2012 Election: Who is Going to Win and Everything You Need to Know

“Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescriptions they’ve had for the last thirty years: ‘Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.’ ‘Deficit too high? Try another.’ ‘Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations and call us in the morning!’” – President Barack Obama, 2012 Democratic National Convention

The end, mercifully, has arrived! On Tuesday, November 6, millions of Americans will go to the polls across the country and join the 25 million Americans who participated in early voting, in voting for president.  President Barack Obama made history four years ago when he was elected president and became the first African-American elected President of the United States. His message of “hope and change” has been substituted with a massage of “stay with me” this time around. Will the American electorate stay with the president or will they change directions and go with Governor Mitt Romney. Romney was unsuccessful when he ran for president four years ago. Now, Romney is seeking to become the first Mormon elected president along with fulfilling a dream of his to become president to make up for the 1968 defeat his father had in his own presidential bid.  In the middle of these two men’s ambitions lay the American electorate, which way will the country go? We will have to wait and see.

Electoral College

In America we elect our presidents based on the Electoral College, not the popular vote, though the two usually goes hand in hand. So, a candidate can win the popular vote and still lose the election, which is what happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election. Each state is awarded Electoral Votes based on their population, for instance, Florida the country’s third largest states has 29 Electoral Votes while a small type like New Hampshire has only 4 Electoral Votes. In order to win the presidency a candidate must gain 270 Electoral Votes. Now, there is a scenario where both candidates can get 269 Electoral Votes. In the case that both presidential candidates get 269, then the newly elected House of Representatives will vote on President. Each state’s congressional delegations (representatives) get a vote. The newly elected Senate will get to vote on Vice President. So, yes, there is a chance if Republicans keep the House (90% chance of happening) and Democrats keep the Senate (65% chance of happening) you will get a President Romney and Vice President Joe Biden, talk about a political odd couple, The odds of this happening is slim to none, but it is fun to think about.

Presidential Race

This promises to be a close election. Since the spring, when Romney won the Republican Primary, it has been a tight race. The latest NBC/Marist/WSJ Poll has President Obama leading Romney 48%-47% a statistical tie, the same with the latest ABC News tracking poll which has the race tied 49%. Following the first debate Romney has seen his numbers rise which has helped him tie the president in national polls, but in many of the swing states President Obama seems to have a slight edge.

Ohio:

Obama 50% – Romney 48% (Columbus Dispatch), Obama 51% – Romney 45% (NBC Marist), Obama 50% – Romney 44% (Poll Average)

Florida:

Obama 48% – Romney 46% (NBC Marist), Obama 45% – Romney 51% (Mason Dix), Obama 48% – Romney 49% (Poll Average)

Virginia:

Obama 49% – Romney 46% (PPP), Obama 49% – Romney 46% (Quinnipiac), Obama 49% – Romney 47% (Poll Average)

Colorado:

Obama 47% – Romney 45% (SurveyUSA), Obama 50% – Romney 48% (CNN), Obama 49%-Romney 47% (Poll Average)

New Hampshire:

Obama 48% – Romney 48% (UNH), Obama 49% – Romney 47% (NBC Marist), Obama 49%-Romney 46% (Poll Average)

Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire are the major states to watch on Election Day. President Obama and Romney both need Ohio to make their path to 270 easy. President Obama has more paths to 270 without Ohio, but winning the state would make it easier. Romney needs Ohio along with Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and New Hampshire to get to 270, that is a very difficult task for him to achieve which is why his campaign and allies have been campaigning in additional states. The second wave of important states are Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.

Pennsylvania:

Obama 50% – Romney 46% (Poll Average)

Wisconsin:

Obama 50% – Romney 45% (Poll Average)

Iowa:

Obama 48% – Romney 44% (Poll Average)

Michigan:

Obama 50% – Romney 45% (Poll Average)

Minnesota:

Obama 53% – Romney 45% (Poll Average)

These critical states are important because they are states Romney needs but in which President Obama has major advantages. If Romney can win two out of these four states his chances of being elected President will improve, but that will be a hard task for Romney since these states have been reliable Democratic states over the last few Presidential Elections (every state accept Iowa). Romney has a small margin of error while President Obama has a much larger one. President Obama has more ways to 270 than Romney, but Romney’s path isn’t impossible.

Obama’s likely Path to 270: Holds on to traditional Democratic States (Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin & Minnesota) and wins Ohio and Iowa.

Romney’s likely Path to 270: Wins Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and New Hampshire or Iowa.

I predict that on November 6, President Obama will receive 303 Electoral Votes and Romney will receive 235 Electoral Votes. Nate Silver of the New York Times predicts that on November 6 President Obama will receive 307 Electoral Votes to Romney’s 232 with President Obama receiving 50.6% of the popular vote compared to 48.3% to Romney. Silver also gives President Obama an 85% chance of winning compared to 15% for Romney.

The NBC Political team came up with this guide on how to watch the polls tonight.

*** How to watch tonight: With several battleground states having poll-closing times at 8:00 pm ET or earlier (Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania), we’re going to know a lot about how the race is breaking fairly early in the evening. How long does it take to call North Carolina (a state Romney probably wants to put away early) and Pennsylvania (ditto Obama)? Will Florida and Virginia take hours to call? (Remember, no state better matched the 2008 popular than Virginia did four years ago.) Here are all the final poll closing times in ET (NBC News will not call a race until all polls have closed in that state):

7:00 pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VT, VA
7:30 pm: NC, OH, WV
8:00 pm: AL, CT, DE, DC, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, TN
8:30 pm: AR
9:00 pm: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, ND, SD, TX, WI, WY
10:00 pm: IA, MT, NV, UT
11:00 pm: CA, HI, ID, OR, WA
1:00 am: AK

Senate

I give the Democrats a 65% chance of retaining the Senate. The Republicans need to pick up a net of three seats (if Romney win) to gain control of the Senate and 4 if Obama wins. They look to be in a good position to win the Senate seat in Nebraska and hold on to the seat in Nevada, but they are facing challenges in other states. Florida looks to be leaning Democratic along with Virginia and Massachusetts.  The Republicans are slight favorites in Montana and North Dakota and the Wisconsin senate race is a toss-up, but I predict the Republicans will gain a net of 2 seats leaving them 2 shy (because of democratic gains in Massachusetts and holding onto Missouri) of regaining the majority. Angus King (Independent) is leading in Maine which was a Republican seat, if he wins he has not said which party he would caucus with, but mostly likely he would caucus with the Democrats. The Senate looks to remain in Democratic control.

The House

I think the Democrats have a 10% chance of retaking the House. Redistricting has protected vulnerable Republicans and the Democrats have too many seats to defend. The Democrats need to gain a net of 25 seats to retake the House and while I predict they will ouster some Tea Party Republicans such as Joe Walsh in Illinois but there won’t be enough gains. Democrats will gain a net of 0-5 seats this cycle is my prediction.

It is looking like this election is going to be a status-quo election with President Obama being re-elected along with a Democratic Senate and Republican House, but nothing should be taken for granted at this moment. The Presidential race remains close and anything can happen on Election Day. Not to mention, Republicans in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado has done all they can to suppress voters in those states. Election Day is what makes American Democracy so great, it is a chance to let your voice be heard and choose what direction you want the country to go in. So make sure you vote, encourage all of your family and friends to vote, do not take this right for granted and let your voice be heard.

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