NEWS BLOG (WSAU) This is the first election I can remember where I’m opening questioning the polling. I reject the polling models that oversample Democrats by 5-7%. I think that’s a fundamentally flawed model of what the electorate will look like tomorrow. Barack Obama in 2008 was a true “change” candidate – he changed who voted. Minorities and young people turned out in unprecedented numbers. Constructing a polling model based on the ’08 turnout won’t mirror this year’s election. Obama ran a post-political campaign then; he runs as a mere mortal four years later.
(By the way, this is a first for me. In past elections I’ve put almost blind faith in the polls. It’s been very rare that polls a few days out from Election Day would point in the wrong direction.)
I’ve been looking closest at the Rasmussen poll, since it uses the more-realistic +1/+2 Democrat model. If that’s the sample that best-mirrors who’ll be voting, the race is very, very close. Still, the bottom line is more needs to go right for Mitt Romney than for Barack Obama.
Here’s my best guess of what happens… and everyone is free to second-guess tomorrow.
I believe Wisconsin will go for Obama, but much closer than the upper-single-number spreads in the Marquette and St. Norbert polls we saw last week. Obama’s internals must show the state much closer than that for him to make three stops here in the final 7-days of the campaign. I still think Tommy Thompson wins the U.S. Senate race. Over-Democrat-sampled polls show that race as closer than the presidential race in Wisconsin.
I think Mitt Romney will win Ohio. The 1-2% oversample polls show Romney even or slightly ahead. I believe the admittedly-partisan Bill Cunningham, who says liberal Cleveland and conservative Cincinnati cancel each other out. Rural Ohio is decidedly Republican, and that’s where the state will be won by the GOP.
I also think Romney will win North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado.
Obama will win Iowa, Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. If Pennsylvania really is ‘in play,’ I’d be shocked. Rasmussen shows the state a statistical tie, which, even with my endorsement of their polling methodology is hard to imagine.
I’m not sure about Florida. Romney opened a small but clear lead there. Obama cut back on advertising there, as if to concede the state. I think it’s still a true toss-up state with a slight edge to Romney. Considering the ethnic and geographical variety in Florida, I think it’s a particularly difficult state to poll accurately.
My electoral college map is 279-259 Romney.
Please note, in my predictions Barack Obama would win if I’m wrong about Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado or Ohio. And that’s why even with my somewhat generous assumptions, the President holds an advantage.