Monday, November 5, 2012

The Shock Historic Election Forecast 2012

YOU HEAR it every election cycle: “This one is historic.” It’s generally true, of course — in the purest sense of the word, every American presidential election is historic, as something that happens once every four years deserves to be — but some are more historic than others.

The popular vote for the 2012 presidential election is impossible to predict right now, although early voting indicators suggest a robust turnout. As of Sunday, more than 30.65 million Americans — more than 18 percent of the eligible electorate of 169 million registered voters — had already voted, according to the United States Election Project.

But tomorrow’s election will hinge on Election Day turnout, aroused segments of an emerging national electorate, and a reawakening of old and reliable political constituencies. Forecast: On the basis of a plurality of national and battleground polls (most showing little change in the race's momentum) and no dilution of strength in the Electoral College, President Obama will win re-election with an Electoral College vote total of 303. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, will trail with 235. Two hundred and seventy are needed to win.

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Obama will win the 18 electoral votes of the state of Ohio, holy of holies of the battleground states. This win will be propelled in no small part by of the Obama administration’s rescue of the auto industry, which directly or indirectly supports 1 in every 8 Ohioans’ jobs.

Obama will win the state of Virginia, if just barely, in part because of its growing Latino population, and that community’s inclination for supporting Democratic politics, and its concerns over immigration issues. There are more than 630,000 Virginia residents of Latino descent, almost 8 percent of the state's population, a number that reflects a 92 percent increase since 2000.

Obama will also get a boost from a strong turnout of women voters in the Old Dominion, a bloc of voters repulsed by the Republican Party’s increasingly repressive stance on abortion and reproductive rights, a party position that Team Romney endorsed early and often.

The president will win the state of Wisconsin, a follow-through on recent polls trending his way (the latest Marquette University Law School poll has Obama over Romney by a probably insurmountable 8 points), as well as a solid Team Obama ground game, and a hearty early-voting operation that State Sen. Lena Taylor, in an MSNBC interview, said was yielding better results than in 2008.

Colorado will narrowly break for Obama, on the basis of Real Clear Politics average of state polls, and expected strong turnout of Latino voters concerned about immigration issues and the state of education, among other factors. Over half the state’s Latino residents are Democrats, and more than 10 percent of the state’s registered voters are Latino, according to a NALEO study.

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DOWNTICKET races: In Ohio, the incumbent, Sen. Sherrod Brown, will defeat his Republican challenger Josh Mandel, the state treasurer seen as too young to take seriously as a contender. Brown’s experience in elective office (14 years a congressman, five years in the Senate) and the reflected glory of Obama’s auto-industry overtures, will give Brown the win.

In the Massachusetts Senate race, Elizabeth Warren, the consumer advocate and a game Democratic challenger, will defeat Republican Scott Brown, barncoat and all, returning to the Democrats the Senate seat previously and long occupied by the late Ted Kennedy.

In the Virginia Senate race, Tim Kaine, the former governor, will cut short plans for the political resurrection of former Sen. George (Macaca) Allen. Kaine’s poll numbers have been steadily building, and he benefits from a wide approval of his centrist governing perspective and his steady hand over the state’s finances during the worst of the recession. Allen’s support of the “personhood” amendment will hurt him with women voters. A lot.

Similarly to be embarrassed are Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican challenger seeking to replace Sen. Claire McCaskill; and Richard Mourdock, who defeated Sen. Richard Lugar in the Indiana primary, in order to face Democratic challenger Joe Donnelly. Both Akin and Mourdock will go down tomorrow, hoist on the petards of their ridiculously jurassic positions on rape, abortion and women’s reproductive rights. Maybe as God intended.

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We’ll see what happens with the rest. Finally, it’s about to go down. Politics junkies, get ready: If you have the same affinities for presidential politics as your humble narrator, you know it’s just about time to hunker down on the couch with the remote taped to one hand.

Get ready to hook up the French Roast IV drip. Tomorrow is Election Day. And this historic election gets the capital H for real.

UPDATE, Nov. 10 — Sometimes you're glad to be wrong. Florida, the latecomer with final election results, was finally declared a win for President Obama, after tens of thousands of absentee ballots were finally counted. The Sunshine State's 29 electoral votes give the president a total of 332. Romney finishes with 206. The new totals officially make this election what Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast said it would be: a landslide. [Election final results map via]

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