Above the fold I will offer what are, for now my predictions.
EV 347- 191. The states Obama won last time now have 359 EVs. Subtract IN and 2nd CD of NE takes you to 347. Obama holds all other states, NC and FL and CO narrowly. He narrowly loses AZ.
Popular Vote currently thinking 51-47-2. I note Romney has ceiling in most battlegrounds of 47 or 46. I presume 2% to minor parties. If that goes down, it could be only a 3 point margin, but I expect Obama to be >50%, thus being 1st(wrong) 2nd President since Eisenhower (also Reagan) to reach a majority of popular vote twice.
Senate 56-42-2 (independents Sanders & King, both voting with Dems) - in other words, we hold ALL of our seats, even NE (late movement towards Kerry) and pick off ME, IN, NV, MA & AZ. I am least confident on Tester holding his seat, but think the presence of a Libertarian Senate candidate may be enough to enable him to hang on.
House - we net 16 - we win 23 current Republican seats but lose 7 current Dem seats - Good news, we defeat at least 3 (and maybe all 4) of Walsh, King, Bachmann and West.
Go below the cheese doodle for some explanation of my rationale.
Let me do some state specifics first.
First, let's take OH, which is key.
There is no doubt about the superiority of the Obama ground game. If you were not aware, most of the organizing for the repeal of SB 5 was done with OFA folks very much involved, which probably helped in identifying voters who could also be turned to for the election. There is also Romney and the auto industry, which by now should be well understood at this site.
Next, North Carolina. My gut sense is that this is a state which OFA never left. The the ability to turn out early voters, the changes in registration with increasing numbers of people moving in from the more liberal areas of the North East, and the fact that the Obama campaign despite the lack of a late visit from the President has continued to advertise all are a part of my calculation. I also note that PPP has never had it as more than about a 1 point margin either way. I think in a situation that close the advantage is to Obama.
Next, Florida. The Hispanic vote in the state is decreasingly Cuban - the largest increase has been from Puerto Ricans, who tilt significantly D in their orientation. I am also hearing from people on the ground that early voting in the I-4 corridor shows significant improvement from Democrats over 4 years ago. I have seen figures from both Hillsborough County (Tampa) and Orange County (Orlando) with explanations of how much of an improvement this is. Despite attempts to restrict votes of groups that are heavily Democratic, it has resulted in something of a pushback that may actually have ginned up a greater willingness to vote than might otherwise have been there.
Next, some general comments.
First, the media idea of there being Romney momentum was overstated, although it did have the potential of driving the narrative. That momentum began to be blunted after the VP debate and was clearly gone with momentum moving back towards Obama BEFORE polling included date post-Sandy. Republicans are preparing to explain Romney's loss on the grounds of his momentum being stopped by Sandy, but that's baloney - they were already "expanding the map" before Sandy hit. why? Because they realized they had lost Nevada, and it was increasingly clear that they were going to lose OH, in which case the election was over unless they could flip a state not previously considered a battleground - WI. MN, MI, or PA.
The key day in this late process was Wednesday, with overwhelming polling data in the direction of Obama. On Thursday the talking heads were basically acknowledging the reality. The meme less frequently gave out the notion that Romney could catch up. This morning even Mark Halperin acknowledged that where Obama is going does not represent panic or concern on the part of his campaign, but is a blocking maneuver to prevent Romney from closing the gap. This has some meaning for final decisions, which i will explain below.
Most of the polling understates Latino participation. We know this. Latino Decisions has documented and explained it. We saw it clearly in NV in the Senate race in 2010, where final polls had Angle winning by 3 but Reid actually won by 5 - an 8 point differential. That clearly changes how we look at states like CO, NV, FL, and AZ, but increasingly matters in both VA and NC, albeit on a much smaller scale.
In the Senate, there is the further impact of statements by the likes of Mourdock and Akin. That actually flows somewhat into other races.
In the House, the Democrats will lose at least 5 seats they currently hold, and conceivably as many as 8. That makes it exceedingly hard to take control, and absent a national popular vote margin of 6 or more, control of the House remains out of reach.
But then there is this.
The late news has been helping Obama.
He has appeared Presidential - and bi-partisan - in his responding to Sandy.
Romney has taken a hit for his statements and advertisements on the auto industry, especially with the news of the pushback from Chrysler and GM.
And one must remember that Romney jumped in the polls after the 1st debate, but i think this is in part misinterpreted. Yes, he appeared somewhat reasonable, and thus acceptable as a President. Simply appearing on the stage with the incumbent and surviving always helps a challenger.
But for Romney, there was this - there were many who did not like him, but if they thought he could win, they would vote for him - because they hate Obama? Whatever the reason, if they come to believe that Romney cannot win, they may stay home, which has impact not only in the electoral college, but also in some close House and Senate races.
There is some evidence this is already happening. I commend to you this diary by Fair40, which points out how Romney's crowds are getting smaller.
I also note something Mike Allen of Politico said on Morning Joe this morning, about how Obama and Dems are actually running MORE ads than Romney and the Republicans, and the disparity in proportion of those ads which are negative. Checking his Political Playbok column, he said that from October 24-30 Obama ran 35,731 ads to 17,277 fro Romney. Even if you put in the outside groups for both candidates, the numbers are 79,089 to 64,945. Further, Romney's are 99% negative while Obama's are only 85% negative (among independent groups the Rs were 89% and the Ds were 87%). At this point voters are getting turned off to negative advertising because they have seen so much. A candidate really needs to make a positive closing argument. I find what I have seen from Romney in Virginia weak, whereas having Obama look into the camera and ask for people's vote is effective.
Then there is the matter of surrogates, both in person and in advertisements. Let's take those appearing on behalf of the tickets. I ask you simply, who makes a bigger difference, Bill Clinton or John McCain? I think that makes a difference: the Secretary in charge of explaining "s....." or the crotchety old man still bitter about his loss? Yes, you have Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, but I think 5 events by Bill Clinton in FL today more than offsets that. Then there is the Colin Powell endorsement, now featured in both TV and radio ads in battleground states - I am encountering them in Missouri. And then there are the #2s and the spouses. Personally I think Joe Biden comes across as far more effective than does Paul Ryan, even in things as silly as his doing a Top Ten with David Letterman last night, with a smile on his face. As for the spouses, the Dems have both out, the Repubs occasionally have Ann Romney out. Simply question, who helps more, Michelle or Ann? And then there is Jill, who is also effective on her own. I note the schedule for today, in which the Dems cover OH, WI, VA, PA, NC & FL, while the Repubs only cover OH, IA & CO. Mitt Romney is doing 2 events in OH, while Obama is doing 3 - and Clinton is doing FIVE in FL. I see the Dems with the pedals to the metal and I am not seeing that from the Republicans.
Finally, there are the job numbers that came out today. Yes, there is a small uptick in unemployment, from 7.8 to 7.9%. But that is not on what the media is focusing. Rather, it is the 171,00non-farm jobs created. This is well over the consensus prediction of 125,000. It adds to the sense of many people that the economy is getting better. And that may mean some undecided or unsure voters will be more likely to decide to keep the President in office.
I will lay out a bit more of my thinking in my tip jar.
Thanks for reading.