Mitt Romney’s Path To Electoral College Victory Is Still Very Narrow

Mitt Romney faces an uphill battle in trying to get to that magic number of 270 Electoral Votes.

As of today there are 99 days left until Election Day and, just as was the case several months ago, while the national polls remain tight and there are signs that the state of the economy continues to hurt the President, the path to victory for Mitt Romney remains very precarious and, some might say, unlikely:

President Obama has an overall edge in the 12 decisive battleground states that is measurably greater than his advantage in national polling.

The dynamic, which may reflect a combination of lower swing-state unemployment rates and demographic advantages for the president, is causing stirrings of unease among Republicans, even as they emphasize that it is important not to read too much into the state of the race right now.

“Obama is concentrating his considerable early resources and messaging in the swing states, and it’s had an impact,” said Mark McKinnon, who served as a media adviser for President George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns.

(…)

The crucial battleground states number about a dozen: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Taking the polling averages used by Nate Silver in the New York Times, the president is ahead in 10 of the 12 vital states. If those polls were borne out on Election Day, Obama would coast to victory with 332 electoral college votes. Only 270 votes are needed to win the presidency.

Awarding Obama only the states in which he now leads by 3 percentage points or more in the polling averages still sees him safely home.

By that measure, as of last Friday, he would win 8 of the 12 battlegrounds, for a total of 290 electoral votes.

Romney victories in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia would leave the Republican marooned on 248 electoral votes.

Indeed, based on my own calculations, Romney would need to reverse the current trend and win at least 8 of the 12 battleground states discussed here. Some of them, likeColoradoPennsylvania, and New Mexico seem like unlikely places for a Republican victory this time around unless there is a major change in the polls. The others (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, and North Carolina) are at least possibilities but by no means easy ones if current polling trends continue in the same manner that they’ve been going. Romney’s ties to New Hampshire may be enough for him to pick up those four electoral votes, the growing evangelical movement in Iowa may be enough to push that state into the Republican camp, and Nevada’s Mormon population could well prove decisive although Romney will have problems there thanks to his problems with Hispanic voters. However in all three of those states, RCP shows Obama with a lead. In Iowa it’s a small 1.3 point lead, but in Nevada it’s a fairly strong 5.3 point lead, while in New Hampshire the President leads by an average of three points. North Carolina remains close in the polls, but I think Obama will be unable to repeat his narrow 2008 victory there this time around and would give that state to Romney for now. The rest of the swing states are all going to be massive battlegrounds and Romney would need to win all of them in order to get a 270 vote majority and right now Romney is behind in the crucial states of Ohio and Virginia. Even if Romney wins these states, though, it would leave him with the slimmest of majorities, as slim as only a 6 point majority and in any case no larger than a 12 point gap. That leaves almost no margin for error, it also depends on the polls moving in Romney’s direction as we move into August and September, as well as a good debate showing by Romney in October’s three debates. There’s very little that can go wrong, and the problem the Romney campaign has is that they’ve shown us several times is that they are very capable of doing the wrong thing.

Based in part of polling and in part on intuition and history, here’s where I see the race right now, courtesy of a map I made at 270towin.com. There’s no ability to create “Leans” states, which would be helpful, so I’ve essentially given to each respective candidate the swing states they are leading in right now regardless of how small the lead might be:

This puts us at Obama 299 Romney 239, slightly better for the President than where I saw things when I did this three months ago. Romney would need to pick off  at least 31 Electoral Votes just to get to 270. The good news for Romney is that some states, like Virginia, are very close right now and still very much capable of being picked off. Other states, however, such as Ohio, seem to be becoming more and more Pro-Obama. If he’s going to win, Romney needs to find a way to pick away at least 31 Electoral Votes from the President. That would require wining Ohio and Virginia, which would give him 270 Electoral votes and make him the next President. That’s not going to be easy, especially given the way current trends are going in this race.

There are several factors that can change between now and Election Day that could shift this election in a direction more to Romney’s advantage, not the least of them being the state of the economy. However, we’ve been stuck in a very narrow band for most of this year and there’s every reason to think it will stay that way at least until after the conventions. At that point, the question will become whether or not Romney will be able to give voters a reason to fire the incumbent President and, in the process, pick up enough Electoral Votes to win the election. Given the advantages that President Obama has in that regard, though, the odds are not in Romney’s favor at the moment.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Campaign 2012, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. PGlenn says:

    Barring reversals, Romney has already won three of these swing states – NC, FL, MZ.

    Romney is a solid favorite in three others – VA, CO, IA.

    Thus, Romney really only needs to scratch out a couple of victories among the other toss-up states – OH, NV, NH, MI, WI, PA, NM.

    Obama is stuck below 50-percent in all of these states.

    I’d call the election about 50/50 today.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    But it’s not just the Electoral College path…his rhetorical path is just as slim if not slimmer.
    Take for instance his words in Israel praising the Israeli Health Care system…a system that is almost purely Socialist system…certainly more Socialist than the PPACA::

    “…Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation…We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more…We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs…”

    And yet his health care policy is to dismantle the PPACA…embrace the free-rider status quo…and eliminate Medicare in favor of a voucher system specifically designed not to keep pace with heath care cost increases.
    That’s a pretty tough circle to square. If I was a journalist I’d be dying to ask him to reconcile those views.
    His only plausible argument for the Presidency is that he ran Bain. And when he ran the Olympics he was too overwhelmed to run Bain. Like I said…a narrow path.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    I think there’s a typo here:

    (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Virginia)

    Wisconsin or Michigan?

  4. @PGlenn:

    MZ? Which state is that? I presume you mean Missouri, and I agree that’s likely Republican.

    You are incorrect about Colorado and Iowa. Look at the links to the RCP polling data for both states which I linked to above. Obama has leads outside the MOE in both states. As for Virginia, while it’s true that Romney has picked up some ground since the spring here he still trails Obama in most polls. He has a chance here, but it is by no means certain and I think Obama is still the favorite in the Old Dominion.

    PA, MI, and WI. Are not “toss ups” despite some of the polling we’ll see all three of these Rust Belt states will stay blue in November. Although there are some encouraging signs in Michigan for Romney. The same goes for New Mexico. Thanks largely to Romney’s pathetic showing among Hispanic voters, that state is not going to be in play for the GOP.

    That leaves OH, NV and NH. All of which Romney would have to win.

    Id call the election 60/40, in Obama’s favor, and that’s being conservative in my odds making.

  5. @PD Shaw:

    North Carolina actually. I’ve updated the post in that regard

  6. PJ says:

    You’re all forgetting about Republicans working hard making sure that eligible voters won’t be able to vote.

  7. Me Me Me says:

    @ PGlenn:

    Oh dear – “Obama is stuck below 50-percent”?

    I’ve got news for you: Romney is also below 50-percent in two of the three states you declare that he has already won as well as the three states where you declare, for mysterious reasons, that he is the solid favorite.

    Except for Missouri, Romney is behind Obama by 2 to 5 points in every state you referenced (according to websites that average all poll data).

    This election is going to be an electoral college landslide for Obama.

  8. john personna says:

    Oh, you missed using this graphic

  9. PGlenn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Sorry, yeah, MZ = Mizzou!

    I’ve seen the polling in all the states. I’ll take Romney at 3/2 all day long and would settle for 6/5.

  10. PGlenn says:

    @Me Me Me: And seeing as how you’re predicting an Obama landslide, I’m sure you’d give me 3/1 on Romney?

  11. C. Clavin says:

    “…You are incorrect about Colorado and Iowa. Look at the links to the RCP polling…”

    And RCP includes Rasmussen which skews everything to the Jan nutty side.

  12. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I also think Romney is not trying to wine Ohio and Virginia. Although I wouldn’t bet on it given the candidate ;-).

  13. @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    The first time he ran for the Virginia House Of Burgesses, George Washington provide whiskey to his supporters on Election Day.

    Just sayin’

  14. john personna says:

    Other than that, I find “the economy hurts Obama” to be very shallow analysis.

    People are listening for a plan, and candidates are playing a muted “his plan is worse” game.

    The bad economy makes plans important, and a bad (or missing) plan can impact either man.

    Or if Romney comes across as “hey, just be rich, like me” that might be received more poorly in a down economy than a good one.

  15. Me Me Me says:

    @PGlenn: In a heartbeat. How do you want to make the arrangements?

  16. Anderson says:

    Good post, though I would note that Florida is much more up for grabs than I’d anticipated; Obama could well edge Romney out there, and it’s difficult to imagine how Romney could win without Florida.

    I’m not buying that “New Hampshire connections” win that state for Romney, though. He hasn’t won a poll there since March.

  17. Latino_in_Boston says:

    I agree with Doug that the race is about 60-40 in Obama’s favor at the moment, but it could easily swing if the economy goes south. Based on that a couple of thoughts:

    What will the Republicans say if they lose? They’ll have had a golden opportunity in a weak incumbent with the economy in shambles and they’ll have blown it only two years removed from surprising victories in 2010.

    If Romney’s path to victory is so narrow, imagine how it will be for future GOP candidates. TX will be a swing state in the not too distant future and when that happens, it will make the Republicans access to the presidency all that much harder.

  18. Ernieyeball says:

    MZ is the State many Citizens Inhabit during Presidential campaigns. My Zone…

  19. Gromitt Gunn says:

    That looks like a solid predictive map, Doug. I could see both Iowa and New Hampsire flipping sides, but that would be immaterial to the overall election results.

    Romney’s ultimate electoral college problem, as I see it, is that roughly 33% of his likely states have 10 or more EC votes. On the other hand, roughly 50% of Obama’s likely states have 10 or more votes.

  20. Me Me Me says:

    @Anderson:

    I’m not buying that “New Hampshire connections” win that state for Romney, though. He hasn’t won a poll there since March.

    Mitt having a direct connection with a state seems to dampen his prospects there: he is going to lose each of his many home states: Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California. He will win Utah, of course, but in true Mitt fashion, he has flip-flopped on the question of whether or not it was ever his home. In the course of doing so he perjured himself, of course, but for some reason stuff like that never effects our Galtian overlords.

  21. Me Me Me says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    What will the Republicans say if they lose?

    Well, since conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed, they will blame Romney for not being severly conservative enough, and the librual media, and the Hollywood elite for taking advtangage of the Citizens United to pour money into the race.

    In other words, the lessons they will “learn” is tax rates have to cut to zero, the we need more epistemic closure (if that is even possible), and that more abuse of the electoral process is going to be needed in 2016.

  22. de stijl says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    What will the Republicans say if they lose?

    “Romney wasn’t conservative enough. A RINO, really. Trump / Bachmann / Gingrich / Cain / Santorum (pick one) would have wiped the floor with Obama. Next time, we’ll put a real conservative up.”

    Conservatism cannot fail; it can only be failed.

  23. Me Me Me says:

    @de stijl:
    LOL.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Me Me Me:

    D’oh! Missed it by two minutes!

  25. de stijl says:

    Jinx!

  26. John D'Geek says:

    Pennsylvania is a toss-up, but not for the reasons most people think. PA is a “Bible-Belt, Blue-Dog Democrat” state; the real question is which of those candidates can position themselves closest.

    That would be why our current president may still pull off PA without ever getting a solid approval rating. But, as has been said, if the economy tanks even further in “the Depression never ends, thanks to ‘politics-as-usual'” PA, he will loose.

  27. stonetools says:

    Its still early yet, and Obama probably still has his best stuff on tap. He hasn’t even begun to run at a “do nothing” Congress yet. I think we are looking at a 1948 redux.
    Also too in 2004, Kerry was ahead of Bush at this point.

  28. jan says:

    @PGlenn:

    While I hope you are right about the 50/50, I would bet on Doug’s 60/40, as of today, if only for the fact that the democratic incumbent has a built-in advantage, the bully pulpit, and the MSM emphasizing news slanted towards the president. It will definitely be an up-hill battle for Romney.

    However, after saying all this I don’t see VA, OH, IA,, CO or even PA being a slam-dunk for Obama. I also think that there is a small possibility in WI, MI, and NV. VA has a popular R governor which has pulled that state closer to R’s. IA has been tipping in registration towards R’s, and also has a popular, vocal R governor, who dislikes Obama. PA suburbs are a good fit for Romney. MI has seen an improving economy under a R governor, as has WI under the now infamous Walker leadership. It’s not ’08, and there are more favorable odds in all those states –whether they are big enough to turn them into a Romney state remains to be seen.

    Also, another poster/economist I read, has been following the registrations for both parties, and sees the advantage being with the R’s almost everywhere, with the exception NV.

  29. jan says:

    @stonetools:

    ‘He hasn’t even begun to run at a “do nothing” Congress yet. “

    …a do nothing Congress that is a divided one, between R’s and D’s. You gotta put the dems in that old Congress equation. Because if it was all R’s then a lot more would have been done — you can count on it!

  30. stonetools says:

    @jan:

    Say what? The Republicans have had a big House majority for two years. All they have done is pass a bunch of anti-abortion bills and failed 33 times to repeal ACA, while voting down every Presidential job proposal. And oh yeah, they voted to repeal Medicare and replace it with a voucher plan. And let’s not forget, the whole attempt to shut down the Government last summer.

    Its a target rich environment for Obama and the Democrats. We’ll see an ad s****storm that will make the Bain onslaught look like pattycake .

  31. al-Ameda says:

    I generally think that it’s a 51/49 in favor of Obama situation right now. I think the more people see Romney in action, the more they know about him, the less well Romney does.\\

    People are set in their votes right now – very few people on either side are going to change their vote, and there are few truly “independent” voters. The key will be turnout, and the GOP has moved into voter suppression mode in those states where they can get ID/Suppression legislation passed.

    This will be a very close election.

  32. stonetools says:

    @al-Ameda:

    The key will be turnout, and the GOP has moved into voter suppression mode in those states where they can get ID/Suppression legislation passed.

    Can those voter suppression laws survive a court challenge though? The DOJ is on those laws like white on rice, and I don’t see any of them being enforced . Heck, at least one PA election official says he isn’t enforcing the PA law , because its so obviously suspect. I see the courts granting a lot of injunctions against these laws.

  33. PGlenn says:

    @Me Me Me: Let’s just make a gentlemen’s/gentlewoman’s agreement right now to Romney 3/2 for something reasonable like $100 (I work for the gub’mint) and then we can work out the arrangements in a few months. I promise not to flake if the numbers start trending poorly for Romney. I will check back-in on this site regulary to take my usual punishment from all you progressives.

    I do appreciate your confidenc’e and willingness to put your money where your mouth is. I was equally confident of G W Bush’s chances (whom I didn’t like, btw) in the summer of 2004, and his numbers weren’t exactly dominating then.

  34. jan says:

    @stonetools:

    Obama’s first two years were graced with a FULL Congress at his disposal (House and Senate), with large margins. It has only been after the midterms that the House came under the control of the R’s. There have been numerous bills tendered by the House, dealing with the economy, some having bi-partisan large majority votes, that stall out in the Democratic Senate. Also, where has there been a budget visited by the Senate, except for the one Obama produced which didn’t garner 1 vote from either party?

    These days when the dems rage about the so-called ‘Congress,’ it is such a falsehood, as they are completely bypassing their majority status and powers in the Senate. And, if the roles were reversed, and the House was dominated by the D’s, and the Senate by the R’s, all you would be hearing about was the outrage and obstacles posed by the Senate, with no references made to the House’s role. Funny how that works, isn’t it!

  35. Anderson says:

    as they are completely bypassing their majority status and powers in the Senate

    Try googling “filibuster,” Jan.

  36. jan says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “The key will be turnout, and the GOP has moved into voter suppression mode in those states where they can get ID/Suppression legislation passed.”

    You’re right about turnout — that is key, in any election, as well as the enthusiasm registering in each party. But as to the lame ‘voter suppression’ meme, because of tightening up voter ID laws, that is pure partisan BS.

    Here in CA just try to do anything legit, without some kind of identification — if not a driver’s ID than simply a CA ID card. Everybody wants to know who you are, and if you are who you say you are. It can be irritating, but has nothing to do with some kind of conspiratory suppression, giving more leeway to some over others. You are actually discrediting people in thinking they aren’t smart enough, or savvy enough to have an ID in a day and age demanding one undergo a myriad of checks and balances to get anything done or through the system.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    “…Obama’s first two years were graced with a FULL Congress at his disposal (House and Senate), with large margins…”
    WTF are you talking about???

  38. KariQ says:

    @jan:

    I don’t see VA, OH, IA,, CO or even PA being a slam-dunk for Obama. I also think that there is a small possibility in WI, MI, and NV.

    This is looking with your heart rather than your eyes, I think. CO and PA will go for Obama, pretty solidly. Wisconsin will be a fairly easy win for Obama, as even Rasmussen has him ahead there and other pollsters using LV models show Obama ahead by 7 or 8 points. AndeEven Ras has Obama leading in MI by 6. Even presuming that Romney manages to close the gap in some or all of these states, I just don’t see how he can win them.

    VA will be close, though. Nevada could be, though personally I don’t think it will. Ohio probably will be very close. The good news for Romney supporters is that puts a win within reach, but it’s still going to take some luck and hard work to get there.

  39. wr says:

    @jan: Yes, Jan. It’s insulting to the poor, the aged, the handicapped and the rural Americans NOT to take away their right to vote based on lies about voter fraud. They’re all demanding to be disenfranchised so they’ll know that white Republicans really respect them.

    You should try reading what you type someday. I’m pretty sure you’d be embarassed.

  40. anjin-san says:

    You are actually discrediting people in thinking they aren’t smart enough, or savvy enough to have an ID

    Actually, you are discrediting yourself by showing that you have no clue how difficult it can be for someone who is poor to get things done that a middle class person takes for granted. And guess what Jan… some people are not smart. They are not savvy. Some people are outright dumb. But that does not mean the GOP can take away their constitutional right to vote.

    No empathy, no clue. That’s our Jan.

  41. anjin-san says:

    Nate Silver has Obama’s chance of winning @ 66.9% as of today…

  42. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @anjin-san:

    But Obama has him at 57.2%, which sounds like a pretty good bet.

  43. Jib says:

    @Doug Mataconis: William Henry Harrison provided free hard apple cider in the 1840 campaign. A reporter had made a comment that all Harrison wanted was a pension and a barrel of hard cider. Harrison’s campaign spun that into the the “log cabin and hard cider” campaign.

    Hard apple cider was to the US what wine was to France, the drink of the subsistence farmer, every homestead made it. Whiskey required excess grain, you needed to be rich and living in established farmland for whiskey. Log cabin and apple cider meant common man from the frontier. Plus Harrison was a decorated Indian fighter, Van Buren never had a chance (of course the Panic of 1837 had a role in that but why run a good story with facts).

  44. jan says:

    @anjin-san:

    “Some people are outright dumb. But that does not mean the GOP can take away their constitutional right to vote.”

    If people don’t have a clue as to how to get an ID, then that should be the mission of both dem and republican operatives — to help them get such an ID. In doing so, it will not only dove-tail into the perimeters of encouraging a non-fraudulent election, but will also help these ‘fringe’ people expedite other legal and bureaucratic matters in their lives. It’s a win/win challenge for all.

    I like to actually ‘help’ people, not simply enable them for some kind of political advantage … apparently that is not your goal.

  45. jan says:

    @KariQ:

    ‘This is looking with your heart rather than your eyes, I think. CO and PA will go for Obama, pretty solidly. ‘

    Perhaps..as all this pre-election analysis is simply pure speculation. However, regarding PA, Salena Zito of the Pittsburgh Tribune, says that western and central PA is seeing a closing of the gap between Obama and Romney, with Conservative Hillary dems and indies shifting over to Romney in greater numbers. Even in the eastern part of the state, in Phillly, it is noted that people are no longer looking at Obama as the candidate of ‘light, hope, and change’ as they did in ’08. The latest Rasmussen poll has the two candidate 4 pts apart with 9% either undecided or voting for someone else, and a 4.5% MOE. That’s close, IMO.

    CO is more of a long shot.

    And, Ohio, in the latest poll, shows a 2 pt difference with 9% either voting for someone else or undecided, with a 4.5% MOE. That’s another close state.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about MI and WI. It is wishful thinking, and will probably only break for Romney if there is a huge wave for the man.

  46. jan says:

    @Anderson:

    “Try googling “filibuster,” “,/i>

    As you well know the filibuster is a tool used by the out-of-power party to curtail over reach by the party in power. It currently is hated by the dems, but should they lose in ’12, they too will embrace it.

  47. James says:

    @jan:

    […] all this pre-election analysis is simply pure speculation.

    Except for all this, um, polling data. And demographic trends. Oh, and don’t forget prior voting patters.

  48. C. Clavin says:

    Yes Jan…and PA purged all those voters to help Romney.
    Same in FL.
    http://www.projectvote.org/blog/2012/07/republican-officials-acknowledge-voter-suppression-motives/
    In fact this cycle will be the first time in history we’ve turned away voters…instead of empowering people. But hey…if you’ve got nothing to sell, then game the system. And as long as you can exercise your rights freely…there’s no need to worry about those “other people”.

  49. anjin-san says:

    If people don’t have a clue as to how to get an ID, then that should be the mission of both dem and republican operatives — to help them get such an ID.

    Yes it should. So explain why the GOP has worked long and hard to disenfranchise so many of these folks.

    I like to actually ‘help’ people, not simply enable them for some kind of political advantage … apparently that is not your goal.

    Bite me.

  50. An Interested Party says:

    …as well as a good debate showing by Romney in October’s three debates.

    Considering how often he has already stuck his foot in his mouth, not to mention the fact that he seems to be charisma-free, the above scenario doesn’t seem very likely…

    …if only for the fact that the democratic incumbent has a built-in advantage, the bully pulpit, and the MSM emphasizing news slanted towards the president.

    Certain conservatives will never stop playing the vicitim…

    It currently is hated by the dems, but should they lose in ’12, they too will embrace it.

    This, of course, isn’t the point…the filbuster proves that this…

    Obama’s first two years were graced with a FULL Congress at his disposal (House and Senate), with large margins.

    …is not true…

  51. jan says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You post tired, old partisan tripe — nothing but talking points, no updates or data, just mealy-mouthed insinuations, gossip, allegations, and tactics meant to either generate fear or sympathy, or simply slime others.

    Voter ID effects everyone — both left, right and center. It’s a way to genuinely have an election of the people, by the people and for the people, without anyone taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent in a system where people can easily assume another’s identity. It’s all a part of the checks and balances to see that something like an election is a pure as possible — much like all the hoops that the FDA demands for drug approval. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you want a greater opportunity to cheat by voiding such checks and balances.

  52. anjin-san says:

    without anyone taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent in a system where people can easily assume another’s identity.

    Please show that this is anything other than a trivial problem. Not seeing any data. Practice what you preach.

  53. anjin-san says:

    Jan – still waiting for you to show when Obama said “America is not exceptional.”

    Yes, I am calling you a liar.

  54. C. Clavin says:

    Actually Jan you quote the same old talking points…I linked to actual Republicans saying what they are up to…including someone who just testified today. Not sure how something from today is old…but in your whackadoodle mind…
    “… It’s a way to genuinely have an election of the people, by the people and for the people, without anyone taking advantage of the weaknesses inherent in a system..”
    You describe a non-existent problem…for which the answer is to make it hard for people who are poorer, or sicker, or otherwise more disadvantaged than you to vote. Why are you do afraid of people not exactly like you? It’s called xenophobia…and you can get help.

  55. C. Clavin says:

    By the way Jan…
    We are all still waiting for you to show when Obama said “America is not exceptional.”
    You should probably be too embarrassed to post other comments until you can back that up. But I suppose if you are OK with denying others the right to vote…you have no sense of shame.

  56. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    “with Conservative Hillary dems”

    Never thought I’d live in a world where those three words could coexist side by side. “Wow! What a country you have.”:

  57. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @jan: “It’s a way to genuinely have an election of the my people, by the my people and for the my people…”

    FIFY! No need to thank me.

  58. superdestroyer says:

    ONce again, who cares? Anyone who believe that Romney is going to win does not follow politics.

    The only question for the 2012 election is whether the Republicans can retain control of the House and whether the Democrats can retain control of the Senate.

    The idea that the Republicans are competitive at the national level is over. The idea that a Republican will be president again is foolish.

    Intead of worrying about national popular vote, voter ID,and superpacs, real political scientist should be focusing on demographics and how it overwhelms everything else in politics. Eventually Republican voters will tire of being on the outside and will start voting in the Democratic party primary in overwhelming number in order to have some affect on policy and governance. But as the Democrats have shown in California, they will adjust the voting rules to maintain their huge advantage.

  59. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @superdestroyer:

    For someone who claims to not care, you sure seem to care, SD.

  60. Anderson says:

    “Anyone who believe that Romney is going to win does not follow politics.”

    Uphill surely, but he has a real shot, particularly if the economy staggers or if al-Qaeda makes an effort on his behalf. Too early to be smug.

  61. superdestroyer says:

    @Anderson:

    The highest unemployment rates are in California. Do you really think that the Hispanic voters of California will vote for Romney if the unemployment rate goes higher. Do you really think the unemployment rate will affect any black, Hispanic, Jewish, public sector, homosexual, or academic voter will change their vote due to anything that happens in the economy.

    The Democrats know that they will get 45% of the vote without spending a dollar. In such an environment, it is foolish to view the Republicans as a national party.

  62. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It’s actually conceivable that Romney will in fact wind up exactly at 270. The McCain ’08 states + IN and NC + FL, OH and VA + NH. Substitute NV for NH and it would add up to 271. In either of which events the likes of Pfizer, Lilly, Glaxo, hell, all the major pharmaceutical manufacturers, will experience sales spikes, if you catch my drift.

    As far as media polling of swing states go, the chances of Obama not leading in those surveys fall somewhere between Gallup and CNN, which is to say slim to none. If he’s actually in the lead in real life then it’ll be reported as such. If he’s not actually in the lead in real life they’ll skew their samples to get him in the lead, or at minimum they’ll tweak things so they can pitch the “dead heat” meme. For obvious reasons.

    If I were a betting man — which of course I am — I’d say that if the election were held today Obama would eke out an extremely narrow victory. If however the job market disintegrates further between now and November then I suspect Romney will eke out a very narrow win.

  63. @Latino_in_Boston:

    More of a comment in general, but you say :

    I agree with Doug that the race is about 60-40 in Obama’s favor at the moment, but it could easily swing if the economy goes south.

    The economy is not an exogenous event at this point, short of a 2,000 point DOW drop in a week type of event. People have already internatlized that the economy is at best mediocre and wages suck at the moment. That knowledge is reflected in the polls as people’s voting intentions are solidifying for the fall based on summer 2012 economic conditions. If 3rd Q GDP is .75 to 1.75, it is a wash as that is baked into the responses of pollees already.

    As a side note, I agree with you and Doug, on 270towin I have Obama at 303 (giving NH to Obama)

  64. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @David Anderson:

    You’re right about the economy, generally speaking, if the economy maintains roughly the path that it’s going in, but it could get much much worse. September is the key month for the Euro and it’s at least conceivable that a Grexit or some other related issue in Europe could bring an economic tsunami and lead us back into recession. For the record, I think that’s unlikely, but if it happens, all bets are off.

  65. grumpy realist says:

    It’s also not just that people want to get rid of Obama; they’re only going to do it if they believe Romney is going to do a better job.

    For all his touting of his time at Bain and running the Olympics, I’ve noticed that ol’ Mitt has been very chary of saying what exactly he’d DO while in office to fix problems. I’ve heard “first day in office, declare China a currency speculator” (well, what does that do? Also, isn’t this something that has to be done by Congress, not the POTUS?) Declare war on Iran? (Yeah, that’ll help the economy, especially if Russia, in a sense of mischief, decides to support the other side.)

    Mitt is an ass and the people who support him are equivalently silly if they expect him to solve any problem.

    If the US elects Mitt Romney, it deserves what happens to it.

  66. C. Clavin says:

    @ Grumpy…

    “…If the US elects Mitt Romney, it deserves what happens to it…”

    We did elect Bush 43 twice…so anything is possible…and look how that turned out.

  67. PGlenn says:

    @grumpy realist: you’re confusing, conflating your standards of evaluation.

    First, you say it’s a question of whether Obama or Romney will do a better job – i.e., which candidate will be a better steward of the economy. This is a good question – the right one, IMO.

    But then you switch to asking which candidate will “fix” the economy. Romney has not stated how he will fix the economy. Fine, but neither candidate is capable of fixing the economy.

    Now, if by “fix problems” you’re including the possibility of making policy adjustments that are premised on the belief that the economy cannot be “fixed” via micromanagement, but that policy adjustments might set the conditions for economic growth, then we can go back to the (more sensible) stewardship question. “Fixing” economic policy does not have to mean more Keynesian stimulus 3, QE3, etc., right? Fixing economic policy might even involve “signaling” the markets that the new administration isn’t so hubristic to believe that its technocrats can fix the economy.

    As we all too painfully know, part of the problem with progressive/liberal technocrats is that their “fixes” cause more harm than good. Romney has a progressive technocratic streak in him, too, but Romney supporters are betting (hoping?) on the proposition that his policies will be both more effective while emphasizing a little less of a micro-management approach compared to the Obama administration.

  68. C. Clavin says:

    @ PGlenn…

    “…As we all too painfully know, part of the problem with progressive/liberal technocrats is that their “fixes” cause more harm than good…”

    Based on what exactly? The fact that the economy does better with Democratic Presidents than it does with Republicans? You made a pretty wild claim…back it up.

  69. PGlenn says:

    @C. Clavin: Yeah, that was a pretty blanket claim, which would require many, many volumes to support. Keep in mind that some Republican administrations, legislators, and party-affiliated bureaucrats, technocrats, and policy experts have proposed their own progressive attempts to micromanage the economy over the decades. Some of these attempts were more “pro-business” than they were “free market.”

    Let me just give you a few quick, broad examples which you will reject out-of-hand anyway:

    1. The New Deal/FDR administration policies to “fix” the Great Depression that ended up lasting over a decade.

    2. Every Keynesian stimulus program ever implemented.

    3. Obama administration “green energy” measures.

    4. Sarbanes-Oxley.

    5. The E.U.

  70. @PGlenn:

    Now, if by “fix problems” you’re including the possibility of making policy adjustments that are premised on the belief that the economy cannot be “fixed” via micromanagement, but that policy adjustments might set the conditions for economic growth, then we can go back to the (more sensible) stewardship question. “Fixing” economic policy does not have to mean more Keynesian stimulus 3, QE3, etc., right? Fixing economic policy might even involve “signaling” the markets that the new administration isn’t so hubristic to believe that its technocrats can fix the economy.

    A pretty good comment overall, but I’d say the whole “administration so hubristic to believe that its technocrats can fix the economy” thing is shadows.

    Obama’s policy has not been at all like that. His Fed and his legislative proposals have not been New Deal II.

    Strangely you are faulting him for doing things that real progressives are faulting him for not doing.

    Seriously, the conservative complaint is that Obama “feels” progressive to them. I mean, we’ve got that whole thing where while Wall Street gets handled with kid gloves, they don’t want to be criticized either.

  71. @PGlenn:

    The only thing unique to Obama on your list is the green energy thing. I’m sure you count up the billions on those, throw them in the street, and not miss them.

    It’s just that Solyndra “feels” worse to you than Iraq, right?

  72. PGlenn says:

    @john personna: you make several good and fair points.

    From my perspective, though, we need to distinguish between pre-2008 GOP establishment business-progressivism, which was dominant at times, and the recent shift away from corporatism on the right.

    Sure, there is not great distance on economic policies between 2009 – 2012 Obama and early 2000s GOP of “public/private partnerships,” “compassionate conservatism,” and “privatization,” etc. Perhaps there is even less distance, in retrospect, between the current Obama administration approach to economic matters and 1970s/Nixonian “we’re all Keynesians now” Rockefeller Republicanism. And we could go on with that line of analysis.

    I do believe that Obama is a “radical” progressive, but his opportunities to push certain lines are certainly constrained by politics, the recession, and so forth.

    But, yes, I do consider the EPA regulations of “greenhouse gasses,” Obama green energy programs, and related policy directions as being consistent with a micromanagement approach in certain respects. Either you believe that the Obama administration is confident that these policies will help promote energy breakthroughs that will make us even more prosperous in the long-run – while saving the planet – or the alternative is that you believe these policies are consistent with an almost Watermelon Luddite mentality (capitalist greed and growth are environmentally unsustainable).

    I assume you embrace the former vision, not the latter; but the former vision entails a large dose of micromanagement, does it not?

  73. @PGlenn:

    Well, I can discuss the PGlenn plan, with the caveat that I can’t be sure which views to map to Schrödinger’s candidate.

    But, yes, I do consider the EPA regulations of “greenhouse gasses,” Obama green energy programs, and related policy directions as being consistent with a micromanagement approach in certain respects. Either you believe that the Obama administration is confident that these policies will help promote energy breakthroughs that will make us even more prosperous in the long-run – while saving the planet – or the alternative is that you believe these policies are consistent with an almost Watermelon Luddite mentality (capitalist greed and growth are environmentally unsustainable).

    To be honest I see the greenhouse gas thing as another issue larger in minds than in practice. Everybody has talked about a response. That includes conservative economist Greg Mankiw, with his carbon tax. We know that John McCain famously backed a Cap and Trade system. Democrats of various sorts have supported a variety of solutions.

    I think all any of the plans have done, including the few enacted, is push things a little bit at the margin. They haven’t amounted to much.

    The economic cycle and the natural gas discoveries have done far far more.

  74. (My position on global warming is that it is real but that it is foolish to lead too far unilaterally. Much like nuclear disarmament the meaningful reductions are the multilateral ones.)

  75. C. Clavin says:

    @ PGlenn…
    I don’t reject those all out of hand.
    For instance most Republican efforts at Keynesism (every single Republican is a Keynesian when in office) are mis-guided. Bush43 spending gobs of money for no reason was just stupid and, as you say, did more harm than good. Obama’s stimulus, on the other hand, prevented a second depression.
    On the other hand prior to Sarbanes-Oxely the Libor Scandal would most likely have been just a civil violation. But now it stands a chance of being prosecuted as a criminal matter…which is a good thing.

  76. PGlenn says:

    @john personna: you have a quite reasonable stance on global warming. Also, I don’t think our respective visions are tremendously far apart, although we probably have wide disagreements on how best to promote those visions.

    As for programs to promote alternative energy sources, though, part of the reason that I associate these with “economic micromanagement” is that they tend to evolve out of a “build it and they will come” mentality. Advocates and policy designers assume that major technological breakthroughs can be, or typically are, products of big government campaigns – a la the Moon Race. If we incentivize (currently inferior) energy technologies for 10 years or so, while ramping up R&D, the breakthroughs will certainly be wating for us on the other side. Maybe, maybe not. In the meantime, the government has committed itself to a particular technological outcome – i.e. “picking winners.”

    If there is one thing we know for certain the government is lousy at it is picking winners – whether its involved in real estate deals or wagers on energy innovations.

    In general, though, when governments attempt to promote green or sustainable development – rightly or wrongly – these efforts will tend to involve a relatively high degree of micromanagement . . . tax credits or penalties, incentives, strategically-designed regulations (which can be tightened or relaxed according to priorities), etc.

  77. PGlenn says:

    @C. Clavin: I’m not an economist, but I thought that, from a Keynesian perspective, “spending gobs of money for no reason” was just as good as spending it for reasons (e.g. classic example of paying men to dig holes and then fill them back up again). Moreover, why would Republican Keynesian projects always be so wrong, and/or turn out so poorly, while Democrat Keynesian projects are right, and/or turn out well?

    What specifically was it about Obama’s stimulus that was effective – “prevented the second depression” – while GWB’s failed so miserably?

    Also, if Sarbanes-Oxley is making possible to mete out justice that otherwise would not have been possible, how is it functioning in terms of regulating the economy?

  78. @PGlenn:

    If they have picked winners on energy it isn’t with much force or agreement behind it. Electricity, for instance, is mostly provided by government granted monopolies in this country. They have a great variety of strategies, state to state, and monopoly to monopoly. The monopoly grants are ancient now. No one alive “earned” them. It seems kind of natural to me that consumer-voters would shape their policy. Why not, they are “giving” the company a lock on the market. Every executive of the company knew that going in.

    California has been kind of hit and miss, to say the least, but I think one thing that makes us strong is that utilities have been encouraged to get a varied power portfolio in place. When I get an “energy content” card in the mail it includes nuclear, natural gas, coal, geothermal, solar and wind.

    That might cost us some small amount per KwH, but it makes us more robust. That is, when Enron isn’t yanking the system around on a leash.

  79. BTW, I had gone from “reservations” to “tacit acceptance” on nuclear. Then Fukushima happened. Now I’m negative again.

    I find the pro-nuclear people who ignore the cascade of Fukushima failures to be pretty scary, actually. It was not just wall height or generator placement. Fukushima showed that public utilities are not equipped to be fast nor honest when dealing with a nuclear accident.

  80. BTW2, when they call your neighboring nuclear plan “troubled,” is that a good sign?

    he operator of California’s troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant told state regulators the damaged reactors may restart by the end of the year, according to documents obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

    That from OC’s premier conservative newspaper.

  81. Craigo says:

    @PGlenn:

    I’m not an economist, but I thought that, from a Keynesian perspective, “spending gobs of money for no reason” was just as good as spending it for reasons

    You pretty clearly thought wrong.

    What specifically was it about Obama’s stimulus that was effective – “prevented the second depression” – while GWB’s failed so miserably?”

    It’s well established that tax cuts, while generally stimulative, are less effective than spending.

  82. Scott O says:

    @PGlenn: The idea of Keynesian economics is to stimulate the economy during recessions with deficit spending and to repay the debt when the economy improves. The Republican version of Keynesian economics is to do the exact opposite it seems.

  83. PGlenn says:

    Keynes:

    If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with banknotes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coalmines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of the repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth also, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is.

  84. Scott O says:

    @PGlenn: The treasury could also drop money over the land from helicopters. What’s your point? Are you under the impression that Keynes thought this should be done continuously?

  85. Anderson says:

    Do you really think that the Hispanic voters of California will vote for Romney if the unemployment rate goes higher.

    Yes, Obama can certainly count on the massive Hispanic populations of Ohio and Virginia to win this one easily.

    OTOH, the Tsar displays wishful thinking at the other extreme:

    McCain ’08 states + IN and NC + FL, OH and VA + NH

    The odds of Obama’s losing OH *and* VA *and* NH *and* FL are not good. Romney needs a perfect storm, and unless the economy runs out of gas, the safer money is with Obama.

    …I occasionally wonder about commenters who name themselves after despicable or pathetic people. Nicholas I was an awful man, and Nicholas II was just pitiful.

  86. Barry says:

    @jan: “You’re right about turnout — that is key, in any election, as well as the enthusiasm registering in each party. But as to the lame ‘voter suppression’ meme, because of tightening up voter ID laws, that is pure partisan BS. ”

    I agree. Pure GOP partisan BS. And how many confessions have we seen from GOP officials that the purpose is voter suppression?

  87. Barry says:

    @jan: “If people don’t have a clue as to how to get an ID, then that should be the mission of both dem and republican operatives — to help them get such an ID. In doing so, it will not only dove-tail into the perimeters of encouraging a non-fraudulent election, but will also help these ‘fringe’ people expedite other legal and bureaucratic matters in their lives. It’s a win/win challenge for all.”

    And…………………….the Scott administration is shutting down DMV offices in Dem areas of Wisconsin.

    ‘ encouraging a non-fraudulent election, ‘

    The only fraudulent elections we’ve seen are after the GOP purged voter rolls.

  88. Jay Dubbs says:

    I see now that Romney has returned to Boston, the campaign has set Jan free again.

  89. jamie says:

    This is over..unless the Obama camp screws it up and they are a campaign(well oiled machine ),unlike Romneys group and Romney who just have weekly gaffes…the tax return issue has sealed the deal and Romneys negatives on likeability are souring, do to Bain and the tax returns..Obama is up to a 76% chance to win by the most accuarate pollster in the world nate silver..this is just about over..the popular vote will be be close ,,but for Romney to win it will be a major upset ..Like it or not ,the tax return issue will make this a blowout