I have been digging through polling cross-tabs, Electoral College maps, political blogs and countless interviews with “experts.” More importantly, I am listening to real people who live in the real world, outside the tight little universe of political operatives and analysts: parents, business owners, teachers, police officer, retirees and veterans.
And as a result, I am calling it for Mitt Romney, and I’m calling it big. I say Mitt wins it with 300-plus Electoral College votes. I give him New Hampshire by at least 3 points. And, just between you and me, I think I am being conservative here. If he wins with over 310 Electoral College votes, I won’t be surprised.
The simple truth is that you can’t tell a fish it’s not wet. No matter how many different ways the President tries to tell us it’s “getting better” and “the private sector is doing fine,” real Americans living their real lives know better. How do you tell a single mother working two jobs and still can’t afford milk to give it four more years? How do you tell a father who can’t buy Christmas gifts for his children and is worried about losing the house to just hold on a little bit longer?
Different elections are influenced by different circumstances. There are economy elections, security elections, “change” elections, but every election is led by emotions. Voting is an emotional act and most voters are led by their gut instincts. It’s not hard to guess what their guts are telling them when 23 million Americans are unemployed and underemployed, more have fallen into poverty than at any other time in 17 years, and our national debt is at 16 trillion dollars.
It’s not just my gut instinct though. A rational analysis backs me up.
POLLS. I know the majority of polls suggest it is too close to call, but the polls are inherently flawed, even those that give Mitt Romney a slight edge. The polls are all using a 2008 turnout model for their sample. In doing so, the pollsters are ignoring the fact that the 2008 turnout was pushed by several influences that no longer exist, including Bush fatigue, an historic campaign, and a Republican effort that was outspent 4-1.
Voting intensity – that is, the percentage of voters who identify as a particular party and say they are ‘very likely’ to vote – highly favors Republicans in 2012, as opposed to 2008 when the opposite was true, and the majority of Americans believe our country is on ‘the wrong track.’
GRASSROOTS. This is an area where Mitt Romney’s efforts are out-performing both Barack Obama and John McCain. Here in New Hampshire, the Romney victory effort recently surpassed 1 million voter contacts and we are not the only state where this is happening. While the Obama campaign brags about the number of offices they have, they do not talk about the number of voter contacts they have made. When the President came to Nashua last week, cars in the downtown area were plastered with yellow leaflets offering people $14.00/hour to knock on doors for the Obama campaign. Meanwhile, the Romney volunteers were busy hitting thousands of doors across the state that day.
In 2008, Barack Obama far outpaced John McCain in early voting and absentee voting. In 2012 he has lost that advantage. In Iowa, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and Nevada Romney is outperforming by most early voting/absentee measures. Iowa is particularly interesting, where Democrats tend to vote by early voting and Republicans tend to vote on Election Day. For the first time, Republicans have a registration advantage in Iowa and Democrats will need to go into Election Day, by many estimates, with about a 130,000 vote lead to win Iowa… and they don’t have it yet.
INDEPENDENTS. Independent are consistently breaking for Mitt Romney in every battleground state. In 23 out of 25 polls released since the first Presidential debate, Romney has led among independents by an average of 7 points. Ohio is a good example. For the past month, Romney has led among independents in Ohio by 6.2 percent. In the last five major statewide races in Ohio, independents have picked the winners and there is no good reason to believe this election will be any different.
BATTLEGROUND STATES. Battleground states are breaking consistently for Mitt Romney. If you were a fly on the wall of Obama For America, you would know that they know they have already lost Florida. Romney will win New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado, Virginia and likely Iowa and Nevada. It will be close, but I am calling Ohio for Mitt Romney. He is now in play in states that President Obama never thought he would have to defend, like Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Ninety-six percent of Pennsylvania’s voters vote on Election Day, and Romney is narrowing the gap in Pennsylvania.
WHO DO WE LIKE? The President’s approval rating remains under 50 percent and Mitt Romney’s “favorables” have been consistently on the rise since the first debate.
BROKEN PROMISES. The deficit has not been cut in half, the unemployment rate is not under 6 percent, we have not seen the most transparent administration ever, he has not united us, he has worsened class warfare and created new divisions, he has attacked civil liberties like freedom of religion, he has abused executive privilege, Washington is still broken, and al-Qaeda is alive and well, continuing to recruit, train, plan and execute attacks.
Americans are exhausted. They are tired working overtime, tired of doing the stimulus math, tired of defending their faith and their country, tired of trying to decipher the twisted political-speak that never quite seems to answer the question, tired of debt, depressions and despair.
It’s easy to listen to real people in the real world and understand how this election is going to turn out. Americans are tired of being tired and that will be reflected in their votes on November 6th.