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Americans hit the polls today with a strong Obama bias, according to the vast majority of polling being conducted.
I am predicting a solid win by 281-303 Electoral College votes for President Obama, and a loss by 235-257 for Romney, based on the latest available poll numbers. The popular vote will trend towards Obama by a margin not exceeding 2%. Close, but hardly 2004.
I defer to Michael Tomasky at The Daily Beast, who comments:
"First, let me start with this somewhat astonishing (I think) observation. The numbers I’m about to give you? I could have given you this exact same Electoral College prediction in June. Or March. Or January. Or probably even last year. For all the twists and turns, all the debates, all the news developments expected and unexpected, the basic math of this election hasn’t changed barely a whit to my eye. It was always close and still is. The electoral map always favored Obama and still does. It’s almost as if we could have had this election months ago, sparing the nation billions of dollars and a lot of agita."
He’s right, of course, which we can easily determine by looking at the latest polling numbers. Let’s see a state-by-state breakdown of the race:
Taking the indisputable states where each candidate has a strong lead brings President Obama to 201 electoral college votes, and Romney to 191. That’s a close race! Looking at the numbers, though, you see a clear path to victory for Obama that closely mirrors his 2008 win.
This year’s battleground states are Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, and New Hampshire. Despite the media perception of a close race, these can be pretty easily divvied up among the two candidates.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are all going for Obama. As Tomasky mentions, these states have gone Democratic since the election of President Clinton. The average at RealClearPolitics puts Obama up by 3.8 points in Pennsylvania, 4.0 in Michigan, and 4.2 in Wisconsin. These are not good margins for the Republican campaigns.
RCP places Nevada at +2.8 and Colorado +1.5 for Obama, respectively. Most polls are calling both for Obama, but I’ll be generous and call Colorado a toss-up (Tomasky gives this one to Obama, but I think it’s too close to call). It goes unmarked on my map.
I’m going to throw Romney a bone and give him North Carolina and Florida; North Carolina due to his strong polling lead (+3) and Florida for a slight polling lead (+1.5) and a slew of electoral malfeasances targeting disproportionately Democratic and minority voters. I lived in Florida for four years, and this is not a state that takes its voter suppression efforts or dirty tricks lightly. In such a close election, these abuses will throw the state for the Republicans. Unlike 2000, though, the remainder of the race isn’t close enough to allow even a major Florida upset to change the outcome.
Virginians are leaning Obama so slightly that it could go either way. Toss-up.
Iowa and Ohio are going for Obama. RCP places them at +2.4 and +2.9 respectively. Yesterday even Rasmussen, which has been the most favorable polling source for the Romney campaign, announced the race as a dead heat. Other surveys put Obama at between +1 and +5. I’m calling a clear lead in both states for the president, with Romney playing catchup too late.
Additionally, the president takes New Hampshire with a clear lead of +2.4. That puts it into reasonably comfortable territory. While New Hampshire voted for George W. Bush in 2000, the electorate there voted for Obama by 10% in 2008. That gives him an astonishing 7 or 8 points of wiggle room before he even has to worry – relatively safe by any calculation.
Even with Colorado and Virginia as toss-ups, the ever-crucial Ohio takes Obama to 281 to Romney’s 235. Even giving Romney Colorado and Virginia takes him, at most, to 257. Obama is the clear victor in this race.
A moment of fairness for Romney: he had to balance his way through a schizophrenic primary race, appease a base which loathed his signature accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts, (especially RomneyCare), all while somehow managing to reach out to independent voters and establishing a clear new vision for America. Having to repeatedly debate against clowns like Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain reduced Romney to the level of a begrudgingly accepted ‘inevitable’ candidate, which no doubt dampened enthusiasm by many independents. The GOP wasted critical time they should have been spending building up a strong nominee. After that rocky start, early and aggressive negative campaigning by the Obama team forced him to take the defense, turning what could have been a razor-thin race into what appears to be a substantial Obama lead.
Still, Romney lost this race on his merits. It’s hard to think of another Democratic administration as vulnerable as Obama’s other than Jimmy Carter’s. While unemployment is under 8%, that number is unacceptable to most Americans. Romney’s case that unemployment would be lower in a Republican administration was undermined by a series of bizarre gaffes and serious blunders, including writing off half the country as “dependent” and announcing that “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Americans justifiably reacted to the extreme comments about rape made by the Republican legislative candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock with the harshest criticism; attempting to refocus on women’s issues, Romney’s best rejoinder was the now-roundly-mocked “they brought me binders full of women” remark. And despite prolific fundraising – coming within $30 million of Obama’s $874.6 million campaign budget – Mitt Romney’s campaign was rather meek and cautious in the final month, which is unlikely to dampen enthusiasm among the Republican base, but equally unlikely to rally new independents to Romney’s cause.
The late-breaking surge Romney desperately needed is not materializing, replaced instead by last-minute revelations that he used his Mormon church as a tax shelter.
So, don’t listen to Dick Morris. This election was close, but has spread out to a robust Obama lead. There is no good news for Romney at this point. Obama will be re-elected.
1:56 AM: A reference to the killing of Osama bin Laden and Hurricane Sandy. Obama not holding back on what he sees as his greatest accompishments.
1:54 AM: "You voted for action...Your jobs, not ours." A clear shot at any future obsturctionist Congress. Whether they will take any notice remains to be seen.
1:51 AM: Obama just dropped a major nod toward the "Fiscal Cliff;" i.e. the mandatory cuts that came with the Debt Ceiling deal. He is probably not looking forward to that legislative battle.
1:43 AM: "America's Happy Warrior." Perhaps the Onion's version of Joe Biden has leaked into reality?
1:41 AM: Obama opening with a sweeping statement towards the progress of the nation. A clear sign that he wants to recapture the mandate momentum from his first Presidential victory.
Nate Silver just dropped the polling mic and walked off the stage everybody.
12:59 AM: So the Romney campaign just decided to repackage his stump speech.
12:55 AM: The Romney emerges
12:46 AM: Drudge still echoing a "split" race. Come on, now.
12:44 AM: Fox News coverage seems to be leaning towards a Republican refusal to concede. Unexpected.
12:41 AM: According to Fox News, Mitt Romney didn't prepare a concession speech. Awwwkwaaarrrd.
12:32 AM: Even Shepard Smith on Fox News is criticizing Romney's late conession speech. This is quite frankly starting to become embarrassing and ungraceful for the Romney campaign.
12:28 AM: Romney has still not started his concession speech. The first Red Bull of his life must of hit him harder then he expected.
12:22 AM Fox News has the feeling of a wake in their post Obama reelection coverage.
11:57 PM: Nevada officially for Obama.
11:52 PM: I'd just like to note that Rich Lowry happens to also be blinking approximately once a second.
11:50 PM: Rich Lowry is blaming Obama for making Romney "radioactive." Okay, what do you propose as an alternate yet simultaneously method of campaigning?
11:40 PM: The Romney campaign is refusing to concede Ohio. "The Romney campaign does not see this as over."
11:31 PM: "Dragged through mud is the understatement of the year." - Shepherd Smith on Romney. I'm not sure what world he's living in.
11:24 PM: Addendum to the last update: Even more telling that Unskewed Polls is deferring from posting any updated polls. Nate Silver might be a girly man, but apparently he has a more robust understanding of basic statistical models.
11:23 PM: Just wanted to remind you guys that Unskewed Polls is still calling a Romney victory, in the face of all evidence and possibly the fabric of reality itself.
11:17 PM: Overheard at party: "Now we can all go to bed early, and have victory dreams!"
11:15 PM: Obama campaign more or less officially calling it for the President. At 262 electoral college rates-- sorry, Romney!
Fox News just called Obama the victor.
11:14 PM: NBC JUST CALLED THE ELECTION FOR OBAMA.
11:12 PM: Ed Rollins on NBC: We failed to convince people, but I shouldn't say that.
11:08 PM: Obama up 36k in Florida with 94.2% reporting. I've said this is over before, and I'm going to say it's over again. Calling the race: virtual landslide for Obama.
11:00 PM: The night is slowly winding down; just wanted to emphasize these exit poll results:
This is a clear referendum on the kind of society we're going to uphold going forward: are we going to be (in terms of governance) in favor of a multicultural, dynamic society, or a conservative, status-quo dominated one?
Romney had a chance to propose an alternate vision to the country, and failed to appeal to the majority of the country. Was it bad campaigning? Bad messaging? Or was his vision simply incompatible with the sensibilities of future-thinking American voters?
10:58 PM: Fairfax County votes (pro-Obama) in VA trickling in. Obama is down by about 30k, but the gap is closing.
10:45 PM: Obama 49.9%, Romney 49.2% in Florida, with 93.3% reporting.
10:36 PM: Massachussetts just legalized medical marijuana.
Coincidentally, NBC aired this hilarious infographic earlier:
10:30 PM: North Carolina is still "too close to call" (NBC) with a slight Obama lead, but I'm still calling it for Romney. It's a Republican state bombarded by Republican ads for the past two months.
10:27 PM: Huffpo reporting a tie at 163/163. Let's be real: the vast majority of the uncounted electoral college votes are in battleground or Obama-dominated states. This is over.
10:20 PM: NBC says 80% white Evangelicals for Romney.
10:06 PM: NBC just calling the Missouri Senate race for Claire Mccaskill. I've never seen a campaign get destroyed by one comment so quickly as the Todd Akin campaign did.
Not a sign of confidence.
9:58 PM: Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford on Fox News commenting on the possibility of the electoral college voting for Obama while the popular vote is for Romney as something that needs to be looked at. Wondering what he thinks about the 2000 electoral result.
9:50 PM: With the calling of New Hampshire for Obama, it must be a quiet night in the Romney campaign. Having served him well in the primary, providing him with a great win after Iowa, this must be a devastating blow to him.
9:50 PM: One of the major unsung stories of the night is many of the state results matching up with Nate Silver's presdictions. Despite the howling of pundits, the numbers coming in from states such as Florida have shown that his model will be a predictive force to be dealt with in future elections.
9:40 PM: Shephard Smith claims that Obama has reached voters that no one has ever been able to reach before. I'm calling that as dubious-at-best. More likely: Florida vote suppression efforts helped convince an awful lot of people this was an important election.
9:38 PM: Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has defeated Republican Josh Mandel in the Ohio Senate race, the Associated Press reports.
9:36 PM: Fox News calling PA for Obama.
9:35 PM: Joe Donnelly beats Richard Mourdock 48-48%. Using his own logic, a gift from God.
9:32 PM: Fox News showing Obama / Romney tied at 153 electoral college votes.
9:26 PM: This was posted on Reddit as "Obama reading Wild Things," though this might as well be the President recieving poll results.
9:25 PM: This one is coming to a close, quickly. Polls showing Obama is way up in Ohio (Russia Today reports 54.1% for the President) - making Florida irrelevant. Again, the difference in this race is between a landslide and a solid win. So much for Ayn Rand.
9:18 PM: Tammy Baldwin wins in Wisconsin, becoming the first openly gay Senator.
9:17 PM: Currently a 193 vote differential in Florida, according to NBC. Richard Roeper called Pennsylvania for Obama as well.
9:16 PM: Karl Rove on NBC - presumably to explain why his predictions were an order of magnitude off the actual results.
9:15 PM: Pennsylvania called for Obama by NBC.
9:15 PM: NBC is calling Massachussetts for Elizabeth Warren; GOP pretty boy Scott Brown is down and out. This is not a good night for the Massachussetts Republican Party.
9:13 PM: The Onion with another scoop: we're invading Iran, right now.
9:10 PM: Watching Fox now. Shepard Smith talking about the 'enthusiasm gap' and the 'turnout surge' - with another Fox News announcer lamenting that the Romney campaign expected a 'more white electorate.'
9:08 PM: NEFARIOUS VOTER FRAUD EXPOSED
9:07 PM: "I'm so excited for speeches!"
9:04 PM: NBC sees Obama leading at 50% with 72% of the vote counted. One more hour to count votes. If this lead holds, then it's not just a loss for Romney - it's an Obama landslide.
9:02 PM: Too early to call in Arizona. (Really?) With 270 to go, Obama is at 114 and Romney at 154 electoral college votes.
9:00 PM: Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin all being reported as too early to call by NBC. Stunningly, Obama is winning New York.
8:55 PM: Tom is back! In other news, these Virginia numbers are worrying for Obama - HuffPo is reporting 54% for Romney in Virginia with 40% reporting. (Keep in mind that traditionally GOP districts puzzingly tend to be counted first; partially reflecting the fact that those districts tend to be better off economically.)
8:43 PM: In Kentucky, one of the state's Democratic congressmen has lost to GOP opposition. Local Louisville news stations are reporting that Ben Chandler (D) has been unseated by Andy Barr (R). The Republicans are set to gain a seat in the U.S. House.
8:41 PM: Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy has defeated Republican Linda McMahon in the Connecticut Senate race, the Associated Press reports. Murphy's win will keep the seat in the Democratic column — he will succeed independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, who caucused with Democrats.
8:32 PM: I have to run up the block to deliver whiskey to an election party (where, coincidentally, there is live TV). Editor Chris Miles will be handling this in the interim! Keep on, you know, paying attention.
8:26 PM: Big news from WSJ Reporter Neil King:
Looks like Democrats have finally gotten the hang of negative campaigning! And more importantly, using that to rally younger voters.
Increasingly this looks like a solid win for Obama, rather than a squeaker.
8:24 PM: Welcome to New York, where you can vote freely for a third party, unless you're a Republican.
8:18 PM: Fellow PolicyMic pundit Lakshmi Sarah writes about the massive voter suppression efforts still underway across the country. To quote:
"The two men, described as "thug-looking," tall and Caucasian with shaved heads, were wearing all black with dark sunglasses and standing in front of the polling place at 134 Hemlock Avenue with their arms crossed.
They carried a binder which they claimed had names and addresses of eligible voters, [voting supervisor Marilyn] Tinderholt said. They were also asking voters to show their IDs, which is not a requirement to vote in the state of California, said volunteer Debra Prime.
I think I speak for this entire generation when I say:
8:15 PM: With 18% of precincts reporting, Romney is in the lead at 50.6% in Florida. Too early to call definitively, but I'm still predicting a Romney win in the state - which will not matter.
8:11 PM: Why is Guy Fawkes trending?
8:08 PM: With less than 1% of the results in, HuffPo reports Obama ahead in Ohio at 61.8% to Mitt's 37.1%. Yes, people, these numbers will change.
8:00 PM: Another unsurprising statistic: 3 out of 4 Romney supporters in Ohio blame Obama for the weak economy, while 90% of Obama supporters blame Bush.
7:55 PM: Fox, unsurprisingly, is still calling Ohio "too close to call".
7:52 PM: Our friends from across the pond are catching up with our electoral college system a little late:
7:50 PM: Today in PA, ladies and gentlemen:
7:48 PM: For those wondering how to take an exit poll, simply walk out your door and scream "WHO'D YOU VOTE FOR!?!"
Results may vary based on the partisan makeup of your neighborhood, as well as the strength of your voice.
The night may yet yield untold, delicious surprises for the intrepid election-watcher. Keep watching.
7:23 PM: CNN just dropped a bombshell! Mitt Romney's internal polling puts him at 5% behind in Ohio. He can't win without it.
7:22 PM: Whites in Virginia appear to be breaking 65% for Romney, accounting for much of his competitiveness in that state.
7:17 PM: Virginia is neck and neck, according to exit polling - evenly split at 49-49%, despite early polling confidence that the state was leaning towards Obama.
Not looking so good for Romney in NH, PA, MI or Nevada.
7:12 PM: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie blasts 'know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers' for criticizing him for taking time off the campaign trail to, you know, take care of a huge natural disaster in his state.
Expect, beginning very late tonight through tomorrow, for Republicans to begin blaming Chris Christie for Romney losing the election (in addition to the cognitively dissonant but equally vehement accusations that Obama stole the election / Mitt Romney wasn't conservative enough).
7:05 PM: Anyone who disputes that the chaos at the polls in Florida isn't good for Romney is an idiot, a party hack, or both.
7:03 PM: Some truly introspective thoughts from Twitter:
6:59 PM: One minute!
6:56 PM: Rasmussen still re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, claiming a 49-48% Romney lead in the popular vote. Poll reports beginning at 7 PM will start to tell us whether the Rasmussen firm will have business in 4 years.
6:47 PM: Terrifyingly infinite outcomes for this election in alternate universes, reports the Onion.
6:44 PM: Electoral Protection Commission sources reporting that there may have been an unpublicized, unlawful voter purge, based on the volume of voter complaints in Pennsylvania. No surprise there, especially with the implementation of Voter ID laws in the state, and recent efforts by Republicans to retarget the (indisputably) blue state.
6:40 PM: Mother Jones sniffing out voter fraud and suppression in Pennsylvania: no parking for Democrats?
6:35 PM: Azi Paybarah at Capital New York has a great recollection of what 2008's election looked like in Harlem. Personally can confirm long, long lines to vote this year as well. In other news, polls starting to report. Updates shortly.
6:16 PM: Ohio Governor John Kasich's faith that Romney will win Ohio flies in the face of all the exit polling being done today.
6:09 PM: Early exit polls suggest half of voters still blame Bush for the state of the country, which matches up pretty squarely with what Team Obama has been insisting about the economy.
6:04 PM: Drudge now calling it a "boom" for Obama. Quick change of pace there.
6:00 PM: More evidence Obama is stealing the election, am I right?
5:47 PM: Drudge is calling the race 'tight' with Romney winning NC and FL, and Obama taking OH, NH, PA, MI, and NV.
For reference, that's not a toss-up. That's an Obama win.
5:41 PM: Check out this ridiculous sign posted by a t-shirt store near the Obama rally:
3:47 PM: A little late starting my live updates, but you got me for the next 8 hours, Internet!