Okay, now I'm really out on a limb here. Below is my electoral map, produced at Real Clear Politics. (You can go here and create your own map. It can't be less likely than mine). Light colors = leaners. Medium colors = likely. Deep colors = solid.
Yeah, I know. Shocking. Way outside the bounds of current expert opinion. Although ... Dick Morris sees a landslide coming, Karl Rove sees a solid Romney victory, and lots of folks find something more than a bit fishy in usually relatively honest polls. A few comments are quite obviously necessary by way of explanation.
Most important, I think, is to realize that Barack Obama's mojo just ain't what it was in 2008. Then he rode a wave of euphoria over hope and change, capitalizing on a horrific economic collapse and several years (at least) of Bush fatigue replete with non-stop bashing by the DPM (Democratic Partisan Media)*. In 2008 the GOP was depressed. They were not enthused by the McCain candidacy, Obama-mania was raging, and the DPM had successfully "other-ized" Sarah Palin. The national vote even with that "perfect storm" of opportunity was 53-46, a 6.5 million vote spread out of 124 million votes cast. Democrats and Obama voters came in waves; Republicans stayed home. Obama won independents by 8, 52-44.
But now? He's had three plus years to get things moving economically. He hasn't. He preaches class warfare and re-distribution. He organizes a job council, then doesn't meet with them. He piles up $6 trillion in increased debt. Realizing that's a problem, he creates the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, then ignores the findings. He blocks the Keystone XL pipeline, making Canada sell their oil to China and stomping on more American jobs. He funds through the Department of Energy loan program a steady stream of green boondoggles, costing American taxpayers even more of their hard-earned bread. He rams through a takeover of one-sixth of the economy against the will of the people, and with their freedom and choice in medicine curtailed they predictably do not grow to love the program.
So is it likely that waves of enthusiastic Democratic voters will be flooding the booths come Tuesday? I think not. What about Republicans? Every poll confirms an enthusiasm gap in favor of the GOP. That's a lot different from 2008. Gallup is currently showing a 5 point Romney advantage with likely voters, based in large part on the greater enthusiasm of GOP voters to get to the ballot box. Just about every survey shows Mr. Romney flipping Mr. Obama's advantage with independents, winning them by 8-14 points. Also, Gallup shows men going for Romney by 57-43, a 14 point spread, vs. losing women by 54-46, an 8 point spread.
You'd have to have a boatload more ladies than men voting to make up for that deficit.
So it's 315. Mitt Romney will win Pennsylvania - didn't they elect Pat Toomey just two years ago? He'll win Ohio - barely - but it'll be closer than the national vote because Mr. Obama has been doing all he can to hold that state. He'll win Virginia and Colorado. He'll win Iowa, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. I don't have him getting over the top in Minnesota, Oregon, Michigan or Nevada, but those states will be close. Very close. I have Connecticut and New Jersey close, but I think Sandy will probably keep those with the president, as the representative of federal assistance.
I could be wrong, but Mr. Romney's sizeable advantage with independents should swing the popular vote, the electoral college, and the presidency in his direction. I'm just hoping that each and every state, no matter on which side it falls, is both outside the margin of fraud and outside the margin of litigation. We don't need another Gore-athon like Florida 2000, and we don't need thousands of disappointed conspiracy theorists screaming DIEBOLD!!! at the top of their hyper-partisan lungs because their candidate came up 120,000 votes short. We need a definitve answer on November 7; here's hoping we get that.