Election Crystal Ball

An NRO Symposium
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE collects some varied election predictions to mark Election Day 2012.

ROBERT ALT
Ohio has been evenly divided for so long that it is hard to remember a time when we were not in this interminable election season or when Ohio was not “in play” or tied. But fortune favors the bold, and momentum and a faltering economy favor the challenger. Governor Romney will pull out the win in Ohio — although I am less sure that this will be final on election night. Polls showing independents breaking two-to-one for Romney, a higher percentage of self-identified Democrats voting for Republicans than vice versa, and Republican voters showing greater enthusiasm as seen in the admittedly less-than-scientific examples of turnout to events — these all point to enough momentum to push Romney over the top. But by how much? I still think that this one is going to be very close. The latest data show approximately 230,000 absentee ballots that have not been returned, which, if postmarked by today, can arrive as late as ten days after the election. The margin of victory in 2008, a landslide by modern standards that no one expects to see repeated in this election, was 262,224 votes. So there is the very real possibility that we may be waiting ten days or more to get the final answer. To avoid litigious counting of absentee and provisional ballots in Ohio, the electoral map will need to expand, as Michael Barone and others have observed. 

— Robert Alt is president of Ohio’s Buckeye Institute.


RICHARD BROOKHISER
I haven’t made predictions since I lost $200 to Priscilla Buckley in a bet on the Electoral College in 1980. (I thought Reagan would win narrowly, she correctly predicted he would win big.)

Vote for your country.

 Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

BRIAN S. BROWN
Romney wins the Electoral College with room to spare — somewhere around 300 electors. All four marriage votes in the deepest of blue states (Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, and Maine) will be won by traditional-marriage supporters. This will happen even though supporters of same-sex marriage have outspent us by gargantuan amounts. 

If same-sex marriage does pull out a win in one or more of these states, we will hear a lot about it being a tipping-point election for gay marriage. Wiser heads will realize that you don’t have a tipping point by winning on ground most favorable to you. The reality will remain that protecting marriage wins, and it wins with larger percentages than Republican candidates receive in statewide elections.

In Minnesota and Iowa, Mitt Romney will defy expectations and score truly historic wins. A state with longest track record of voting for Democratic presidential candidates — nine election cycles — will vote for a Republican. The marriage amendment will be part of the reason.

In Iowa, Evangelicals will turn out in record numbers to defeat the one Supreme Court judge up for retention election, David Wiggins. They will also give the control of the state Senate to Republicans, finally allowing a constitutional-amendment vote to restore traditional marriage in that state. The energy and enthusiasm in support of defeating Wiggins and electing a pro-marriage state Senate will enable Romney to carry the state.

In a nation focused rightly on the presidential election, a quiet revolution will occur in New York. Out of the seven turncoat state senators who voted to redefine marriage, at least six will not be back next year. At least three of the four Republicans will be gone, and all of the Democrats will be as well — forced either to resign or not run again, or thrown out of office by constituents determined to hold them accountable for their vote to undermine marriage.

 Brian S. Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage.

S. E. CUPP
Being the pragmatist is no fun, but I have Obama winning in a squeaker: 270 to 268. I give Obama Ohio, Nevada, and Colorado; but Romney gets Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Florida. And here’s where I go most out on a limb: I give Romney Wisconsin. This is based less on polls and more on my experiences on the ground in those states over the past year. But the X factor here will be the Mormon ground game. It’s been hard to measure, but they could be influential in Colorado and Nevada, in which case Romney can lose another state or two and still win the election. To be honest, though, I have to imagine that some small part of Obama is actually hoping to lose. With the fiscal-cliff headache, an ongoing investigation into Libya that will not go away, and a progressive Left that will want Obama to make at least some advances on the broken promises of 2008, the next four years seem like a nightmare. For us and him. 

 S. E. Cupp is co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle.

CHARLES A. DONOVAN
Other than predicting to a tee the Republican gain of 63 House members in 2010, this writer makes no pretense to political-prognostication skill. That is particularly true of the House this time, where so little attention has been paid relative to the neck-and-neck presidential race and the bitter (as usual) Senate contests. So, bidding NRO to delete this post at its first opportunity on Wednesday, I see:

Mitt Romney wins the presidency, thanks to victory in Ohio and one to two other Midwestern surprises. The ground game of the Susan B. Anthony List, American Majority, the Republican party, and Cincinnati’s Citizens for Community Values, the latter of which has not met a media radar that it cannot fly under, saves the state with churchgoing turnout that surpasses even the turnout for Bush in 2004. Victory, however, may not be confirmed until December.

The U.S. Senate stays Democratic, with disappointments in Massachusetts, Montana, and in either the Hoosier State or Show Me State, but not both.

The U.S. House goes slightly more Republican.

Social issues outperform as the lead Republican statewide vote-getter in most states where abortion and natural marriage are on the ballot. Assisted suicide is rejected in Massachusetts.

The Republic staggers to its feet.

— Charles A. Donovan is president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

NOEMIE EMERY
Like Michael Barone, I think there’s a wave building the Democrats aren’t even aware of. It will make itself known pretty soon.

Noemie Emery is author of Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families.

DAVID FRENCH
With polls closer than in any presidential election in my lifetime, virtually any prediction is as much a function of gut instinct and wishful thinking as it is scientific methodology. To borrow a football analogy, we’ve got the ball on the one-yard line with enough time for one last play. Who’s going to fight the hardest for that last yard?

My gut tells me we’ll win, but I’m going by my gut because the polls seem to have convinced no one but Nate Silver that this election is already decided.

In a race this close on election eve, it feels fitting that Election Day will end as close as it began. So let’s throw a curve ball: Mitt Romney loses a state he has to win, but just as the MSNBC team begins its victory dance, David Axelrod realizes he has to shave his mustache. Why? A 269–269 tie, and the House selects Mitt Romney as POTUS while the Senate selects Joe Biden as VP — as Biden casts the deciding vote for himself.

Thus launches the Romney-Biden administration, where Mississippi Baptists begin 24-hour prayer chains for the health and safety of their new Mormon President.

 David French is co-founder of Evangelicals for Mitt.

MARK GOLDBLATT
Mitt Romney’s greatest hope in Tuesday’s election may be the inability of many would-be Obama voters to follow Green Eggs and Ham–level ballot instructions. The question is whether there are enough double votes, hanging chads, and “I wonder what this touch screen tastes like”s to put Romney over the top. My gut says no, but my brain says never underestimate the potential of Democrats to screw things up. The only certainty is that if Obama loses, the tinfoil hats will come out in legion, crying racism and claiming that Karl Rove, Diebold, and the Project for the New American Century stole the presidency from their guy.

Serious prediction:Obama loses the popular vote but carries the Electoral College 280–258. He gets impeached by the still-Republican House over the Benghazi fiasco but is acquitted in the Senate, on a bipartisan basis, because absolutely no one wants a President Biden.

 Mark Goldblatt is the author of Bumper Sticker Liberalism.

JOSHUA GREENMAN
For the record: I do not know what will happen.

 Joshua Greenman is opinion editor at the New York Daily News.

KRISTAN HAWKINS
I think the Democratic party is going to be surprised to learn that women aren’t a single-issue voting bloc and can see through the manipulative games played this election. I think they may be surprised to find out that millions of women resent being told they should vote for the candidate who is promising them the most free stuff, at the expense of their children’s futures. Tomorrow, the question for many middle-class, working, Walmart moms like myself will be: “Which presidential candidate will help me make sure I can provide for my family?” Not: “Which candidate will guarantee me free birth control, even though I can get some at Target for nine bucks?” 

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life.

HUGH HEWITT
Feels like 1980 to me: Same failed president, same crisis-plagued globe, same upbeat GOP nominee written off four years ago who won the key debate, same chance to get the Senate. Romney is the president-elect on Wednesday, with Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado. Senate tied 50–50 after Ohio brings in Josh Mandel. Let the rebuilding begin. 

 Hugh Hewitt is host of The Hugh Hewitt Show and author of The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency.

QUIN HILLYER
Mitt Romney will win the presidency with a 284–254 electoral-vote margin. He will win a plurality of the popular vote, with 49.8 percent to Obama’s 48.6 percent (1.6 percent to others). The Senate will be tied at 50–50. The House will see a minor loss, of two seats, for Republicans. Conservatives will find in future years that they have plenty to cheer about from Texas’s new senator, Ted Cruz. 

Why will Romney win? The multi-organization conservative ground game this year is superb. Enthusiasm is high. Several bluish-purple states are on the verge of tipping to Romney, and at least one significant one will indeed tip his way. Obama’s support is comparatively desultory. 

The republic will be saved!

 Quin Hillyer is a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom and a senior editor for The American Spectator.

PAUL KENGOR
I can offer a unique perspective from Pennsylvania, and namely western Pennsylvania, where I live and was born and raised. Every four years, my hopes for Pennsylvania are dashed by the final vote, which goes Democratic almost entirely because of Philadelphia. If it weren’t for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania would always vote Republican.

That said, I’m confident that this year will be different. I’m seeing a pro-Republican enthusiasm I haven’t seen here in decades. It’s genuinely pro-Romney, and it’s intensely anti-Obama. This isn’t anecdotal or wishful thinking. It’s different this time. I think Mitt Romney will win this state.

As for the overall election, I have six national polls sitting on my desk right now, all of which have the race dead even or nearly dead even, and every single one of them oversamples Democrats, one (CNN) by 11 percent. All have Romney overwhelmingly winning independents, one (CNN again) by more than 20 percent. That adds up to an easy Romney victory, assuming strong Republican turnout — which will be there. I see Romney winning handily in both the popular vote (5 percent or more) and the Electoral College (around 320 votes).

I should confess that for four years, I thought Barack Obama would be reelected. I’ve changed my mind only in the last few weeks, based strictly on the facts, and starting with the first presidential debate — where Mitt Romney effectively won the presidency.

 Paul Kengor is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. His most recent books is The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.

KATHYRN JEAN LOPEZ
Mitt Romney may very well be president of the United States of America come January 20. I think, as I have thought since watching him as governor of Massachusetts, that he will be a studied and wise steward of his office, and he’ll honor his promise to protect and defend what the government cannot grant but has a duty to help flourish.

Whatever happens, we cannot fall back into ignorance, indifference, and laziness; we have taken our religious liberty for granted. We live in a nation that is about to mark 40 years of legal abortion. We have just watched a president institutionalize the sexual revolution by government edict. Whoever is president, we have a mess on our hands and work to do.

 Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.

MICHAEL MEDVED
In The Graduate (1967), protagonist Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman) receives a one-word piece of precious advice for his future. “Plastics!” whispers a friend of his parents, and the Republican future in 2012 could easily turn on another mysterious p-word: “Pennsylvania!”

If Mitt Romney wins in the Keystone State it will provide the keystone for an inevitable Electoral College victory. Carrying Pennsylvania (with its 20 electoral votes) would allow the GOP to forget all about such annoying and difficult battlegrounds as Nevada and Ohio.

Like most other conservatives, I view a Romney victory as more likely than not, but hardly a done deal. Unlike them, I suspect that this victory is entirely possible without winning Ohio: As long as Mitt manages the all-important upset in the Commonwealth of William Penn, Ben Franklin, and Pat Toomey. As a native-born Philadelphian, no outcome could make me prouder.

 Michael Medved is host of The Michael Medved Show.

SABRINA SCHAEFFER
Tomorrow we are going to learn that the coveted “single woman” voters Democrats have been targeting relentlessly through their war-on-women campaign are not going to turn out with the same overwhelming support for the president as they did in 2008. On top of this, by an even greater margin, Obama will lose married women, who will reject the president’s message and come out in large numbers to support Governor Romney.

This should not be entirely surprising. Just taking 2008 data into consideration, we know that married women made up the larger percentage of female voters and that the majority (56 percent) came out for John McCain. Add to this that the GOP managed to narrowly close the gender gap during the 2010 midterm elections, and my prediction is looking more reliable. Most important, however, is that Independent Women’s Voice conducted experimental research (through Evolving Strategies) last June that found the war-on-women narrative backfired with independents and weakly partisan voters — meaning this storyline is not going to capture women in the middle, and it certainly won’t sway women who are even only mildly Republican.

In a year when enthusiasm for President Obama is way down, it’s unlikely that a campaign of fearmongering and gender politics is a promising road to victory. It’s highly unlikely that these single women will come out in support for Romney but many will probably stay home this year. And the percentage of married women who vote Republican will be larger this time round.

 Sabrina Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum and co-author of Liberty Is No War on Women.

LISA SCHIFFREN
Hurricane Sandy demonstrated, beyond all doubt, that President Obama has not made the waters recede. The unemployment and underemployment rates remain high enough that everyone knows people who can’t find work and who are at wits’ end. And the guy just does not seem to like us very much. He doesn’t like the rich, we know. But he also doesn’t like the poor or the middle class. He likes only cool celebrities, as far as I can see.

This is a darker fall than it had to be, with threats from abroad, the fiasco in Benghazi, the threat of more recession, and the failure of any of these problems to get enough coverage to promote discussions of solutions. Hurricane Sandy has only added to the stormy aspect of this moment. Obama has resolved nothing, and the prospect of nothing changing is depressing. 

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has overcome a certain stiffness and diffidence to become a really great campaigner. Crowds are pouring out to see him because we really do need both serious change and enough hope to hang on for a brighter future. I am well past knowing how much of this is wishful thinking and how much is a serious gut-level reading of all that I have seen and heard, but I think Romney will win by a wide popular margin. People who haven’t voted in a long time will show up. Democrats will lie to each other, then pull the lever for Romney, because they have to pay for college for their kids, too, and this isn’t working. I am not going to make an Electoral College prediction, because we’ve heard it all. But Romney wins. 

I haven’t had a lot to say about Romney, but I want to put this on record here: The virtue I most admire among the powerful is rectitude. It’s an old-fashioned virtue that you don’t see much of anymore. We have watched this man step up to become someone who could lead this great nation, when we need a real leader. And his ego does not appear to be front and center. Rectitude. I trust it.

Sadly, here in New York, the thoroughly admirable, brilliant, and really interesting Wendy Long will not become our senator. The GOP considers New York hopeless, so our candidates get no money or help, and donors have fixated on evicting Obama. Rightly, I guess. Still, I hope Long will stay in politics. She’d be a great addition to any conservative team. 

 Lisa Schiffren is a writer in New York.

CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER
Let’s face it: If Romney wins tomorrow, the polls have to be wrong. But I think they will be.

Back in June, polls consistently had Wisconsin governor Scott Walker up, on average, about three to four percentage points on the day of his recall election. He won by 7 percent. It just feels as if there’s an intensity and GOP ground game out there that are not being measured. And if Romney picks off a surprise state, such as Michigan or Minnesota, Obama’s road gets pretty tough.

I’ve got Romney picking up Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Final total: Romney 291, Obama 247.

In the U.S. Senate, Republicans have whiffed on too many chances to take back control. Potential GOP pickups in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska will probably be offset by losses in Indiana and Massachusetts, and by missed pickup chances in Virginia and Missouri. Republicans pick up one net seat; the Senate goes to 52–48 (with Sanders caucusing with the Democrats).

An interesting undercard race to watch will be the Proposition 2 constitutional-amendment referendum in Michigan. Prop 2 would add a collective-bargaining right, for both public and private employees, to the Michigan constitution. It has been the subject of a recent ad blitz that says passing the amendment would allow “sexual deviants” to remain in the classroom. I think it loses, 51–49.

 Christian Schneider is a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

PETER SCHRAMM
At a minimum, Romney will take the aggregate vote by just under 3 percent, and he will get at least 289 in the Electoral College: Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana, Colorado, and Wisconsin. If you remove Ohio, he still wins. I remind us that the 2010 results cannot be separated from the 2012 elections. For example, Pennsylvania will be very close and may yet go for Romney. (Remember that in 2010 the GOP won everything in Pennsylvania: governor, U.S. Senate, both houses, and a majority of U.S. House seats.) Also, the GOP will win two more House seats and three Senate seats (turnover in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Connecticut, but the GOP loses Massachusetts). But I warn you: Sometimes I confound my predictions about the future with my attempt to change it. So I hope that what should be and what I want, will be.

— Peter Schramm is the executive director of the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University.

BEN SHAPIRO
This election is not going to be as close as the Democrats and their allies in the media would have us believe. The media have been worth at least ten points for Obama in this cycle — between ignoring Benghazi, bashing Romney, and propping up the president’s horrendous economic numbers, they’ve earned their Palace Guard paycheck — but it won’t be enough. In 2008, they bucked the old Lincoln adage by fooling all the people all of the time about the feckless and incompetent Obama. In 2012, Lincoln’s adage will have its revenge. We keep hearing that Republicans have an advantage in a turnout election. But Republicans also have an advantage in an independents election. Only in a Magical Mythical 2008 Replay do Democrats have an advantage. And Obama’s sleight of hand no longer wows us. Prediction: 311 electoral votes for Romney, including Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. And count on a lot of whining from the media, which have used up every ounce of their credibility in defending an indefensible president.

Ben Shapiro is author of Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.

CHARMAINE YOEST
There is a huge shock coming tomorrow for the Obama campaign and the feminist-controlled Democratic party. Treating this election like some sort of hokey abortion-themed frat party was deeply misguided. The abortion-palooza at the Democratic convention, followed by The First Time with Lena Dunham, followed by “Yes We Plan” with Julianne Moore and Q-Tip, followed by “Vote like your lady parts depend on it,” followed by Cher and — well, okay, enough already. The idea that support for abortion rights is a majority position among American women is a myth, and the professional campaign managers at Obama HQ ought to know that. But, as the saying goes, the first step to perdition — or a lost election — is believing your own spin. 

The abortion-centered agenda of aging feminists ignores some potent political realities. Each year, Americans United for Life issues the “Life List,” ranking states by their willingness to defend life in law. Where do the critical battleground states rank? Pennsylvania — where Governor Romney has been investing significant time this last week — ranked third in the nation.  I’ll predict that the time invested there will prove to have been well spent.

This past year Virginia passed cutting-edge abortion-clinic regulations, and AUL ranked the state among the top 20 pro-life states. Nevertheless, the Obama campaign has been blasting Virginia radio with alarmist “Romney will reverse Roe” messages all month. That may prove to be money poorly invested. Similarly, Ohio is also among the top 20 pro-life states.

The Obama campaign’s transparent belief that women’s votes can be captured through vulgarity is offensive and paternalistic. Even David Axelrod joked this past week that the president’s efforts on the campaign trail were “coming from his loins.” They just can’t seem to help themselves in objectifying everyone, including the president. A campaign focused on lady parts and loins. How elevating. My prediction is that American women will reject this kind of sophomoric faux sophistication. The alliance of the president and the Democratic party with Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby will ultimately prove to be an essential element of their downfall.

Charmaine Yoest is president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

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