Romney Isn’t There Yet

I wish I could be as optimistic as Dick Morris, the former Clinton aide turned GOP pundit. Morris believes that Mitt Romney has a strong chance to win the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all of which voted decisively for President Obama in 2008.

By my reckoning, if Romney can win either Pennsylvania or Michigan and just one of those other states, he will eke out a victory in the Electoral College.

Morris is an incredibly astute political analyst – I don’t think even Karl Rove can top him – but he tends to get carried away. For example, during the 2010 midterm elections, in which the Republicans won a historically large percentage of the Democrat-held seats in the House, Morris predicted that they would do even better than they did.

Judging by the state-by-state presidential polls conducted by the Rasmussen organization, I find it difficult to believe that Romney is there yet. My analysis of those polls – which have been conducted in twenty-three states – indicates that right now Romney is likely to win the majority of the popular vote cast for himself and Obama, but probably no more than 50.3 percent.

Such a squeaky-close margin is not likely to translate into a victory in the Electoral College, because so much of Romney’s support is spread among states where he holds a lopsided edge – states such as Idaho in the Old West, Nebraska in the Midwest, or Alabama in the Deep South. Alas, It won’t make a difference in his electoral total if he wins staunchly Republican Utah by 100 percent rather than 51 percent.

Obama, on the other hand, holds the edge in several states where the vote is likely to be relatively close. He won Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and New Hampshire by less than 55 percent last time, and he could very well win them all this time by less than 51 percent. But winner takes all in the Electoral College.

I figure that Romney might have to win as much as 51.5 percent of the major-party vote to get the necessary 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. That is better than George W. Bush did against John Kerry in 2004. Right now I can’t see Romney winning more than 248 electoral votes.

To go from his present (estimated) 50.3 percent to 51.5 percent of the major-party vote, he will have to change the minds of perhaps 1.7 million voters who currently lean to Obama. With 16 days remaining until Election Day, that is more than 100,000 minds per day. Perhaps he can do it if he absolutely creams Obama in tomorrow’s Debate #3, but otherwise???

Romney’s task would be considerably easier if it weren’t for the annoyingly stubborn voters of Ohio. Obama won Ohio, which has 18 electoral votes, with just 52.3 percent of the popular total last time, and based on the net shift to the Republicans that the polls show in other states, Ohio should now be in Romney’s column. Yet Rasmussen, in a poll taken three days ago, showed Obama still leading in Ohio by one percentage point.

Some observers have speculated that Ohioans are more tolerant of the incumbent than your average voters because his rescue of General Motors helped the auto-parts industry, which employs huge numbers of Ohioans. The unemployment rate in Ohio is lower than unemployment nationally — but that isn’t entirely due to GM. The new governor of Ohio, Republican John Kasich, has pushed through several economic measures that have created new jobs.
How sad it will be if the efforts of a highly effective Republican governor inadvertently make the difference in a victory for Obama.

Author Bio:

Arthur Louis spent more than forty years as a print journalist, with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGraw-Hill, Fortune magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, but he is not asking for sympathy. He is the author of two non-fiction books: The Tycoons, and Journalism and Other Atrocities, as well as a novel, The Little Champ. In retirement, he has decided unilaterally that he is a profound political pundit.
Author website:
  • jazzdrums

    Morris may be offering a mirror image of what the 2 professors from U of Colorado are predicting based on economic data alone and they have said they have never been wrong..I hope they are right but the I think the caveat in this election adds a factor they have not measured or can measure….emotion…firing the first black president by the people or some of the people who put him in last time in 2008
    I am hoping for the trojan horse. the people will spill out of it when needed and vote for romney…despite entry and exit polling …people lie..everyone lies..i lie you lie..humans lie for all sorts of reasons and a person not voting for obama may say they are and so on and so on.

    • Artlouis

       Good points. If there is a disguised result in all the polling, it probably is that Romney will win. I doubt that anyone who planned to vote for Obama would claim that he is voting for Romney. The Obama supporters I know would rather have their teeth drilled without novocaine than say anything in support of Romney.

  • Wheels55

    By the way, Morris writes children’s books so liberals can have a chance to understand him.

    • Artlouis

       lol. Didn’t Gingrich write one too? Give them credit for making the best use of all those Democrats.

      • Wheels55

        The next book by Morris will be called “Dubs deals with foreign affairs”. After the first page, Dubs uses executive privilege and the rest of the book is blank.

  • Wheels55

    I too think Morris is a little too optimistic. After all, he is paid to give his opinion and probably has tried to be more out there with his thoughts so he can get more air time. But I believe he is one to listen to. I think he is basically correct, but it seems to me that this will go down to the wire.

    • Artlouis

       Maybe he just wants to be sure that Republicans vote, rather than letting themselves be discouraged.

  • jujubeebee

    90% of the media is owned by 6 corporations and they are pushing Obama down people’s throats.    The influence of the media is tipping the polls to Obama.   Obama has nothing to run on….no success in his life, a terrible economy and no plan for the future.   Middle out is what?   You bleed the middle class dry with quantative easing and supply the lower and upper classes?  You tax the rich?  You spend us into bankruptcy.   How many votes can he buy with borrowed money from China? 
    Obama has gone after the ignorant vote.   He can ONLY go on Jon Stewart, Letterman and the View because he has nothing intelligent to say.   All he has is word play.   So let’s talk about Big Bird, Binders, War on Women and Middle Out and fool our adoring idiot voter block.

    • Artlouis

       I couldn’t agree more, juju. Chin up and keep battling.

  • JohnInMA

    Dick Morris is first and foremost a businessman, for the most part.  His optimism isn’t likely to be unfounded, but based on portions of data he has acquired (directly and indirectly – i.e. his and other’s polling).  Polling and analyzing the results is a big portion of his business/income.  So, it’s not hard to imagine he wants to be somewhat contrary to attract not only attention but more work to prove is predictions.  

    He may have a goal to psych up an electorate (I’m tired of the term “energize a base”….) with such predictions.  After all, Morris comes across as someone who is more than just professionally invested in seeing Republicans put in office.

  • Bruce A.

    This election is starting to look like 1980.

    • Artlouis

       Yes, there were a ton of last-minute conversions that year, but Reagan was a masterful politician.

  • Chas Holman

    I’ve already voted for the President (it felt great). Polls are silly at this point of the election in 2012.Get out there and vote, regardless what any silly polls tell you…. ya hear?

    • Artlouis

       I hear, and I would add “Hear, hear!”

    • Eric

       I voted today for Romney.  So, guess that washes out your vote, eh? :)

  • Patrick

    As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till its over.”

    • Artlouis

       Absolutely, Patrick. While I can’t declare Romney the winner yet, I also wouldn’t bet the farm on Obama.