Well it’s that time, folks! We’ll all know tomorrow whether Nate Silver and math are right about this election, or whether the probability truthers will get the last laugh. Below is the TRR guess for the final map. Please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions on the various scenarios that COULD happen, reflecting only my own views, and not those of my employers. Cool? Ok let’s do this…
Now, let’s get to the caveats…
Again, keep in mind these are predictions, not projections!
In this scenario, I’m cautiously — and I do mean cautiously — giving Barack Obama Florida. I wouldn’t have a week ago, but the early vote bonanza in South Florida, and what I’m hearing on the ground about supersized African-American turnout are convincing me that Team Obama may be able to pull this off in much the way they did in 2008.
I’m more confident about giving Obama Virginia (Larry Sabato, the VA political analyst emeritus, agrees. And the call in VA will signal what kind of night both these candidates will have. VA closes at 7…), Michigan, Pennsylvania (the eternal white wale of the GOP), Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada.
I’m actually really on the fence about Colorado and North Carolina. In the former, Democrats lost the early vote by about 2 percentage points, and in the latter, they won it pretty solidly. And while Colorado (where I grew up) can be a swingy state, in the sense that some Republicans will cross over for Obama and Dems for Romney, and that marijuana initiative could boost young voter turnout, to Obama’s benefit; and while Dems looked really solid in that early voting, I think the uncertainty in this particular election has to go to the challenger. So I’m not super-confident in the prediction, but out of caution, and giving Romney both those states.
I talked to Bob Shrum about this the other day, and he and I agreed that North Carolina could be the biggest surprise on the night. It’s also the one state I called wrong in 2008. I called it for McCain. (BTW not bragging, but I didn’t have a lot of company in calling Florida for Obama last time, so there’s that…)
So I’m a little more generous to Obama on electoral votes than Nate Silver, who gives the president 313 EVs to my 323. If I had to give back a state in order to get closer to Silver’s math, I’d give back Florida, secondarily Virginia, and in third place Ohio, especially given the relentlessness of Secretary of State Husted to seemingly build in disadvantages for Democratic voters. If you take Florida away and leave everything else on my map the same, Obama comes out with 294 to Romney’s 244. I think that’s just as likely as my more generous scenario. (How’s that for a hedge?)
Here’s what that map looks like:
Either way, my other prediction is that at least two elections could wind up in federal court after tonight: Ohio’s presidential race, and the Joe Garcia/David Rivera race in Miami, if Rivera eeks out a win. In that case, that early absentee vote extension, which was held in the heart of Republican/Cuban-American territory, will produce a major piece of litigation (and by that I don’t mean Rivera’s criminal defense.)
I think the big story coming out of this election, if Nate Silver, David Plouffe and others are right and Obama wins, will be the New Democratic firewall, meaning Hispanics, Black early voters, women and white, working-class, largely unionized workers in the rust belt. The fact that there is now a psychological split between unionized workers in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan and southern, non-union industrial workers has been clear for some time, and Republicans will have proved unsuccessful in cracking it by using what to me (and Chris Matthews) and others read as expressly racial appeals.
Within that group of white, rust belt workers, I agree with Joan Walsh’s assessment that white, working class women may prove to be as important as Hispanic voters in building a firewall for Obama. All of those groups (and add to it LGBT voters, who came in strong with money and support after the DADT repeal) will have advanced tickets to an Obama second term, and they should.
Obama has already said off the record to a newspaper (which then put it on the record, of course) that he will owe Hispanics a lot after this election. I think that’s right. If he winds up winning Colorado, that will certainly be the case, and North Carolina too, with its small, but growing Hispanic population, and of course Nevada and Florida, where I am today, and where non-Cuban Hispanics, particularly Puerto Ricans, will be a major factor.
Here we go yo, so what, so what, so what’s the scenario?
Ok I’ve given you my topline scenario above. Here are a few alternate realities to ponder tonight:
Note that the last scenario is highly unlikely, but just thought I’d throw it in there to piss off the folks at Politico…
And most important to remember: all of this guessing is meaningless if people don’t vote. DON’T GO BY ANYONE’S PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE ELECTION OUTCOME. VOTE FOR THE OUTCOME YOU WANT. Clear enough?
Related: my take on what, or who, gives a president a “mandate.”
Happy Election Day!