10.31.2012 0

Arrogant Election Forecast

By Rick Manning You can almost set your clocks by it.  The inside the beltway election prediction game, where people who live in D.C. pretend that we have some special psychic insight into what the electorate will do one week hence.

In 2010, my original predictions were almost dead on, predicting House Republicans would pick up more than 60 seats at a time when others were still talking about picking up the House.  However, my final predictions wandered upward to a pick-up of 73 seats due to a misread on how the late voters would break.

With that upfront admission of fallibility, it is time for the most arrogant of all exercises, forecasting the results based upon some presumed expertise or knowledge.

It is acknowledged by most everyone that there will be little change in the make-up of the House of Representatives.  A combination of redistricting and general voter dissatisfaction with Congress could have made this year a rollback year, where voters reset after the historic Republican victories in 2010.

Instead, I believe that while some incumbents from both political parties will be defeated, overall the net change will be a minimal plus four for the Republicans.

The Senate was widely anticipated to be a slam dunk takeover for the Republicans in 2012 due to a combination of the number of seats Democrats had to defend, Senate Democrat retirements in heavy red states, Nebraska and North Dakota, and the national focus on many of these Senate Democrats for their passage of Obamacare.

Now that we are one week from the election, analysts have changed their predictions and expect the Democrats to hold the Senate.  A combination of individual candidate events in Missouri and Indiana as well as a belief that former tea party darling Scott Brown in Massachusetts, along with Olympia Snowe’s seat in Maine will fall into Democrat hands fuels this optimism on the left.

I see it differently.

Currently, the Senate make-up is 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans.  If both Massachusetts and Maine go into the Democrat voting column, and Republicans pick up both Nebraska and North Dakota as I believe will occur that means that Republicans must pick up four seats currently held by Democrats to take control.

Here are the Democrats who I believe are going down from east to west.

It is virtually impossible for Republicans to take over a majority of the Senate unless they win at least one of the four extremely close races in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida.

While three of the four of these races are polling toward the Democrat while the fourth Virginia is predicated on which region of the state turns out, and how the Washington, D.C. exurbs like Loudoun and Prince William County perform.  Both the presidency and the senate may turn on these two Virginia counties.  Everything I see happening from both sides tells me that the Republicans will win Virginia. A combination of Obama’s war on coal turning once heavy Democrat voters in southwestern Virginia into overwhelming opponents of both the president and his hand-picked Democratic National Committee head, Tim Kaine.

Just to the north, Pennsylvania may very well turn on coal, guns and babies.  While Obama’s attack on the Roman Catholic Church through Obamacare regulations may not be a game changer in many places, Democratic Senator Bob Casey has made a living off of his father’s staunch opposition to both gun control and abortion.  He also relies upon strong backing from coal and other blue collar workers in the western part of the state to overcome the central part of the state which national Democrats derisively call Pennsyltucky.

Casey’s failure to stand up to Obama on anything ties his election effort to that of Obama’s.  Not a good thing when Casey’s election would have been guaranteed if he had stuck to his knitting and been an independent voice in the Democratic Senate Caucus in favor of the Second Amendment and on the abortion issue.  Having failed that test, Casey’s political fate is directly tied to Obama’s in the state, and I think he goes down as a result.

While I believe that Democrats hold onto their seat in Connecticut due to an overwhelming advantage at the top of the ticket, Obama’s campaign in Florida appears to be collapsing.

This means that incumbent Senator Bill Nelson will not have the vaunted Obama turnout machine to rely upon.  Republican challenger Rep. Connie Mack has been lurking in the weeds for the entire campaign and increased turnout in the military heavy panhandle and Jacksonville will drive Nelson into the private sector. Of all the races on the board, this is the one that is the longest shot that I am predicting but the lower than optimal Democratic turnout caused by Obama’s campaign virtually abandoning the field, fallout from Libya in this heavy military state, and a broad distrust amongst Jewish voters in the condo canyons on the east coast of south Florida convince me that Mack pulls it out.

If these four races turn as I expect, majority control of the Senate will come down to Ohio, Montana, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri.

The Republicans are running a great candidate in Ohio, as Josh Mandel is the antithesis to the lifetime entitlement politician he opposes – incumbent Sherrod Brown.

This race is hog-tied to the top of the ticket, and most have the presidential race in Ohio as too close to call.  If you’ve been wondering why every debate between the presidential candidates ends up in a fight over the GM bailout, it is because of all the states in the nation, the bailout is most popular amongst blue collar swing voters in Ohio.  That’s why it has been so surprising that the House of Representative, run by a Republican Speaker from Ohio, has not until very recently, fired its investigatory guns at the unfair comparative treatment of union and non-union workers in the bailout.

At the end of the day, I believe that revelations about Obama’s failure in Libya will create just enough of an edge that the youthful Iraqi war veteran Josh Mandel will prevail.

If this scenario comes to fruition, Democrats have to pick up Indiana, and this race has been very tight even before Republican Richard Mourdock made a widely mis-reported statement on abortion that has caused some Republicans to dive for cover even though they should have known better.  While I think this race can go either way, at the end of the day, I think the Democrat wins after doing his best Evan Bayh impression.

This leaves control of the Senate in the hands of Wisconsin, Montana and Missouri voters and I predict that Republicans will sweep all three races.

Wisconsin has been at the political epicenter ever since Governor Scott Walker solved the state’s budget crisis by changing the relationship between the public employee unions and the tax payers.  The battles have been legendary, but the voters have become inured to the wild political claims that fill the airwaves through their two-year-long inundation.

Republican candidate Tommy Thompson will narrowly defeat Representative Tammy Baldwin.  Thompson is an establishment Republican candidate who has a long history with the voters of Wisconsin.  At the end of the day, Thompson is the safe choice in the race for voters who are desperate to have the political wars being waged in their state quiet down for just a few months so they can focus upon the Green Bay Packers.

In Montana, Republican Denny Rehberg has maintained a small lead over incumbent Jon Tester throughout the campaign, and I believe he will end up defeating Tester by a Montana landslide of about 3 percent.

Finally to the Show Me State: Missouri.  Republican Todd Akin will win this race, putting egg all over the faces of those establishment Republicans in Missouri and D.C. who abandoned his campaign after his well-documented comments on rape and abortion.  Akin will win because Democrat incumbent McCaskill is a walking/talking ethics probe.  Akin will also win because Missouri has shifted from a battleground state to a heavy Republican one in this election and McCaskill tied herself early and often to Obama.  This choice has proven to be politically disastrous, and will cost her and her husband the chance to enjoy unfettered access to the Senate Dining Room’s famous navy bean soup.

My arrogant forecast for the Senate: 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 Independents who vote with the Democrats.

At the presidential level, Mitt Romney will win and it won’t even be close in the electoral college.

Obama’s failure to get his support level above 47 percent means that for him to win, he needs a majority of late breaking voters who have already decided that they don’t really want him as president. That is not going to happen, no matter how presidential he tries to look during Hurricane Sandy.

While both Obama and Romney can win the presidency without Ohio, it is unlikely that either one will. On November 7th, Romney’s electoral total will be north of 300 votes and he will finish with more than 50 percent of the popular vote.

Obama’s voter turnout will be lighter than he needs, and those who are determined to end his presidency after one term will be even more energized due to the October surprise that Obama could not have anticipated in Libya.  As emails continue to leak, Obama’s lack of leadership will ultimately undue any chance he had at coming back to win the race.

Now that I have given you the nation’s history before it has happened, don’t forget to vote, and to get your friends and family to vote.  Our nation’s future is too important to leave to chance.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government.

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