Calling an election that’s too close to call

I have been reluctant to predict the outcome of the presidential election because I believe the race is too close to call with any confidence. That, in any event, is what the national polls say.

However, last night, during his Ricochet podcast, John asked me for a prediction. As a guest, I could hardly refuse.

I picked Romney to win narrowly, both in the popular and the electoral vote. Why? Because with the polls inconclusive, I relied on my sense of the “fundamentals” of the race. And the fundamentals, in my view, favor Romney.

A fuller account of the fundamentals, as well as other factors, that favor Romney can be found in this analysis by Bill Otis, a very reliable forecaster of presidential races during the 40 years we’ve been friends.

1. When both Rasmussen and Gallup say +1 [for Romney], it’s +1.

2. That would mean Romney by about 1,200,000 votes. No candidate has ever finished that far in front and lost the Electoral College.

3. Back to basics: The conventional wisdom all year was that the party to win the independents wins the White House. As usual, the conventional wisdom is right.

4. Back to basics again: When the polling is a tie, the side with greater intensity wins. That’s us.

5. Sandy did hurt Romeny, but the hurt stopped yesterday, when graphic pictures showed that what was thought to be Dear Leader’s relief effort was leaving thousands in awful shape. If anything, I suspect there’s been a slight Thermidor over the last 48 hours.

6. Take a look at the right track/wrong track number.

7. Almost no poll has Obama at 50%. What is the history of incumbents who are not at 50% the day before the election?

8. Obama squandered his best asset, his “favorability.” Romney now outdoes him there on the RCP Index. Behavior does matter.

9. The economy stinks, and the press can’t hide it. True, it doesn’t stink around here, because Washington is absorbing tax dollars from everywhere else. But it’s extremely hard to get a job. People feel anxious, and they’ve felt that way ever since Dear Leader has been in office. There is a pent-up longing to be able to feel better, more relaxed.

10. We’ve got Obamafatigue. He’s the most overexposed man in history. He wears well for a while, but it’s been too long. What used to sound like soaring phrases now sounds like what it actually is, to wit, blather.

11. All during the Republican primary season, for months, the polling showed a generic Republican winning over Obama. Romney has succeeded in turning himself into the generic Republican.

12. The expiation-driven urge to elect a black President has been sated. Been there, done that.

13. Where will the decisive electoral votes come from? I suspect from Wisconsin (just last year the Dems and unions threw in everything they had and lost the recall by 7%; plus there’s favorite son Paul Ryan); Iowa (all four major papers endorsed the Republican candidate — a first, I believe); Colorado (a marijuana initiative will draw some of the college vote to Gary Johnson). We appear to have some chance at Pennsylvania, although we always seem to think that and always seem to lose. Ohio — who knows? But if I’m right, we can win without it.


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