LOS ANGELES, May 4, 2012—With the election six months away, it is time to take a look at the Electoral College map to see whether President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney will win in 2012. For those who think the Electoral College is a good school, please do not vote until after you have an inkling of what you are doing.
To give 2012 a worthy analysis, it is necessary to look at 2008. Nothing in this analysis will put Michael Barone, Larry Sabato, or Karl Rove out of business, but those men are not mere mortals at this stuff. Mr. Rove even has a whiteboard. Nevertheless, the 2008 numbers are there for all to see.
In 2008, Barack Obama defeated fellow Senator John McCain 365 to 173 in the Electoral College. While that is the only metric that matters from a verdict standpoint, a couple of other metrics can provide clues going into 2012. In 2008 Mr. Obama won 28 states plus the District of Columbia. Mr. McCain won 22 states. Yet the third metric is the popular vote. Mr. Obama won between 52 and 53% of that vote, while Mr. McCain won 46%. So while 2008 was a decisive win for Mr. Obama, it was not a blowout landslide like the elections of 1972 and 1984. The closest results would be the 1996 election.
Before engaging in cold, hard number-crunching, mere theory is used at the outset. President Obama will have more money than Governor Romney. Mr. Obama will also have a pliant media and the majesty of the office.
Incumbency contains a built in advantage. The conditions for running are not what they were in 1984 and 1996, when incumbents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton had everything in their favor. They were expected to win easily, and they did.
Mr. Obama is facing tough conditions on the domestic and foreign policy fronts. Therefore, my subjective analysis has his chances of reelection at the outset to be better than 50/50 but less than 60-40. Perhaps 57% would be the approximate chance for Mr. Obama to win again.
Yet the Electoral College provides a different result.
Population shifts in all of the states have moved 6 electoral votes away from Mr. Obama’s 2008 totals and toward Mr. Romney. So that has Mr. Obama up 359 to 179. Now the conditions of 2008 and 2012 need to be looked at.
In 2008, the Republicans had everything going against them. Winning three straight elections is very difficult. People wanted change, and the economy was collapsing. Mr. Obama was a rock star and Mr. McCain, while a war hero, was not. Yet despite having every advantage under the sun, Mr. Obama did not win a landslide like the 1972 Nixon and 1984 Reagan blowouts.
In 2012, Mr. Obama is an unpopular incumbent. People like him personally, but not his job performance. Mr. Romney is not Ronald Reagan, but he is a stronger candidate than Mr. McCain.
Therefore, at this point a basic premise has to be accepted for the entire model to carry weight. President Obama is not going to win by a bigger margin in 2012 than he did in 2008. The Republicans are not going to do worse than they did four years ago. Mr. Obama may lose ground, and the question is how much he can lose and still win overall. His margin for error is not a comfortable one.
Any state Barack Obama lost in 2008, he will lose in 2012. He will not flip any new states. So everything John McCain won will be won by Mitt Romney. The theory that Southerners will be too bigoted to vote for a Mormon is insulting and wrong. Southerners loathe liberalism, and Mr. Obama is a liberal. Governor Romney will safely carry the following states:
North Dakota (3)
South Dakota (3)
South Carolina (9)
West Virginia (5)
This adds up to 169 electoral votes for Governor Romney. The 22nd state McCain won was his home state of Arizona. Democrats are hoping that the large Hispanic population will change things, but every four years Arizona is seen as a possible pickup and every four years the Republicans win safely. Many people in Arizona support the tough illegal immigration measures, and resent being sued by the federal government. Therefore, Arizona and its 11 electoral votes stay in the GOP column to get Mr. Romney up to 180. (Mr. Obama won one electoral vote from Nebraska in 2008 since they are only one of two states that are not winner-take-all. That will not happen in 2012, as Mr. Romney will get that rogue electoral vote.)
President Obama won some states with ease in 2008 and he will win them easily again in 2012.
New York (29)
New Jersey (14)
Rhode Island (4)
Massachusetts (11) (Yes, Mr. Romney will lose his home state badly. No, Mr. Obama will not have to spend a single dollar in Massachusetts. No, this does not redeem Al Gore for losing Tennessee in 2000.)
Mr. Obama has 14 safe states + DC, giving him 186 electoral votes.
Now come ten states that Mr. Obama won in 2008. Four of them are states Democrats normally win. They will again. Six of them are states that usually vote Republican. They will flip back.
In Minnesota (10), Republicans seized the legislature but lost the governorship. This state likes to nominate ideologically extreme candidates on both sides, and that is without counting former independent Governor Jessie Ventura. Yet the state has a liberal tilt, and that will not change.
Wisconsin (10) is a war zone due to the recall attempt of Governor Scott Walker. Yet whether he wins or loses (he is expected to win), the left will be out for blood in that state. Whether motivated by vengeance or being emboldened, the left will go to the polls in 2012, keeping this in Democrats hands.
Michigan (16) is union country. Mr. Romney will be the first leader to lose both home states, while Mr. Obama will win both of his in Illinois and Hawaii. The Republicans control the governorship and the legislature, which will mean nothing. The Democrats will win Michigan because they always win Michigan.
Pennsylvania (20) is the same situation as Michigan. The Democrats always win, and no amount of midterm losses matter. Republicans won nationwide in 1994, which meant nothing in 1996. 2010 means nothing for 2012.
Now Mr. Obama is up to 18 states plus DC, giving him 242 electoral votes.
Shifting back to Mr. Romney, he will carry Iowa (6) and Indiana (11). Mr. Obama won both by razor-thin margins, and they will revert back to the GOP. Iowa is traditionally a swing state that slightly leans Republican, while Indiana is normally reliably Republican. Indiana will not be close.
The big four states that will be carpet-bombed with advertisements are Ohio (18), Florida (29), North Carolina (15), and Virginia (13). The Obama campaign can bluff all they like, but Governor Romney is going to return all four of these states to the Republican column.
Ohio is a true swing state that leans Republican. Economic devastation has wrecked Ohio. In 2010 the Republicans gained control of the governorship and both houses of the legislature. While this will not matter in other states, it will in Ohio. Pennsylvania has the black vote in Philadelphia and Michigan and Wisconsin have stronger union presences than Ohio. Republican candidate Josh Mandel (full disclosure: I endorsed Mr. Mandel) has a very good shot at defeating unpopular incumbent Sherrod Brown, a very liberal Democrat. Mr. Romney’s economic message plays well in Ohio.
Florida is a state totally controlled by Republicans. Governor Rick Scott is well liked and fairly non-controversial. Florida will vote Democrat only under a perfect liberal storm, as 2008 was. In 2012 they will revert back to form. Even if Mr. Romney does not choose favorite son Marco Rubio, his pro-business stance works well in Florida.
North Carolina does have a large black population, but Mr. Obama still only won that by a hair in 2008. This is another one of those states that Democrats like to say has finally changed, but this is not true. 2008 was a unique situation. Also, the Democrats are a mess in North Carolina.
The Democratic Governor Beverly Perdue is so unpopular that she is not running for a second term. The Democratic Convention will be in Charlotte, but the North Carolina Democratic Party is bleeding from a sexual harassment scandal. While this has nothing to do with John Edwards, Republicans will make sure voters subtly notice the comparisons.
The Democrats are terribly disliked at the moment, and Republicans should reap the benefits for Mr. Romney.
Virginia was reliably Republican for a long time, although Virginia was always two states. Southern Virginia is the South, but Northern Virginia is moving closer to DC, Maryland, and the rest of the mid-Atlantic. The Senate race features a pair of heavyweights in Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen. Yet Republican Governor Bob McDonell is very popular, and his is one state with an organized GOP machine determined to restore the state to its place as a Republican stronghold. The machine will succeed.
At this point Mr. Romney now has 28 states, 272 electoral votes, and an election victory.
The remaining four states were won by Mr. Obama in 2008, and they are the truest tossups. Yet even if Mr. Obama wins them all again, he still falls just short. The four states are Nevada (6), Colorado (9), New Hampshire (4), and New Mexico (5).
Nevada has the highest unemployment in the nation. Harry Reid and his ground game pulled out a miracle (some would say theft) in his 2010 Senate race against Sharron Angle (Full disclosure: I supported Mrs. Angle).
Conservatives will not be caught napping again. The state also has a large Mormon population. Mr. Reid is a Mormon, but he is not at the top of the ticket. Mr. Romney is.
The Republicans in Colorado are a mess. They will pull themselves out of it, but it may take another election cycle. Mr. Obama won Colorado by a surprisingly high 9 points, so he can lose ground and still win the state. He could hang on here.
New Hampshire is a traditionally Republican state, and the home field advantage Mr. Romney lacks in Massachusetts may still help him in New Hampshire. Yet every other state in New England votes liberal, and in recent years New Hampshire has joined them. This can go either way.
New Mexico has a large Hispanic population, but it also has a highly popular Hispanic, female, Republican Governor in Susanna Martinez. Mr. Romney could ride her coattails. This could go either way.
Giving Nevada to Mr. Romney, Colorado to Mr. Obama, and splitting New Hampshire and New Mexico either way would not change the final outcome.
Mr. Obama could keep Virginia and it would still not be enough unless he won both New Mexico and New Hampshire.
If Mr. Obama keeps North Carolina, he wins unless Mr. Romney gets New Mexico and New Hampshire.
Mr. Obama must hold Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Mr. Romney must flip Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina, and just to be safe, Virginia.
Final prediction: Mr. Romney wins 30 states and 283 electoral votes. Mr. Obama wins 20 states plus DC for 255 electoral votes. The popular vote flips 5 to 6 percentage points from 2008, with Mr. Romney winning between 52 and 53% and Mr. Obama receiving between 46 and 47%.
The May analysis has Mitt Romney as the 45th President. As we all know, May is not even June, much less November.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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