By Chris Ingram
Here are five things to look for tonight
As voters across the country head to the polls today, here are five things to look for tonight as the ballots are counted. My Electoral College and popular vote prediction is included at the end, along with a link to an Electoral College map creator.
Here is the list:
1) It’s going to be a long night. Voting started and ended in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire shortly after midnight Tuesday. The handful of first-in-the-nation voters were evenly split between the two major-party candidates just like the rest of the country is divided.
Ohio is a swing state where the candidates are virtually tied in the polls. The Electoral College could hinge on the outcome in Ohio. A close contest means we might not know who wins Ohio for ten days — when state law allows provisional ballots to be counted (but not until then). In many states, automatic recounts are mandatory if the two leading candidates are within less than .5 percent or in some cases, less than 1 percent of each other.
Note: it won’t be a long night if Romney loses Florida. We should know how Florida is going to go relatively early (though the Miami-Dade results will come in late because the office is run by a bunch of bufoons and they are always slow there, as well as in Palm Beach county).
2) Lawyers are going to be involved no matter what, and that means a lot of nonsense. The unusual voting procedures that occurred in Florida (Miami-Dade opened its elections office on Sunday, then closed it after it was overwhelmed with so many voters, then opened it up again), and New Jersey (the governor allowed certain categories of voters — namely first responders — to vote online due to hurricane Sandy). On the surface, these don’t seem to be inappropriate to most voters, but lawyers (for the losing side) will argue the special provisions disenfranchised voters in some way that only one with a law degree could argue with a straight face.
3) Voter turn-out is expected to be high, but not as high as it was in 2008. Generally speaking, high turn-out helps Democrats. But high turn-out this year I believe will help Romney as I don’t think Obama has the enthusiasm he had last time; Republicans on the other hand are excited about evicting Obama and voting for Romney. Additionally, there are more Democrats are supporting Romney than there are Republicans supporting Obama; this means high Democrat turnout doesn’t automatically mean a big loss for Romney.
4) Historical facts about previous elections are indicators, but are not predictors. The electorate is fluid, the issues change, and what happened in the last election doesn’t drive voter choices in this election. That said, Romney could win the White House without winning Ohio, despite the fact that no Republican has ever won the presidency without carrying the state. But that isn’t going to happen — because I expect Romney will win Ohio.
Consider this: Obama is currently leading in Buckeye state polls 49 percent to Romney’s 46 percent (based on an average of polls there). On Election Day ’08, Obama beat McCain 51 to 47 percent. I just don’t buy that after four years of high unemployment, record foreclosures, and higher gas prices (never mind Obamacare and $16 trillion in debt) that Ohio voters are trending almost the same as they were in 2008 for Obama. In 2010, Ohio Republican John Kasich defeated incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland for governor, and Republicans won every other constitutional office in the state. Additionally, 13 out of 18 U.S. House seats in the state were won by Republicans that year — with Democrats losing five out of ten they had previously held. Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) is the most reliable Democrat voting area in Ohio — Obama will need to win there with at least 60 percent of the vote to be competitive in the rest of the state. That is a fact. But remember, all the past election facts, are telling, but not conclusive.
5) I have argued for weeks that the lack of intensity and enthusiasm for President Obama means Romney will win even if he is down in the polls by a point or two on Election Day — because it’s a lot easier to tell a pollster you support someone than it is to actually vote. Lack of excitement means fewer votes. There are six swing states that supported Obama in 2008 by single digits that polling averages show he is currently leading by three points or less. A seventh state (Florida), Obama carried by less than three percent in 2008, and he is now trailing in the polls by two percent. This is bad news for the president. In the three other swing states Obama won in 2008 (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada), he is now only leading in the polls by four percent, but in each of them, Obama won by double digit margins in ’08. That Pennsylvania is being considered a swing state is troubling for the president. Among these three, I believe Wisconsin is probably to be the only one that is legitimately in play. Click here for a more detailed analysis on Wisconsin.
So what’s going to happen? Who knows… But my crystal ball says Mitt Romney will win the popular vote with 50 percent of the vote to Obama’s 49 percent, with 1 percent going to other candidates. In the tally that matters, Obama will receive 253 votes and Mitt Romney will win 285 — 15 more than the required 270; Romney picking up the Obama-carried swing states of Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and New Hampshire. Click here to create your own Electoral College map. If the vote in Ohio or Florida (or any other combination of two or more states totaling 16 or more Electoral College votes) is close, we might not know the winner for weeks.
Where is Katherine Harris when you need her?
Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com.
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