It’s almost over. In two more days, we should know which candidate prevailed, although with the national polls so tight it is very possible we won’t know as early as we’d like.
I’m going to make my predictions on this race based on more than just the polls. Over the past few months there have been many indicators that this race is going to be drastically different from the one we saw in 2008 — Romney’s crowd sizes, volunteer efforts, fundraising efforts, and a change in the Obama campaign from presenting the candidate as an uplifting symbol of hope to presenting him as a beleaguered president trying to claw his way to reelection.
First, I believe Romney will squeeze out a popular-vote win of about two percentage points: 50.5 to 48.5 (I’m assuming about 1 percent of the vote will go third party). This margin will be enough for Romney to win the Electoral College. Just last week, I would have predicted a slightly larger victory, but Hurricane Sandy cut a little bit of the edge Romney had by providing Obama with one last chance to leverage the advantage of the incumbency. Nonetheless, I believe Romney is headed for victory, because Republicans will pour out to vote in the numbers pollsters such as Gallup, Rasmussen, and Pew have predicted.
The most important question is how each of the battleground states goes. Here is a quick rundown of how I think they’ll end up:
Colorado will be a comfortable win for Romney of three to four points. The early voting has been a reversal from 2008, with Republicans outnumbering Democrats. As is the case in most states, supporters of Romney in Colorado are more likely to be Election Day voters, which will cement a win for Romney.
This is a state that a lot of pollsters and insiders have given to Romney for a while. Democrats have done a lot with their early-voting efforts, but it will not be enough to repeat their 2008 performance. The Sunshine State is going to be a big win for Romney.
Early voting here has been much better for Republicans than it was four years ago, though they are still behind. It is going to be a very, very close state on Election Day, but Romney can overcome the early-voting deficit here. Winning Iowa opens up the map for Romney a lot, and this is going to be a big win on Tuesday for Romney.
Of all the battleground states, Nevada was always going to be one of the toughest wins for Romney. It has a get-out-the-vote machine that propelled Harry Reid to reelection in 2010, and while the GOP has cut the early-voting edge from 2008 by a significant amount, it’s going to be very tough to overcome that deficit with Election Day voters. While this has the potential to be a big upset on Tuesday, I’m giving it to Obama.