mr. Romney won the debate by being a Conservative. As a Capitalist and a Conservative, I was rather pleasantly surprised to hear somebody (Moderate Mitt, no less) actually promote capitalism. Moderates claimed victory claiming that Mr. Romney’s defense of the middle class in the debate was a victory for Centrism if not liberalism. I disagree, this time Mr. Romney actually promoted capitalism; he finally got it that the middle class would rather have a positive business climate than a hand out. Mr. Romney could have just showed up and spewed a bunch of nice sounding non-sense against the empty chair. Instead, he outlined his pro-business plan with enough facts and figures to give details, but not too much to put the audience to sleep. In short he finally found the right balance with regards to presenting his plan. To be sure, I among others remain a non-romneyite, but I was very excited about Mr. Romney promoting Conservatism in that first debate. In short, I will figuratively still have to hold my nose on Election Day, but I among those that will be a bit more comfortable on Election Day voting for Mr. Romney.
For the sake of argument, I for one believe that Mr. Ryan won his debate against Mr. Biden on substance and Mr. Romney beat Mr. Obama as well in the other two debates. However, unlike the first debate, there were no knock out punches and the landscape and momentum was not changed much per se (unlike the first debate.) To be sure, Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney held their ground and scored points in the remaining debates, but while they did promote capitalism and Conservatism for time to time, they missed opportunities to promote these principles further. Ironically, I do not blame Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney for toning it down in the remaining debates. Mr. Romney proved to us Conservatives in the first debate that he has the ability to promote Conservatism articulately and as a result he swung Conservative voters and many electoral points into his column and thus did what he needed to do. He (and Mr. Ryan) then had to be careful not to blow their lead again and now that they once again put Conservative back in their camp, they then had to keep the moderates that they had in their column and gain a bit more momentum if possible for a mandate.
To be sure, I concede that my model is not as good as the models that both parties have. For starter, the have more accurate data to work from, but ironically, while my figures do not match what the party pollsters say in certain states, we agree that essentially my home state of Ohio will be the tipping point state or the state that most likely decides the election. It is certainly not the first time in American history that Ohio has decided who the President is, but this time it is particularly ironic. Neither the Obama camp nor the Romney camp has particular love for Ohio and while there are individual Ohioans who love Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney, I still think it is fair to say that generally speaking, the state as a whole does not exactly love either candidate and while most Ohioans have decided to back one candidate or the other, it won’t be without a lot of nose holding. This is certainly not the first campaign that I have seen on the ground either in the United States or out, but it some regards, I have never seen another campaign quite like this one, but that is another story.
A lot can happen over the next week and a half and states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and others could literally go either way, but it is almost a done deal that Mr. Romney will win Eastern Ohio, the Buckeye state as a whole and the country as a whole. While Ohio as a whole remains a national bellwether, there continues to be internal shifts in the state. Be prepared for at least one or two counties that have never voted GOP since at least Mr. Nixon to vote for Mr. Romney. On the other hand, unless it turns out to be a landslide of sorts, expect a few counties in Ohio to stick with Mr. Obama that usually do not vote for losing Democrat candidates. Ironically, though I certainly remain a non-Romneyite, I hope that he wins my state by a comfortable margin and that he wins a lot of other states as well. In short, I am hoping for some sort of mandate (if that is possible) rather than a simple victory. America is already on the road to being Europeanized and Socialized and we need extreme Right Wing Conservative and Capitalistic policies to reverse course. To be honest, my confidence level in the Romney/Ryan ticket to produce sufficient capitalistic policies is still not high. However, the larger the electoral victory is, the better the chance that we will see the Romney of the first debate rather than the Romney or Ryan of the other debates. In the end, I do not cross my finger for who will win the election; I cross my finger that we might get some Right Wing policies that will reverse the Leftism that has infected the land.