Final Election Projections: Obama To Win Presidency, Dems To Hold Senate
President Obama’s strength in the Northeast Corridor, Upper Midwest and Mountain West will propel him to re-election Tuesday night, outpointing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 299-239 in electoral votes.
Final Electoral Map
These are the key states to watch:
Ohio has been the focus of the race since forever and it’s almost impossible to picture a plausible map in which the loser wins the overall election. Ohio is full of the type of working-class, socially conservative white voters with whom President Obama has really struggled as of late, but it’s also a state where one out of every eight jobs is tied to the auto industry, which the president pretty much rescued from the cliff’s edge. Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Jon Husted, has been actively working to depress voting in left-leaning areas, which may well backfire and spark a real sense of urgency and renewed enthusiasm among voters in places like Cleveland and Columbus. Also, Jay-Z was at a rally with the president in Columbus on Monday and he will not lose. Prediction: Obama by 4.
The growth of the D.C. suburbs has turned Virginia into effectively the southernmost northeastern state with regard to its national voting patterns. President Obama won in 2008 by running up big numbers in NoVA and among the large black populations of Richmond and the Tidewater region. Obama’s loss of support among working-class white voters isn’t going to have as much of an impact here as in the Midwest, as white voters in rural parts of the state overwhelmingly backed McCain last time, and white voters in places like Fairfax and Prince William Counties trend more educated, affluent and many hold government jobs. A popular former governor and major 2008 Obama surrogate, Tim Kaine, is likely to win the state’s Senate race, which should help push the president over the top. Prediction: Obama by 2.
Like Virginia, Colorado is a relatively new swing state that turned blue in 2008 after voting for George W. Bush twice. Coloradans will also be voting this year on a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. My secret dream scenario is for Obama to win the election with Colorado as the decisive state, and then finding out that it was youth turnout that put him over the top—and this increased youth turnout was all due to weed. Fox News would be amazing for days. Colorado’s choice will be decided in the Denver suburbs, where a combination of socially liberal and environmentally conscious white voters and a growing Latino population should get it done for the president. Prediction: Obama by 3.
Despite what its richest and orangest man, Sheldon Adelson, would have you believe, Nevada is not a swing state in this year’s election. The only question is whether Obama’s coattails can carry Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley, a relatively unimpressive candidate, to the U.S. Senate. Prediction: Obama by 7.
I have a sneaking suspicion that the slimmest margin for any state in the presidential race will come from one of the slimmest states geographically. New Hampshire has an extremely white and relatively rich electorate with a long history of favoring small government, and is also home to Mitt Romney’s summer home on Lake Winnipesaukee. It’s a state that was never truly in love with President Obama, having surprised most observers by choosing Hillary in the 2008 primaries, and in many ways is kind of a natural habitat for Romney Republicans. New Hampshire still has a Democratic lean overall in national elections, but I think the combination of its small population (meaning more bang-for-the-buck on ad spending) and political culture will end up giving Romney a narrow win. Prediction: Romney by 1.
When the selection of Paul Ryan as vice president was announced, pundits quickly proclaimed that his plan to voucherize Medicare would torpedo the ticket in senior-heavy Florida. These same pundits failed to remember that Romney and Ryan were running against someone named Barack Hussein Obama. The president took Florida in 2008 by cleaning up with blacks, non-Cuban Latinos, and Jews, building a lead in South Florida and winning the key swing area along the Interstate 4 corridor. It is hard to see Obama replicating that performance in a state that skews old and has suffered more than most from the recession, as well as one with the type of Jewish voters who are turned off by the president’s frosty relationship with the Republican Party’s true leader, Bibi Netanyahu. Prediction: Romney by 2.
Final Senate Map
This year’s Senate map seemed early on to favor a substantial Republican gain, but that was before two shoe-in GOP candidates decided to give us their innermost thoughts on rape and conception.
I am projecting Democrats to win three currently Republican seats and Republicans to flip two from blue to red. Combined with the expected victory of Democratic-leaning Independent Angus King in Maine, taking over for retired Republican Olympia Snowe, the Democratic caucus should have a net gain of two seats.
Seven-fingered Democratic Sen. Jon Tester should edge out Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana, but it is hard to see the Democratic candidates finding a way to get over the top in Arizona and North Dakota, where polls have been close but the fundamentals of each state look to be a bridge too far. In Nevada, incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, a strong candidate, is leading Rep. Shelly Berkley in polls, but a significant Obama victory in the Silver State will propel her to a narrow win.
Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts deserves tremendous credit for keeping it close in a state that will elect Barack Obama by something along the lines of 20 points, but despite him being a popular politician and strong candidate, his also-impressive opponent, Elizabeth Warren, will capture that seat.
Republican candidates Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana, both of whom have provided their own offensive interpretation of the mechanics and ethics of rape, also look likely to lose despite competing in culturally conservative red states that will easily elect Mitt Romney. Akin’s opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, is an unremarkable legislator and fairly weak candidate, and Mourdock’s opponent, Rep. Joe Donnelly, is relatively unknown, but they should win their respective races owing nearly everything to the missteps of their opponents.
Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage of the election here.
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