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Most of us admit that the general election has started. (I say most because those wacky Paulbots are still arguing Ron could get enough delegates and win the nomination…and they wonder why that clear analysis of basic realities makes the rest of us distrust their understanding of economics). All sane people realize this is going to be Romney vs. Obama.
Which means that it is the Electoral College is almost all that matters now. I say almost because turnout is also an important factor in swing states, and national polls can effect turnout. They can also help influence fundraising (You don’t put up money for a complete loser if there is no hope whatsoever). But the reality is that this is more or less all up to the Electoral College.
According to RealClearPolitics the current count of electoral votes is Obama 227, Romney 170 with 141 in the toss up category. Just in case you’ve forgotten it takes 270 votes to win.
Now there are some obvious problems with the RCP map right now. For one it’s based on a majority of Registered Voter Polls not Likely Voter Polls. For those who don’t know Registered Voter Polls are almost always off from Likely Voter Polls (and 9 times out of 10 the likely voters are 2-3 points more in favor of the Republican than the registered voters). Then there is the problem that when I do have likely voter polls it’s pretty much only one poll and I will admit that the more polls the better (which is why RCP is so good once all the major polls switch to likely voter pools)…but you have to make due with what you have. And then there is the fact that there several of these polls that I am working with were taken before Santorum dropped out (give a 1-2 point boost to Romney post that) and he’ll probably get a small boost once Gingrich officially drops out (1 point maybe…which seems small…but a point can make all the difference…)
So, just looking at the current polls, admitting all of the flaws with looking at them, Romney is up in a lot of the swing states.
Oh and then there’s that other thing. The one where you don’t actually have undecided voters on Election Day. You have people who choose Obama, people who choose Romney and people who stay home or vote for a third party (both are pretty much the same thing). And according to Dick Morris, based on a study he did for the Clinton’s back in the day, the undecided vote always breaks, almost 2-1, for the challenger against an incumbent president. So that would bring Romney’s tally up to 254 electoral votes (16 to go)
Now assuming 3% of the undecided vote will stay home or waste the vote, let’s look at how the vote breaks when you factor in that split of undecided votes fits into a few other swing states.
Now, splitting the undecided votes not only puts the other swing states I listed into the solid Romney camp but it appears to also put Pennsylvania barely into the plus Romney side (probably more solidly Romney as the most recent and reliable poll I can find on Pennsylvania is both pre-Santorum dropping out and a registered voter poll which actually means Romney should win by 2 to 3 points). Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes would put Romney over 270. The fact that Ohio is also in striking distance makes Romney’s options even stronger.
Now some psycho Paulbots and the liberals who love them will suggest, and pray for, that Ron Paul will continue his quest to be Fuhrer. The Paulbots want this because they live in a deluded universe where they think their geriatric lunatic will resonate with the America public with his call for complete isolation in foreign policy (cause that always works) and an economic plan from 1880…and don’t forget the traces of anti-Semitism. Woo-hoo! The Democrats want this because they think that a Paul run will pull off votes from Romney and let their socialist candidate win. Slight problem with this is that Ron Paul actually does better with Democrats than he does with Republicans. Who would have guessed the guy who proudly once blamed 9/11 on America would resonate well with the Democratic base. So in reality, if the little lunatic wants to make a third party run, let him, he will siphon off more votes from Obama than he will from Romney which makes this an even easier victory.
So right now the likely voter polls (and some competent guesstimation) actually show the Electoral College leaning in Romney’s favor. Are the numbers close? Yes. Is it still too far out to be secure in these numbers? Yes. Do we still have a long way to go? Yes. Should Romney just relax and take a few months off? No.
This is not a slam dunk yet…I have hopes it will be, but winds currently blow in Romney’s direction. And given that Obama is repeatedly showing he has nothing to run on and that his campaign is just going to get increasingly desperate as time goes on (I expect to see ads discussing Romney’s bigamist ancestors by mid July)…given that we should see $5 a gallon gas midsummer, a continuing slowing economy and more unemployment…given that I expect more shrill and hateful statements from Michelle revealing their utter contempt for this nation…given all that I don’t see the polls swinging in Obama’s favor. This is becoming Romney’s race to lose.
Also I would point out that two of the states in the “Lean Obama” category, when you factor in the undecided vote, are not as strong in the Obama camp that he shouldn’t worry (especially when one is Romney’s home state and the other is the state of a leading contender for VP).
So, admittedly this is all very speculative at present. Why go over it? Because liberals know they have nothing to actually run on so they’re trying to kill the hope of Obama’s defeat early on and ruin Romney’s momentum. Don’t fall for it. Actual poll numbers show Romney is doing well. This is not over, but it is in our favor not theirs.