Saturday, April 14, 2012

Is Obama's re-election in the bag?

The media has moved beyond the primary and has anointed Romney the presumptive Republican nominee. Now the chatter is focused on the general election and the state by state electoral count as the media, the RNC and the DNC ponder how to get to the magical number of 270 electoral votes to win. For the Republicans, it's a very difficult challenge as well as an uphill battle.

In 2008, Obama literally squashed McCain with 365-173 electoral votes in a truly pathetic finish for the Republicans. Bush/Cheney fatigue, war fatigue and Bankster bailout fatigue were all contributing factors to Obama's historic election. Most voters are reluctant to acknowledge that Obama is really Obushma; Obama's policies are no different than Bush policies.

Obama's astounding victory is attributable to the fact that he flipped 9 red states as he succeeded in shattering the red state/blue state divide by winning FL,CO,IN,IA,NM,NV,NC,OH and VA, all states that voted Republican in 2004. Can Obama do it again? To get to 270, he doesn't have to win all those red states he won in 2008; he only has to win a few. All the poll pundits are obviously tracking the polls in the critical swing states and most concluded, based on the polls, that Obama has a floor of 230-250 electoral votes. That's excellent news for The Democrats and very bad news for the Republicans. I did my own 'quick and dirty' calculations and concluded that Obama had a floor of 246 electoral votes simply because there are states that are so blue they will never flip red. Red states can  flip to blue but blue states rarely flip to red.

The biggest damage the Republicans have inflicted upon themselves, besides their utter determination to maintain the status quo (everything is fine just the way it is including the wars, the economy and the financial system), is the rabid rants of the social conservatives who have suggested that birth control be outlawed because it's a form of abortion. Moreover, the social conservatives are fighting hard for state and federal personhood amendments that define human life as beginning at the precise moment of conception. This in turn has devastated female support for Republicans who now have a 20 point deficit with the female voters. How will all of this shakeout in the general election? Just follow the polls in the swing states and it's clear that Obama has a huge advantage.

 The 9 red/purple states won by Obama in 2008 and the margin he won by.

FL -  29 electoral votes, won by Obama 51-48
OH - 18 electoral votes, won by Obama 52-47
NC - 15 electoral votes, won by Obama 50-49
VA - 13 electoral votes, won by Obama 53-47
IN -  11 electoral votes, won by Obama 50-49
CO -  9 electoral votes, won by Obama 54-45
IA -    6 electoral votes, won by Obama 54-45
NV -  6 electoral votes, won by Obama 55-43
NM - 5 electoral votes, won by Obama 57-42

That's a whopping 112 electoral votes that are up for grabs and in many of those states Obama is comfortably leading. Florida is a huge prize with 29 electoral votes, following by the others. All this begs the question: Does the GOP even stand a chance?

Stu Rothenberg ( is one of the best numbers crunching political pundits out there. Right now, his 2012 general election predictions are:

Democrat   232 (Safe Democrat and lean Democrat (MI,MN,NM & PA)
Republican 206 (Safe Republican and lean Republican (NC)

According to Rothenberg, 95 electoral votes are pure toss up - CO, FL, IA, NH, NV, OH, VA and WI.

What's different from 2008? Rothenberg says NM leans Democrat and Indiana and North Carolina lean Republican. He's also tossed in Wisconsin and New Hampshire into the pure toss-up mix.

Rothenberg's analysis is here.

Pundits typically play it safe and are very conservative in their estimates. Intrade, however, is the online gambling site that has a steller record at accurately calling election results based on the bets of its gambling participants. Right now Intrade has the probability of Obama winning at 60.9% and the probability of Romney winning at 38.1%.

How accurate was Intrade in 2008?  Intrade predicted a 364-174 electoral college Obama victory in 2008.  Obama actually won 365-173.

The pundits are none too happy that they now have to compete with with the gamblers for the lofty status of being the most accurate predictor of election results. graded the major pollsters in 2008 on accuracy and consistency.

Poll Score Grade
Rasmussen Reports,  A-
Ipsos/McClatchy, B+
CNN/Opinion Research, B+
Fox News, B
Pew,  B-
GWU/Battleground, C+
Diageo/Hotline, C+
NBC News/WSJ, C-
Gallup Traditional, C
Marist, D+
ABC/Wash Post,  D+
Gallup Expanded, D
CBS News/NYT, D-
Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby, F

Full results here

For Republicans to win the presidency in November will absolutely require that the GOP win a significant chunk of the swing states.  Increasingly, that's looking impossible.  The Republican Party has managed to alienate female voters,  youth voters, independent voters, Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, anti-war voters and other constituencies that are just fed up with Republicans.  For these folks, Obama isn't the enemy but just a political twin of Bush and the Republicans.

What holds the potential to be interesting this year is if 3rd parties fare any better in the general election than they have in the past, particularly the Libertarian Party.

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