The BBC is one of various websites offering this fun graphic. It shows how difficult it’s going to be for Romney to win the White House… but, influenced by my own wishful thinking and a bit of psephology, here’s how I’m calling it.
Why for Romney? The party of religionistas and rednecks – not my favourite people at the best of times. But what America, in common with the entire Western world, needs right now isn’t vision or leadership so much as… a good accountant.
And if you look at how Romney handled healthcare in Massachusetts or spreadsheets in Salt Lake City, there’s only one choice. Romney is the man to balance the USA’s books – not his opponent, a nice-but-left-leaning statist whose answer to everything will always be “More Government”.
OK, polemicising over. As usual it’s all in the swing states, and nobody’s going to argue with my general shape. What I’m arguing with poll-wise is that the Republicans seem more fired up this time: my guess is that they underestimate Romney’s support by about 1.25%, with Democratic support falling off by the same amount. As predicted by every pollster for months, it’s all down to Ohio.
I call Pennsylvania for Obama. Romney’s made it a target in recent days, but I think its 20 Electoral College votes are far too much for the Mormon guy to hope for; the Dems are over 4% ahead. (I’m using polling data mainly from Politico, which tends to lean leftwards – a good foil for my rightward tendencies.)
Florida’s 29 votes though, I’m giving to Romney. Simply because he has to have them. But it’s also barely 1% behind in polling; get-out-the-vote should deliver the state for the Republicans. (Fairly this time.)
I’m also giving North Carolina to the Red team. It’s at the limit of my poll readjustment, but I don’t think the intelligentsia in the research triangle around Raleigh are going to cancel out the hordes heading to rural polling stations. 15 votes for Romney.
Virginia is a easier case: even Politico’s calculating barely 0.3% in Obama’s favour, so I’m calling its 13 votes for Romney.
Nevada’s six, however, I think sit on the Blue side. Much has been made of the Latino vote, but I think the retirees who’ve moved en masse to the beautiful desert also count for a lot… sadly not enough. Vegas goes to Obama.
Colorado I’m calling Republican. A 1.5% polling gap means a lot to play for in get-out-the-vote, and the snowy state has a lot of a) New Money who’ll vote Republican and b) Disgruntled blue-collar workers who voted for Obama last time but won’t tonight. 9 for Romney.
Iowa is the odd one: a white-bread rural State that’s far more finely balanced than its demographics would suggest. It’s right on the edge with a 2.5% gap, but I’m calling another six for Romney.
Wisconsin, though, seems to be staying Democratic. It’s odd – outside the liberal bastion of Madison it never looked very blue to me – but the polling gaps are wide, so it’s 10 more to Obama.
Which leaves the Big Prize: Ohio. It’ll also be among the first states to declare, which means we’ll basically know the result early on: if it stays Blue it’s all over bar the shouting. The gap seems alarmingly large in polling, around 3%, so this one is on the edge. A comfortable win for Obama and he’s got it in the bag. (A comfortable win for Romney means somebody cheated.)
But something about those 25,000-strong crowds last night suggests something odd’s going to happen. All my guesses today are based on what happens in Ohio.
Of course, the only thing I’ve got right here is the admission that I’m likely to be very, very wrong. But that’s elections for you.
I’ll be watching USA 2012 through the night… good luck America, and enjoy your democracy.