Prediction: Romney Wins in an Upset
President Barack Obama is poised on the precipice of defeat.
2008’s Obama idolatry has evolved into 2012’s Obama fatigue. The enthusiasm, bordering on adulation, has withered; the “hope” has diminished; and the “change we need” is now the object of derision.
Obama is, at best, a well-intentioned but clueless blunderer who needs 8 years to accomplish what Ronald Reagan did in four; or, at worst, an incompetent.
In 2008, Obama won 28 states and the District of Columbia, amassing an Electoral College win of 365-173 – 95 more than was needed. In 2012, Obama is struggling. Nine states that he won in 2008 by a total of 1,639,322 votes, with 110 electoral votes, are “battlegrounds” – meaning that they could be carried by Mitt Romney. And two states, Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Pennsylvania (20), which Obama won in 2008 by, respectively, 823,940 and 620,478 votes, are in play. If either of them, or Ohio (18), which Obama won by 262,224 votes, goes to Romney, Obama is the ex-president.
With a $16 trillion national debt, a defense budget of almost $1 trillion annually, interest on the debt of $1 trillion a year, Obamacare costing at least $1.6 trillion in the next decade, and social security and Medicare costs growing five percent annually, does anybody really think a solution will emerge in the next four years?
In all likelihood, the next president will be a colossal failure, beset by intractable debt and revenue deficiencies.
For each party, losing now is winning later. If Obama wins in 2012, Republicans will obliterate the Democrats in 2014, and take the presidency in 2016. If Romney wins, Democrats will take Congress in 2014, and Hillary Clinton will take the White House in 2016.
On Nov. 6, the outcome will be decided by the 69.5 million “Obama Nation” – of which 6-8 million may have seceded. At least 4-7 percent, primarily younger and Hispanic voters, will not vote in 2012; another 2-3 percent will opt for Romney
In 2004, a normal turnout election, George Bush beat John Kerry by 62,040,606-59,028,109, a margin of 3,024,497 in a turnout of 121,068,715. In 2008, a “wave” election, with anti-Bush sentiment peaking, Obama beat John McCain by 69,498,215-59,948,240, a margin of 9,549,975 in a turnout of 129,446,455. Obama had 10,470,106 more votes than Kerry, and McCain 2,092,366 fewer votes than Bush.
Clearly, Obama won not because two million 2004 Bush voters shifted to him; he won largely because 9.5 million 2004 non-voters opted for him – a 7.3 percent turnout increase over 2004. To win in 2012, Obama needs 95 percent of his 2008 vote – at least 66 million; if he drops down to 90 percent, or 62.5 million, he loses.
In any presidential race, the “comfort zone equation” is determinative. Are voters “comfortable” with the incumbent? If not, are they “comfortable” with the challenger? Romney has crossed the “comfort” threshold.
Here’s my predictions:
President: It’s all about electoral votes. In 2000, Bush won 271-266, only because he carried Florida; in 2004, Bush won 285-251, only because he carried Ohio; in 2008, Obama took 28 states, and won the electoral vote 365-173.
The question is: How many 2008 states can Obama lose and still triumph? These are the so-called 9 “battleground” states Obama won over McCain, but may lose to Romney.
* Florida (29 electoral votes): Bush beat Gore by a disputed 537 votes in 2000, in a turnout of 5,963,110. In 2004, Bush beat Kerry by 380,979 votes, in a turnout of 7,609,810, an increase of 1,646,700 over 2000. In 2008, Obama beat McCain by 236,450 votes, in a turnout of 8,327,698, an increase of 717,888 over 2004. Polls show the race tied. Prediction: Romney wins by 75,000 in a turnout of 8.5 million.
* Ohio (18): But for Bush’s 118,599-vote win over Kerry in 2004, in a turnout of 5,627,903, he would have lost the presidency. In 2000, Bush won by 166,735 votes in a turnout of 4,701,998. In 2008, Obama won by 262,224 votes in a turnout of 5,617,864 – roughly 10,000 less than in 2004. The state is losing population, and 2008 was more anti-Bush than pro-Obama. Polls show Obama up by 2-3 points. Prediction: Obama wins by 15,000.
* Virginia (13): The state, due to a continuing influx of liberal U.S. government workers into the Washington, D.C. suburbs, is trending Democratic. It went for Bush in 2000 by 220,200 votes in a turnout of 2,739,441. In 2004, Bush won by 262,217 votes, in a turnout of 3,198,367. In 2008, Obama won by 234,527 votes, in a turnout of 3,684,537. Obama got 504,790 more votes than Kerry, and McCain 8,046 more votes than Bush. Half of those 504,790 won’t vote on Nov. 6, and ten percent will bolt. Romney wins the state. Prediction: Romney by 45,000.
* North Carolina (15): This is a 40 percent rural state with growing urban metropolises – Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Ashville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro. In 2008, Obama won by 14,177 votes in a turnout of 4,271,125. In 2004, Bush won by 435,317 votes in a turnout of 3,487,015. 2008’s turnout was an astounding 784,110 higher than 2004’s. In 2008, Bush won by 373,471 votes in a turnout of 2,914,990 – which was 572,025 lower than 2004’s and 1,356,135 lower than 2008’s. The pro-Obama urban surge is neutralized by the anti-Obama rural surge. Prediction: Romney by 125,000.
* Wisconsin (10): After tight races – Gore won by 5,708 votes in a 2,596,711 turnout and Kerry won by 11,384 votes in a 2,967,624 turnout – 2008 was an Obama blowout. He won by 414,818 votes in a 2,930,604 turnout – which was lower than 2004’s. Over 200,000 2004 Bush voters abandoned McCain; Bush had 1,478,120 votes, and McCain 1,262,393 votes. Polls show the race dead even. Prediction: Obama wins by 5,000.
* Iowa (6): The quintessential bellwether state, with a dwindling population,
gave Gore a 4,144-vote win (in a 1,315,563 turnout), Bush a 10,059-vote win (in a 1,493,855 turnout), and then gave Obama a landslide – by Iowa standards – of 146,561 votes (in a 1,511,319 turnout). Like Wisconsin, there wasn’t a surge of new voters, just an anti-Bush disgust by existing voters. Polls show the 2012 race close. Prediction: Romney by 3,000.
* Colorado (9): The state swings wildly between the parties. In 2000, Bush won by a solid 145,527 votes in a 1,741,368 turnout. In 2004, Bush won again, by 99,523 votes in a turnout of 2,129,630 – up by nearly 400,000. In 2008, Obama topped McCain by 142,377 votes in a turnout of 2,097,263 – less than 2004’s. Disillusionment with Obama will shift the state again. Prediction: Romney by 40,000.
* Nevada (6): U.S. Senator Harry Reid’s (D) political machine must deliver for Obama. In 2000, Bush won by 21,597 votes in a turnout of 608,970; in 2004, Bush won by 21,500 votes in a turnout of 829,587 – an increase of over 200,000, signifying major population growth. In 2008, Obama won by 119,896 votes in a turnout of 954,270. The state’s housing industry is in the pits, but a big Hispanic vote will save Obama. Prediction: Obama by 10,000.
* New Hampshire (4): Once a Republican bastion, this state is as politically unstable as Colorado. Bush won in 2000 by 7,277 votes (in a 567,795 turnout); in 2004, Kerry won by 9,274 votes (in a 677,662 turnout); and, in 2008, Obama won by 68,292 votes (in a 701,360 turnout). The trendline is Democratic, and Obama got 44,000 more votes than Kerry (and McCain 15,000 fewer votes than Bush). Prediction: Edge to Obama.
These 9 states cast 110 electoral votes. If Obama wins NH, NV, WI and OH, those 38 votes, added to his 245 from 2008, give him 283, 13 more than he needs. He can afford to lose Wisconsin, or both Nevada and New Hampshire, but he cannot lose Ohio and be re-elected.
Surprisingly, both Pennsylvania and Michigan are in play. Anti-Obama sentiment is palpable in both. Prediction: Romney wins in an upset.
U.S. Senate: Now 53-47 Democratic, inept Republican candidates have forfeited MO and IN, and Scott Brown will lose in MA. Democrats will lose MT, ND, NE, VA and WI, and maybe OH and FL. Prediction: 51-49 Republican majority.
U.S. House: Now 242-193 Republican, with 218 for a majority. Democrats are making no headway. According to Washington prognosticators, Republicans will win 224 seats, Democrats 181, with 30 districts rated as “toss-ups” – including five in Illinois. Prediction: Bob Dold (R-10), Judy Biggert (R-11) and Bobby Schilling (R-17), will eke out wins; Joe Walsh (R-8) will lose BY5,000 votes; and Republicans will win the open East Saint Louis seat. The 2013-14 Republican majority will be 245-190.
Illinois Senate: Now 35-24 Democratic, Republican opportunities are evaporating. Democrats Dan Kotowski, Julie Morrison, Andy Manar, Bill Haine and Dave Koehler will win, and Mike Jacobs will lose. Prediction: 34-25 Democratic.
Illinois House: Now 64-54 Democratic, Republicans need a net pickup of six seats to oust Mike Madigan. Sid Mathias (R) will win, Skip Saviano (R) will lose, and Marty Moylan (D) will win the Park Ridge seat by 300 votes. Prediction: 62-56 Democratic.
Russ Stewart is a political analyst for the Chicago Daily Observer.
E-mail Russ@russstewart.com or visit his website at www.russstewart.com.