It's finally here! Election Day, 2012. After all the campaigning, all the debates, all the ads... we are finally at decision day. Who will win? That's the big question, and there are plenty of people out there with an opinion, including me. There are many factors that must fall into place, including STRONG get-out-the-vote efforts, but if all goes right, Mitt Romney will be our new president.
Let's start with a baseline. Without too much doubt, I believe we can put the following states into either the Romney or Obama column:
Romney - 191: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Georgia (16), Indiana (11), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (38), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), Wyoming (3)
Obama - 196: California (55), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), District of Columbia (3), Illinois (20), Maine (4), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), Minnesota (10), New Jersey (14), New York (29), Rhode Island (4), Oregon (7), Vermont (3), Washington (12)
That brings us to 387 out of a possible 538 electoral votes. So who gets the remaining 151? After a strong effort to win back key states that went for Bush in 2000 but did not go for McCain in 2008, I believe Romney will pick up the following: Florida (29), North Carolina (15), and Virgina (13). I believe Romney will also win back New Hampshire (4).
That puts Romney at 252.
I think Obama will win Michigan (16) and New Mexico (5).
That puts Obama at 217.
Let's turn our focus to the battleground of all battleground states this year: Ohio. The candidates have been running neck and neck, but the momentum has swung back in Romney's favor. When the counting is done, I predict Ohio (18) will go for Romney. Since he stood at 252, Ohio gives him the magic number of 270 and makes him the next president of the United States.
However, I think the momentum that is being felt in Ohio is not isolated. It is happening all across the country. I predict Colorado (9), Iowa (6), and Wisconsin (10) will also go for Romney.
That puts Romney at 295 with Obama still at 217.
Only Pennsylvania and Nevada have not been picked yet. These are tough to predict. I would LOVE for Romney to break the 300 level, and I think it's entirely possible, but obviously he'd have to win one or both of these states. Nevada reelected Harry Reid in 2010, and the union machine in the Las Vegas area is strong. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be done? Hmmmm... not sure. In both 2000 and 2004, Nevada went for Bush. In 2008, it went for Obama.
Polls have tightened dramatically in Pennsylvania, but the state has not voted for the Republican since 1988. Could this be the year of change? Perhaps.
It would be safe for me to put both states in the Obama column and predict a final tally of Romney 295 to Obama 243. But, I'll take a chance. After all, that's what predictions are all about. I'll save Pennsylvania for another election cycle, but I'll say that Nevada goes for Romney.
Final Prediction: Romney 301 - Obama 237
Karl Rove predicts 285 for Romney and 253 for Obama. Rove has the Eberle picks except for Nevada and Wisconsin going for Obama.
Dick Morris predicts 325 for Romney and 213 for Obama. Morris' differences from my picks are that he puts Pennsylvania and Minnesota in the Romney column and Nevada in Obama's. Minnesota does have a marriage amendment on the ballot which should bring out the conservatives, but I don't think it's enough to win over the state for Romney.
Michael Barone predicts 325 for Romney and 223 for Obama. Barone "goes out on a limb" and thinks Pennsylvania will go for Romney. He has Nevada going for Obama.
So those are the picks. My "safer" bet is 295 - 243. But my heart says go for 300+. Maybe Pennsylvania will break a 24 year trend, but I'll pick Nevada to flip back from 2008. Romney 301 vs Obama 237.
What do you think?