We keep hearing that the election is a horse race, that it’s close, and that we will see a repeat of the 2000 Election, where the Supreme Court had to slap down Al Gore and his fraudulent attempts to steal a close election. But I, along with others, Hugh Hewitt for one, believe that we are on the precipice of a landslide election. The polls have been trending toward Romney ever since the first debate. There are many states that Obama won handily in 2008 that are now in play or almost in play.
Pennsylvania: In 2008, Obama won by 10 points, and now polling has it anywhere between Obama up 4 and Romney up 4. This is the state to keep an eye on. No Republican has carried Pennsylvania since George H. W. Bush in 1988. If Romney can flip the Keystone State, I predict that this will be an early night and a complete bloodbath.
Wisconsin: Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008. Polling now has Obama only up between 1 and 3 points. The last Republican to carry Wisconsin was Ronald Reagan in 1984. I predict that Romney will flip this one, mostly because of the presence of Paul Ryan on the ticket and Scott Walker beating recall by a bigger margin than he won the first time also bodes well for Governor Romney.
Michigan: Obama carried Michigan by 16 points four years ago. Polling now shows Obama with a lead between 2 and 7 points. The last Republican who carried the state was George H. W. Bush in 1988. Romney was born in Michigan, which should work to his advantage; also, the fact that the state has been devastated in this bad economy (no Mr. President, GM is not alive and well, it’s on taxpayer funded life support) should also bode well for Romney.
Nevada: In 2008, Obama was able to carry Nevada by 12 points, but recent polling has Obama only up between 2 and 4 points. President Bush carried the state both in 2000 and 2004. Nevada has also been devastated by the Obama economy, and Obama did himself no favors when he told people not to go to Vegas. Let’s hope the voters there are smarter than they were two years ago when they sent Harry Reid back to the Senate.
Colorado: Obama carried Colorado by 9 points four years ago, but now the margin is anywhere between Obama up 3 and Romney up 1. Colorado is a state that Republicans have done well in the past. President Bush carried it both times, and Presidents Reagan and Bush 41 carried it. Before 2008, the only Democrat to carry it was Bill Clinton in 1992 and since then, Lyndon Johnson in 1964. The polls are trending towards Romney here and people on the ground have been saying that there are a lot more Romney signs out than there are Obama signs.
Iowa: Four years ago, Obama took Iowa by 10 points. The margin here is essentially tied, with polls split between Obama being up by 1 and Romney being up by 1. President Bush carried Iowa in 2004, the first Republican victory there since 1984, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility to flip it.
New Hampshire: Obama was able to capture New Hampshire by 9 points in 2008. The polling this time out shows a virtual tie. The last Republican to carry the state was President Bush in 2008, but Kerry flipped it in 2004 and it stayed in the Democrats’ column last time out. But as in Colorado, I have a source on the ground who says that Romney signs outnumber Obama signs. Romney also has an advantage of having a house there and it being next door to Massachusetts, where he was governor (why that doesn’t help him in Massachusetts is a testament to how far gone that state is).
Connecticut: Of the states listed, this state gave Obama his biggest margin, 23 points. Now, the polling shows that his lead is down to between 6 and 8 points. To make matters worse for Democrats there, Linda McMahon, the Republican running for Senate, has been running neck and neck with Chris Murphy, the Representative there vying for the seat being vacated by Joe Lieberman. Even if Romney doesn’t flip it (it’s not likely), the fact it’s so close doesn’t bode well for Obama in other places (see Pennsylvania).
States Obama won, but not by as much
Ohio: Obama carried Ohio by 4 points, but now the consensus in the polling is that he’s only up by 1. Ohio is actually faring pretty well now, not because of anything Obama has done, but because of reforms implemented by Governor John Kasich. Hugh is convinced Ohio will flip, and I think it’s becoming more and more likely every day. Romney’s crowds are matching the crowds Obama got four years ago.
Virginia: Obama was able to carry Virginia by 6 points. Polling shows Romney in the lead and that lead is growing. The outcome in Virginia will come down to whether turnout is higher in the Southern counties or in the Northern counties closer to D.C. If the former, then Romney wins, if the latter, Obama carries the day (due to the saturation of government workers in the North and there being no recession there).
Florida: Obama carried Florida by 3 points, but Romney has the lead now and that lead is growing. Florida is the model definition of a battleground state, having see-sawed between the two parties going back the last 5 election cycles. It is rumored that Obama is pulling out of Florida, along with Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado, so we will see.
There is no chance of Romney losing in any of the states that McCain carried four years ago, so now it’s only a matter of him picking off states Obama won in 2008. So we start with 173 Electoral Votes for Romney; factor in the changes based on the 2010 census and Romney starts with 180. Obama has already given up on North Carolina and Indiana, so we will add that to Romney, giving him 206. His lead in Florida and Virginia gives him 248. This means he then has to get Ohio and one other state between Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire, which will put him over the top. The other states on the list, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania would be icing on the cake, which I think is more likely than not. If Romney is able to carry the day in all of these states, then his EV total will be 337, higher than the University of Colorado projects.
The only state on this list that Romney and Ryan do not have a likelihood of flipping is Connecticut*. But Connecticut, along with states like Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregon are problematic for Obama because even though he will win them, the margins are indicative of the problems he is facing nationally. If Republicans can narrow the margin of Obama’s victory in these states, then that helps Romney in the popular vote, which in turn helps down-ballot races.
Republicans need a popular vote mandate so they can have the people on their side when they push for the reforms that we desperately need. It also helps to think about future races for which Republicans can start looking for viable candidates in some of these Democratic strongholds. If Linda McMahon wins, that might bode well for Republican House and Senate candidates down the road in the Northeast. We need to be thinking long term here, and 2012 could be the beginning, if Republicans play their cards right.
* Addendum by editor: BREAKING news 1/25/12 may show Connecticut in play!