Well, here we are, one day to go. Way way back in May I posted my “official” prediction for the 2012 presidential election. I’d like to point out that this prediction was made before Nate Silver started posting his projections over at fivethirtyeight.com this year, and before I had even heard of the excellent work by Sam Wang. This prediction was made (with the help of 270towin.com) based on what state polling was saying at the time:
LOL. Boy was I naive. I guess I was allowing my enthusiasm for the president cloud my thinking and affect my analysis of which states he could win.
So many things have happened since May. We had the pick of Paul Ryan, Todd Akin getting all sciencey about pregnancy and rape, the RNC with Clint Eastwood debating a chair, the DNC with the Big Dog being the Big Dog, the first debate debacle, the VP debate comedy show, the town hall debate smackdown, horses and bayonets in the third debate, Richard Mourdock getting all theological about pregnancy and rape, and finally, Hurricane Sandy.
Yep, things have really changed. So, with all that in mind, I’ve updated my map to reflect what I think the results will be tomorrow:
As you can see, I’ve basically thrown everything on its head and come up with a completely different victory scenario for the president, except for the fact that everything is exactly the same.
I really struggled with Florida. Silver has it as a 55% chance for a Romney win in Florida, and I can’t really argue. Silver and Wang have the luxury of not doing predictions; they simply publish probabilities. As any gambler knows, a 55-45 chance of victory means you’re going to lose quite often (in fact, 45% of the time, ldo) and so it would be no surprise whatsoever if the president is able to win Florida tomorrow night.
Here’s what I wrote back in May on Florida:
I give Florida to Romney partly because the state government down there has been very aggressive in “purging” the voter rolls of potential Democratic voters, and because the DOJ doesn’t seem inclined to intervene. But there are other reasons to think this will be a Romney state as well. President Obama is not popular there.
I’d change that somewhat. I think President Obama just might be (barely) popular enough to win Florida, but Governor Rick Scott has restricted early voting from what it was in 2008. There simply aren’t enough polling locations and poll machines in Florida to handle the demand to vote there. I’m not sure why this isn’t a major national scandal. Some people are waiting over 8 hours in line to vote, and those lines are primarily in precincts with minority populations.
I have no idea, none, what the effect of that bad governance in Florida will have on the share of the vote for the candidates. I’d really like to see some empirical data. Obviously long lines have some effect on GOP voters as well as Democratic voters. I don’t know if these effects are “priced in” to the likely voter models. But with all that in mind, and because this is a prediction and not just a probability, I’m going to stick with my May prediction that Florida goes to Romney.
Nothing else really changes. North Carolina still seems like a close loss and Colorado and Virginia still seem like close wins. I’m more confident of Ohio now than I was in May, but it will still be close.
The above map(s) are my official prediction, but let me qualify them with best-case and worst case scenarios for the president. Here is what I think is the best-case map for Tuesday evening:
And here is the worst-case scenario, as I see it:
As you can see, I think the president will definitely win tomorrow night. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency tomorrow night, it will be because all the state polling has been systemically biased towards the president. There is simply no way that the current polling could be accurate and produce a Romney victory. For example, in the last 10 polls listed on Pollster.com for Ohio, 9 of them show a lead for the president, and one (Rasmussen, naturally) shows a tie. Zero out of the last 10 show a lead for Romney. In the last 30 polls for Ohio, Obama is winning in 26, Romney is winning in two, and two are tied. That’s not a dead heat; it’s not a tie. Obama is ahead in Ohio and therefore is heavily favored to win re-election.
I’m not suggesting that a Romney victory is impossible, but if that is what happens, it will mean that there is something definitely wrong with the polling. It will be a huge deal. It will either mean that polling has a major systemic flaw that has been introduced this year, or it will mean that something is wrong with our voting system, in that it has failed to reflect the electorate this year.