Despite all of the hype and the seemingly smooth re-election tonight, this race was by no means fascinating. (The most fascinating part of the race was the money being poured in to manipulate the electorate.)
Obama, it is worth remembering, is an imperfect candidate. He had wind at his back in 2008 and came into office with bold ideas for the future (that's how Democrats win). Whatever he accomplished under his first term hardly resonated with the entire electorate because of poor messaging and the buffer of the electorate's emotional economic exhaustion clouding logical arguments. This is why there was such a widely reported "enthusiasm gap."
There was a great opportunity for a skilled Republican to tap into the electorate's pain and come out as a leader like Bill Clinton did to George Bush, Sr. Mitt Romney, an out-of-touch, disconnected, businessman is no Bill Clinton.
I always say, you can not win over emotion with logic.
Romney tried to play the logic debate against Obama's record. If the GOP had a candidate who could connect deeply with voters I think we would be in a very different place today.
Kudos to the ground team working for Obama. They did an extraordinary job on this race.
Obama now has an opportunity to rise up and lead. No more blaming the media for not reporting his successes. No more blaming Congress for refusing to compromise.
Without a second term election to worry about, President Obama can now be bold. He can now advocate to the electorate to push Congress to support him.
And just because I can....
Obama did not need Ohio to win, but Romney did. The strategy was simple for Obama: defend.
And how did he defend? He hammered home one of his biggest successes during his first term: the auto industry success.
This message along with the message of Romney being anti-American business, resonated well with northeastern Ohio, close to the rust belt.
Mathematically, there was a split between the populated areas and the rural areas -- leaving those sought after independent womens votes.
In the end, as a woman with womanly instinct, I believe that Romney's disconnect with women lost him those votes.
Regardless, Romney never even made it to Ohio. He lost his foundation states before we could even factor in Ohio.
Just as we all have heard at this point, no Republican has won without Ohio! And...President Obama won Ohio.
11:18pm CBS, NBC, CNN & MSNBC call the Presidency for Obama.
AP yet to report
We're still not counting the rest of the blue states. Game. Over.
65% reporting in Ohio
Compare the more populated to the less populated regions to the map of counties yet to be reported. Romney holds strong in the rural areas, but cannot overcome the lead Obama has in the more populated counties.
Ohio is the only path to victory for Romney. But to get to Ohio, he must get Florida.
The five largest counties left to be counted in Florida are ALL Democratic leaning counties.
-Broward, Osceola, Miami-Dade, Volusia and Orange
It would be mathematically impossible for Romney to win Florida at this point.
Keep in mind: while Obama seems to be the likely electoral winner at 10pm, the popular vote is close.
While it's still WAY too soon to analyze the popular vote...
I can confirm one thing: there is a huge generational and cultural divide in this country. If Obama is re-elected, as a 2nd term President he has the opportunity to make bold decisions that could unite and lead this country into the future.
Right now, I believe, there are silent generational wars dividing this nation. Sure Congress is stuck and Obama can't push anything through Congress -- but the President is the one leader who can lead the public to push Congress. This is something Obama was not very effective at doing in his first term. I'm hoping he learned his lesson and will be bold leading the public to back him and push Congress to jump on board.
Both James Carville & Alex Castellanos on CNN just echoed my 10:05pm post.
Game over for Romney.
While Florida looks close right now at 85% reporting, if you zoom in on the counties, you'll see that nearly half of Democratic leaning Miami-Dade County has not reported. I call this state for Florida. And with that PolicyMic readers, Romney has an impossible path to victory.
US Senate - Ohio with 33% reporting
Sherrod Brown: 52% Declared Winner
Josh Mandel: 43%
This is why I don't trust exit polls (all around the same reporting % but big differences):
With only 24% reporting
I find this fascinating:
In 2008, exit polls in Ohio had Obama winning independents by 12% (Obama: 52%, McCain: 44%)
Right now, in Ohio Obama is losing among independents by 16% (Obama: 40%, Romney: 56%)
There are several theories on the psychology of appealing to independents. One is that independents tend to be anti-incumbent and at least today, slightly skeptical of government. This is where Romney's message played big in Ohio (similar numbers in Virginia).
What does that mean? It means that in 2008 Obama was challenging the establishment and grasped independents and his base. In 2012, it means that Obama likely got MORE of his base out to vote (unions!) since he is winning Ohio without the independents he had in 2008 and a decrease in Democratic voter registration in Ohio.
I find this fascinating.
Meanwhile back at the ranch...
US Senate Race - Ohio: 8% reporting
Sherrod Brown, 941,365 votes: 56%
Josh Mandel 678,425 votes: 40%
Scott Rupert 74,654 votes: 4%
Virginia is a foundational block for Romney's strategy. If Romney loses Virginia, Romney cannot get to Ohio. Case Closed.
Polls were moving in Obama's favor in Virginia over the past week, and it seems like Virginia is tilting towards him tonight based on county trends this week.
Again, too early to tell, but if Romney does not win Virginia, the math is not in his favor tonight.
Again, too early to tell, but if Romney does not win Florida, the math is not in his favor tonight.
And, if that's the case, Ohio is irrelevant to either candidate.
Ohio Election Results: LIVE Election Updates on Who is Winning This Swing State
It's fairly early, but keep in mind that if Mitt Romney loses Florida and Ohio, he's out.
If Mitt Romney loses North Carolina and Ohio, he's out.
If Mitt Romney loses Virginia and Ohio, he's out.
Pay attention to Florida.
Ohio with 22% reporting:
Florida with 60% reporting:
Meet Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. By the end of the night, if Ohio truly DOES matter, he'll definitely be a trending topic on twitter.
Latest report from Huffington Post Elections:
NOTE: Only 1% reporting
As polls close almost an hour ago in Ohio, this is what we know based on a CBS's Ohio exit poll:
Identified Democrats: 39%
Identified Republicans: 30%
Identified Independents or Other: 31%
Of Independents & Others:
Obama: 55 %
*Women make up 51% of Ohio electorate
If it comes down to Ohio, it really comes down to those 200,000 provisional ballots. And, then it comes down to one man: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Provisional ballots are essentially a special type of ballot. If you lacked an ID, went to the wrong polling location, decided to show up to your poll after requesting an absentee ballot, you would cast a provisional ballot which would be put aside to be counted later. Then, after the election, those ballots would be analyzed as to whether they were eligible or not. Each state sets different regulations.
This is where it gets tricky. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted set strict regulations arguably on the edge of voter suppression. He sent out absentee ballot registration letters to everyone in the state. If an Ohio voter registered for an absentee but later decided to show up at the polls, under his new regulation, that voter's vote was no longer eligible.
Previously courts struck down a state law restricting early voting on the last three days before Election day, but the US Supreme Court knocked it down. The problem: this law confused voters and increased early voting lines up to Election Day.
Regardless, Ohio's 200,000 provisional ballots will not be counted until November 17th. Yes, you read that right.
Remeber Katherine Harris? Here's Katherine Harris 2.0/
Some of the social media "robo calling" going out targeted at Ohio. Note, this is untrue:
7:55 pm ET
Richard Trompka, President of AFL-CIO, tweeted this today. In such a tumultuous year for unions, could they play a role in a potential Ohio win for Obama?
For those in line ANYWHERE while polls close, you still have the right to vote. Stay in line. There are reports on twitter that people are being told to get out of line because the polls closed at 7:30pm.
Note: Exit polls are hardly reliable, but based on CNN's exit polls, Obama is leading in Florida and Ohio. Based on my theory, if Romney loses Florida, Virginia or North Carolina (he needs all three) he will not get to Ohio.
7:30pm -POLLS CLOSE IN OHIO
What happens if Romney wins all of his key battleground states and gets to Ohio?
Ohio has 18 electoral votes. It is a culturally diverse state. Obama has an edge in northern, rust belt Ohio where he’s campaigned on his auto industry message. Romney has an edge in southern, coal producing Ohio where he’s campaigned on clean energy.Ohio is one big metaphor for the entire campaign: the fight is over the middle of Ohio.
All that investment in campaign time in Ohio was worth it for the candidates. Turnout has already been reported high. While Obama doesn't need to win Ohio, he needed to campaign there to defend Ohio from Mitt Romney’s win (as he did in other battleground states like Florida and Virginia where Romney had a slight edge last week).
While Real Clear Politics has averaged up the main polls and has Obama up in Ohio, it’s still close enough that any voter suppression or fraud and legal battles could take Ohio from Obama.
The other big factor is the unusually high number of provisional ballots cast in Ohio. I’ve yet to find out why Ohio has an average of 200,000 provisional ballots, but if Ohio is the state everyone’s watching tonight, we may have to wait a few weeks to hear the results. Counting provisional ballots is an arduous process and based on the legal battles over reading provisional ballots, expect a fight.
Earlier I wrote about how Ohio could be less important than the media is projecting it to be. That does not mean it is not relevant. The key point I made was that Ohio was the only avenue for Mitt Romney to win. And for Ohio to be so, Romney must first get there. Based on last weeks polls, pre (presumed) Obama Sandy bump, Romney may very well be unable to even get to Ohio.
1. Democratic voter turnout is low. The only job the Obama camp had to do in this final week was keep undecided voters that were leaning towards Obama and get those Democratic and Obama leaning voters out to vote. There are already reports of robo calls, fueled by shady dark money groups, telling Democratic voters that their polling place or election day has changed. Obama’s legal team is fully armed to fight back, but it may be too late if those targeted voters come within the margin needed for Obama to win in that state.
2. Voter suppression and fraud. While as I suggested earlier, the margin Romney leads in his target battleground states is too low for him to win based on undecided likely voter leanings -- those margins are still small enough that any voter suppression and fraud, or provisional ballot legal battles (in the case of Ohio) would make those states a draw. Simply put: Romney’s lead in battleground states is very low; for him to win it, Democratic voter suppression and fraud would have to play a factor.
Now, say Romney does pull off a win in all of the states that he needs (because he needs all of them) to get to Ohio. Then that would mean all eyes on Ohio.
Several widely cited controversial swing state polls came out this week, which were taken last week before Hurricane Sandy. Without a doubt, Hurricane Sandy will make a difference in this election giving President Obama an opportunity to show leadership in a time of crisis. Since the election is just a few hours away, there is no accurate way to project the hurricane's influence, but we can use last week’s polling data as a guide in evaluating the post-Sandy effect on undecided likely voters in toss up states where Romney had a slight edge last week. (Logically assuming that Barack Obama’s negatives will not go up.)
Currently, the media has put all of its attention on Ohio, playing out the electoral count projection game in front of American voters. This is because up until last week, unlike Obama, if Romney did not carry Ohio, there was no path to victory for him. But for Ohio to actually matter, Romney first needed to have a strong lead in key swing states (Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina), specifically tilting their likely undecided voters in his favor. According to RealClearPolitics, after this week, Romney may no longer have that slight lead.
If Sandy has no effect on Obama’s favorability on these undecideds, and Romney can keep his slight lead in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, then Ohio would still be in play for him. If Obama's favorability does rise then not only is Ohio not as important as we assumed, but Romney has absolutely no path to win this election.
I can wholeheartedly state that Romney will not maintain his lead in the key swing states he needs to win to make Ohio count. This is due to two factors that affect each other:
• When you look at undecided likely voters in Florida, Virginia, and North Carolina, all of which Romney needs to win to make Ohio count for him, the margin of error is less than those that lean democratic.
• Each of these states has been hit by natural disasters in the past, and Obama’s strength of leadership shown this week will play well with those undecideds who lean Democratic (not to mention other battleground states like Colorado, where Obama already holds a slight lead with undecideds). So Democratic turnout is key for Obama in each of these states, but he only needs to take one of these states to kill Romney's chances. The percentage of Democratic-leaning undecideds is higher than the margin of error in Florida, thus canceling Romney's edge last week in the state.
Alternately, Obama has several paths to victory. Therefore, the burden right now is on Romney to keep Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and of course, Ohio, to win. Romney is in a tough position. He does not have Obama's opportunity to display leadership in the midst of Sandy without looking opportunistic (even Chris Christie won't welcome him with New Jersey), and also may appear out-of-touch continuing to campaign against Obama.
Romney's strategy over the past three days of continued campaigning — which is smart — has been to steer the conversation back to the economy, stay positive and to focus on how he will lead the country in the future.
We are down to the wire. I am highly skeptical as to whether Mitt Romney can swing those Democratic-leaning likely undecided voters with finesse to pull off a victory in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio. The only thing that could stand in the way of Obama winning one of the four battleground states Romney needs to win is voter fraud and suppression. Given the tremendous legal support the DNC and Obama campaign have invested in this race, I see that highly unlikely.
I’m no Nate Silver data genius, but at this point the numbers are pretty clear. I’m calling this race for Obama.