David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, November 5, 2012
I Still Predict a Minor Romney Landslide

I could be wrong. Someone will be. Predictions are all over the map. Some on both sides are claiming it's not even close. They just can't agree on who's winning.

For months I've been predicting that the presidential race will end in a "minor Romney landslide." This is rooted in three beliefs:

  1. that Mitt Romney plays far better to American voters at large that he does to the political in-crowd, and he plays far better to voters directly than when he and his message are filtered through the Big Media Acronyms (BMA) or through opposition campaign ads (in the primary or the general election) -- witness the unusual impact of the debates;
  2. that polls samples are very optimistic in the Democratic direction, assuming that turnout will lean as heavily to the left as it did in 2008, if not more so; given this, the polls should be favoring Obama a lot more than they have been, if his position is strong; and
  3. the Obama record and the state of the economy leave Obama in a fundamentally weak position, even with most of the BMA now functioning as the main propaganda arm of the Democratic National Committee.

(For the record, my first such prediction here at the blog came rather late, well after the Republican convention, because I haven't had time to blog much. But I was optimistic back in March, when I decided to support Romney myself.)

I've been explaining that I predict a "minor" landslide, because it won't be nearly as dramatic as a couple of elections in my lifetime, where the Democratic candidate (George McGovern in 1972 or Walter Mondale in 1984) won only a state or two. For the last week or two I've gone a little further, predicting that Romney will win 300 to 325 electoral votes -- well above the required 270.

My "minor Romney landslide" prediction has surprised people and, I expect, made some of them think I was letting desperate optimism detach me from reality. This is always a possibility. But lately I've been joined in this prediction by people with a lot more credibility than I have. I don't suggest that I am leading the likes of Michael Barone in these matters; he and others in his league (if there are any) -- and people two or three leagues below that -- cannot possibly know or care what I think. Still, it's nice to have more company than just Dick Morris.

By the way, Dick Morris's column the other day was headlined (at least at The Hill, where I saw it), "Here Comes the Landslide." The former Clinton advisor writes:

Voters have figured out that President Obama has no message, no agenda and not even much of an explanation for what he has done over the past four years. His campaign is based entirely on persuading people that Mitt Romney is a uniquely bad man, entirely dedicated to the rich, ignorant of the problems of the average person. As long as he could run his negative ads, the campaign at least kept voters away from the Romney bandwagon. But once we all met Mitt Romney for three 90-minute debates, we got to know him -- and to like him. He was not the monster Obama depicted, but a reasonable person for whom we could vote. . . .

Once everyone discovers that the emperor has no clothes (or that Obama has no argument after the negative ads stopped working), the vote shift could be of historic proportions.

Morris predicts a "profound" impact on Senate races.

But let's get to Michael Barone, shall we? I won't quote a lot, because you should just read his Friday column, where he predicts Romney 315, Obama 223. He goes state by state, excluding the solid ones, predicting and briefly explaining the likely outcome, based on a lot more analysis than I have time to do.

Michael Graham isn't in Morris's league, let alone Barone's, but his headline in the Boston Herald is, "Mitt Romney set to win, maybe by a mile."

Others predict a less dramatic Romney victory. Jay Cost foretells a Romney victory but doesn't specify a margin. He's looking at polling, but not slavishly attached to it. He expects the election to turn on the economy "and little else," and a combination of Republican enthusiasm, defecting Democrats, and independent support of Romney to carry the day. Karl Rove, whom you will remember as the architect of George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 victories, thinks the most important number is that Obama is polling at about 47 percent -- well below 50 percent -- and is unlikely to gain more than one percent in the actual vote. He predicts Romney will get 279 electoral votes or more.

This Romney optimism is palpable but hardly universal. A scan of headlines at RealClearPolitics on Friday and Saturday found these wildly disparate headlines:

  • Why Romney Is Likely to Win
  • Obama's Electoral College "Firewall" Holding
  • Mitt's Many Mistakes Will Doom Him
  • Don't Be Surprised When Obama Loses
  • Obama Set to Scrape Out a Victory
  • Obama in Good Shape with 3 Days Left
  • Time Is Running Out for Mitt Romney
  • Au Revoir, Mr. President

Then there's Paul Krugman, the Nobel laureate with such a bad case of ideological poisoning that you'd think he'd won the Peace Prize, not the Economics one. He's lashing out at reportage which says the race is close, because . . .

State polling currently points overwhelmingly to an Obama victory. . . . A knife-edge this really isn’t, and any reporting suggesting that it is makes you stupider. . . . It’s OK, I guess, to report [Romney] campaign spin; but surely it’s not OK to report campaign spin as the truth, which is what these stories are doing. . . . Reporting that suggests that this is a too-close-to-call race doesn’t get at any of this; it’s just lazy, and a disservice to readers.

Someone will be right. Someone will be wrong. With luck, we'll know well before Wednesday morning.



"I hope we win."

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