Getting your side to the polls

92% of Obama supporters believe the president will be re-elected.  That strikes me as either cock-eyed optimism or confirmation bias.

76% of Romney supporters believe their guy will emerge victorious, which sounds more like typical political campaign positive thinking – although I don’t have data on previous cycles to back me up.  That 76% is up from 67% last week and probably headed higher.

Someone(s) is in for a bitter night.

The pros on both campaigns are smart and have access to lots of data.  Lots. Of. Data.  Whenever they make a move that might seem strange, it could be a gaffe, or, more likely, there is a method to their madness.  What I have in mind are some of the recent baffling decisions by the Obama campaign:  having the president demean himself and the office by calling his opponent a bull*******, the strange and widely panned ad comparing voting for BHO to a girl’s “first time,” decisions to spend precious candidate time on MTV while skipping news outlets, etc.  The poker player in me sees tells.

Then I crunch the numbers and I think I get it:  their only hope is to drive base turnout higher than even 2008!  They’re losing independents in every poll so they’ve got no choice.  There is no red America, no purple America; only cobalt-blue America.  So: scare up the base (GOP=evil) and turn off the middle (make the process even more ugly and maintain an air of inevitability).

I used the current best numbers I could find for crossover voters, combined it with a MSM estimate of independent voters (which falls mid-range in terms of all the polls out there) and then played with different turnout scenarios.  It’s very hard to see a popular vote win for BHO:

If my math is right he narrowly loses the popular vote even if he matches the 2008 turnout, because Romney is getting twice the democrat crossover vote as McCain did.  And if some of the other turnout indications end up being true, Romney will win and it won’t even be close.

Unless something dramatic happens in the next 10 days, the Obama campaign needs a bigger turnout advantage than the +7 in 2008.  That’s gonna be tough ’cause even if they get more of theirs to the polls they can’t really control how many GOPers decide to turn out.  Anybody think fewer republicans are voting this cycle than last?


That’s the popular vote – the Electoral College is another matter.  But if Romney hits 51-52% some/most/all of the swing states will follow.  If it stays closer than that, BHO could sneak out an E-college win via Ohio or other swing state(s).

At this point I can see Romney pretty safely at 257 but those last 13 have to come from NV (6), IA (6), WI (10), OH (18), and NH(4).

Most likely?  NH is moving Romney’s way and the GOP has strong GOTV in Wisconsin as a result of the handful of recall attempts at Governor Walker.  (Wouldn’t that be ironic? Or Karmic?)  We generally out-perform the polls in OH, plus Rob Portman reportedly has an excellent GOTV operation.  NV has three voting blocks:  Mormons, Hispanics, and Harry Reid’s SEIU crowd.  You tell me how each one turns out and I’ll tell you who wins.  I don’t have a feel for IA other than they like the higher corn prices and are a bit more pacifist than average.

There’s also a plausible tie scenario.

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One Response to Getting your side to the polls

  1. Think the Des Moines Register endorsement will help Iowa enough? We’ll find out soon.

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