2012 Election prediction: Obama 303 to Romney 235

My prediction for 2012: Obama 303, Romney 235

My prediction for the election tomorrow is pretty straightforward – I’m using Nate Silver’s model for state-by-state probabilities and assigning each state to each candidate accordingly.

With respect to Wisconsin, I do believe that Wisconsin will come through for Obama, because Scott Walker won the recall. Not as a protest, but because this truly is a swing state, where 17% of Obama’s supporters in 2008 voted for Walker this year. You have to live in Wisconsin to understand why that’s perfectly reasonable.

As far as Ohio goes, if not for Mitt’s disastrous lie about Jeep moving jobs to China, which generated horrific headlines in all the major state market against him, I’d have guessed it would go for Romney, not least because Gov. Kasich succeeded in draconian limits on early voting in a bid for voter suppression. I’m giving Pennsylvania to Obama because voter ID-based efforts at suppression were thwarted by the courts. (It should be noted that voter fraud, unlike voter suppression, is basically a myth, as even Republican strategists have admitted).

Florida, I assume will go to Romney, and Iowa and Michigan to Obama. Plugging this into the vote calculator at 270towin.com gives me Obama 303, Romney 235 – not a McGovern-style blowout but still a decisive victory.

In fact, let’s be completely pessimistic and assume that Romney actually wins Wisconsin, Ohio, and even New Hampshire. Obama would still win by 271 to Romney 267.

My prediction is more optimistic than Ezra Klein, who gives Obama 290 to Romney 248, which differs from mine solely in that he calls Virginia for Romney.

In fact the only realistic path to victory that I see for Romney is if he hits the combination of WI, OH, and VA, in which case he wins 276 to Obama 262. Without all three of these, he can’t win. But if he wins all of these and loses Florida, Romney loses 247 to Obama 291.

If Romney loses Florida, then even if he won OH, WI, VA, and even PA – he’d still lose 267 to Obama 271.

The bottom line: Romney’s path to victory is extremely fragile, hinges on Florida and a sweep of the midwestern swing states – all places where early voting have shown huge Obama gains, and where Romney’s position on the auto bailouts and lies about Jeep outsourcing have hurt him badly. Anyone arguing that Hurricane Sandy is somehow to blame for Romney’s weakness is fooling themselves; Sandy only substantially hit states that are pro-Obama anyway.

I don’t have any prediction about the popular vote because it would just be a guess, I have no data or methodology to propose that would be meaningful. But it doesn’t really matter. Obama will win tomorrow.

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