Five reasons why the presidential election is already over

The White House, seen from the South Lawn in Washington, gives the media a preview of the White House gardens and grounds on Saturday, April 21, 2012, prior to the official opening of the Garden Tours to the public. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


Five reasons why the presidential election is already over

Storified by Digital First Media · Thu, Nov 01 2012 06:35:07

There are still a few days left before the presidential election on Nov. 6. But that hasn’t stopped pundits and political operatives from saying it’s already over. Here’s a look at some of the arguments they’re making.

The statistical models show Obama ahead in swing states.

Denverpost
The argument: Forget the national polls. What matters is which candidate is ahead in the swing states. New York Times’ blogger Nate Silver’s survey of state polling shows Obama winning 299 Electoral College votes; Votamatic’s Drew Linzer projects 332; The New Republic’s Nate Cohn argues Obama’s ahead; as does the Princeton Election Consortium’s Sam Wang. Real Clear Politics’ map with no tossups shows Obama at 281
But wait… The statistical models are only as good as the polls, which may not be counting shifts in the public mood or cell phone users. Polls don’t matter because it’s the fundamentals, such as the economy, that decide elections. Silver hedges his predictions a lot. Silver is an “ideologue.”

The economic fundamentals favor Obama (or Romney).

Denverpost
The argument: Voters care about the economy, and objective indicators show that it’s improving, albeit slowly. The housing market is doing better. Even Wall Street analysts say the numbers are improving enough to say that Obama’s re-election is a “base case scenario.” And the unemployment rate is lower than the national average in the key swing state of Ohio.
But wait… None of those economic indicators are improving quickly enough. They only show a narrow Obama advantage which could fall apart because of lagging enthusiasm, campaign mistakes or low turnout.

Romney is expanding the map.

Denverpost
The argument: Romney is so confident he’s moving onto Obama’s turf, airing ads in Pennsylvania, while a pro-Romney super PAC is expanding into Minnesota and New Mexico. And Obama’s nervous because he’s also running ads in Pennsylvania and sending valuable surrogate Bill Clinton into Minnesota. Romney’s expanding the map.
But wait… It could all be a head fake to drive the media narrative. He’s worried he can’t win Ohio so he’s looking for a back-up plan. He has to spend the money somewhere because he can only air so many ads in the swing states. 

Obama has a better ground game.

Denverpost
The argument: Democrats have better microtargeting programs to find persuadable voters. Obama is using early voting in states like Iowa to build a big lead. Obama has 131 field offices in Ohio, while Romney only has 40. He never stopped building on the 2008 campaign, which was the largest grassroots organization in American political history. 
But wait… Republicans have caught up since four years ago. They are doing better with early and absentee voting. Hurricane Sandy will make it harder for Democrats to get out the vote in some places. The “ground game” can’t overcome the enthusiasm gapObama’s ground game may be overrated.

Republicans always win on Nov. 6.

Whitehouse
The argument: “Since election day was standardized in 1845 there have been six presidential elections held on November 6th and Republicans have won all six.That means next Tuesday, the 7th Presidential election held on this date, willeither break or uphold a streak that began in 1860 with the election of AbrahamLincoln.”
But wait… Yeah, and until 1984, no left-handed president had been re-elected. These kinds of precedents are silly and meaningless.

The bottom line…

Denverpost
Nobody knows anything.

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