And now for another of my infrequent posts, like anyone really reads them anyway.
With the election now down to Romney and Obama, the real contest begins. As it stands today the election is Obama’s to lose. There are at most 5 battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The election will turn on 2 things: Romney’s selection of a running mate and the economy with the pocketbook being more significant.
Electoral-vote.com currently has Obama carrying 26 states and the District of Columbia for 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 24 and 206. All of the battleground states above but Florida are weak Democratic leads of 1 to 3%. My belief at this point with no running mate picked for Romney is that Colorado and Ohio will move to the GOP column in November making the total 305 to 233 for Obama. I would also add 1 vote to Romney for Maine, which splits it electoral votes, making it 304 to 234. Therefore for Romney to win the election, something has to happen to shift 37 votes to him.
Florida will again be critical in determining the outcome of the election. Florida to Romney leaves only 9 votes between him and the Presidency, to Obama and it seals victory. So that leaves Romney looking for 9 votes. Michigan has 16 and Pennsylvania 20. So does this hinge on Romney’s VP choice or the economy?
A VP choice of Rick Santorum might push Pennsylvania into his column and it might not. Santorum has squeaked through on his Senate bids and did not survive the spring primaries. I’d call this a crap shoot.
Bob Portman of Ohio might help the ticket there but if he is going to win there anyway does it help anywhere else? Possibly Michigan, but this normally solid win for the Democrats will put up roadblocks to that.
Paul Ryan might bring Wisconsin, but hails from a heavily Republican district in a very Democratic state. This choice I’d give a 50/50 of pulling Wisconsin or Michigan into the Romney column.
As for other potential candidates, neither Tim Pawlenty nor Bobby Jindal bring anything new to the table. Pawlenty will likely not bring Minnesota into the Romney camp and Jindal is from the safely Republican Louisiana.
That said, as usual, the American electorate will once again vote with their pocketbooks as opposed to their brains. From my research all the stock market predictions that I can find predict a steep decline in the stock market starting in August and extending into late October, the Dow on the order of 1500 points or around –12.5%. But will this be enough to hand the election to Romney?
Let’s look at the battleground states that I mentioned
Obama’s current lead is 48% to 44%. This is a not too likely to move to Romney given the gap to bridge for the win. Win Obama but barely.
Floridians seem to vote with their pocketbooks. If all the retired Independents here see their investments shrink by over 10%, that should push this state solidly into the GOP column. Win Romney.
This state has been hurt by the economy and helped by the Obama administration, vis-à-vis the bailout of GM and Chrysler. If the economy tanks and Obama seems preoccupied there should be about a 50% chance of this state moving in the Romney column. My best guess would be a slight Romney edge but I’ll give Obama the votes.
I get the feeling that Ohioans are fed up with the antics of this Administration and will move the state to the GOP. Win Romney.
The trend in the polls is a narrowing gap between the candidates. This should play into Romney’s hands and coupled with the economy should easily turn Colorado to the GOP. Win Romney.
Vote totals (based on my assumptions):
Economy plays no factor, VP plays no factor.
VP plays a factor Pennsylvania only
VP plays a factor Wisconsin only
Economy plays a factor, VP plays no factor
Economy plays a factor, VP plays a factor Wisconsin
Economy plays a factor, VP plays a factor Pennsylvania
In all likelihood Obama will win this election barely, but only if other weak or moderately weak states do not switch due to the economy or some other factor does not come into play. The most likely states to do this would be Virginia(13), Michigan(16), New Hampshire(4), Iowa(6) or New Mexico(5). The following combinations could turn the election: New Hampshire and any of the other four states probably Iowa, Michigan or Virginia by itself, in order of likelihood.
So what we come to is that Romney must win Florida, Ohio, Colorado and either; New Hampshire and Iowa or New Hampshire and New Mexico or New Mexico and Iowa; or take Virginia or Michigan.
So now I will give my gut feeling that Romney will just barely win the Electoral Vote and be the next President of the United States all of this dependent on the economy tanking.