Obama Will Win
FiveThirtyEight’s latest computer projection shows President Obama winning the election by almost 60 electoral votes, his highest total since Mitt Romney clinched the Republican nomination. Nate Silver mentions the President’s big health care win in the Supreme Court, but he attributes the Obama bounce to economic factors: yesterday’s big stock market jump following the European bailout deal, and yesterday’s announcement of better-than-expected growth in personal income during May.
RealClearPolitics’ polling average has Obama up by 3.8 percent in the popular vote. For the first time in many weeks, all 11 polls in the RCP average show Obama in the lead – even the Republican-leaning Rasmussen tracking poll.
Furthermore, although RCP shows Obama with only a 40-vote Electoral College lead, with 11 “toss-up” states, RCP’s state-by-state polling averages show Obama in the lead in nine of those states. That would give President Obama an Electoral College re-election vote of 332 – 206. Obama would lose just two states that he won in 2008 – Indiana and North Carolina, with a substantially more convincing re-election victory than George W. Bush won in 2004.
It was to be expected that Romney would get a bounce after he won the primary campaign. But Romney’s campaign lacks the vigor, and Romney lacks the personal appeal, to capitalize on his primary win – there is no “there” there.
It’s been clear to me for some time that President Obama will be re-elected. White voters will be slightly more unfavorable to Obama this time than last time, but not enough to cost him the election. I predicted in April 2008 that Obama would win the popular vote by seven to ten percent of the vote; he won by 7.2 percent. Today I predict that Obama will win the popular vote this November by four to seven percent.
There’s an outside chance that it could be more than that, because I think Obama will eat Romney for breakfast if they agree to debates in the fall. Romney has taken too many inconsistent positions and has said and done too many things that he doesn’t want people to think about too much. Nationally televised presidential election debates have a way of bringing lots of attention to candidates’ weak spots, whether it’s Richard Nixon’s shifty eyes and sweaty upper lip, Gerald Ford’s “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” or George H. W. Bush’s checking his watch.
More importantly, Romney lacks something that would enable him to overcome his past – maybe it’s charisma, maybe it’s personality, and maybe it’s just intellectual firepower. By all rights, President Obama ought to lose this year. But he won’t, because he’s running against the best that modern mainstream Republicanism has to offer.