(With three days left before the election, I foresee see five possible scenarios. Each day leading up to Election Day, we’re going to explore one of the scenarios. This post is the third installment of the series.)
If this scenario comes to pass, it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Not since 1936 has an incumbent’s attempt at re-election succeeded against the scale of the job losses we’ve seen these last four years. Abroad, America has struggled as well. While the war in Iraq is over, in Afghanistan it lingers on with no prospect for success in sight. The Middle East is in full-scale collapse, while economic woes in Europe and China risk dragging us deeper down.
In light of all that and more, it was a testament to how well liked Barack Obama is that he could keep this race as close as it was. Or was it? After the election, exit polls reveal that women and Jews weren’t as enamored with abortion as they were of jobs. Coal miners and electricians didn’t care as much about the collective bargaining rights of government employees as they cared about jobs. Hispanics cared less about immigration reform if the man promising to bring the reform couldn’t let them stay in a country with jobs. Unemployed recent college graduates didn’t care as much about being cool as they cared about something as banal as jobs. Upon closer inspection of turnout data, the election’s results are really a testament to how well liked Obama is by black Americans that he was able to keep his numbers as high as they were. In spite of bearing the greatest brunt of the recession, Obama lost not a bit of their vote. In every other demographic, support and enthusiasm for the President were markedly down.
In the end, Ohio didn’t matter. Yes, Mitt Romney won it, but with wins in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin, Ohio was just the Buckeye-flavored frosting on Romney’s already baked election day cake. Even Mondale’s Minnesota teetered on the edge of breaking the GOP’s way. Alone among most lists of swing states, Nevada chose Obama. Final Results: Romney wins 51% to 48% and takes 295 electoral votes.
The President’s poorer-than-expected performance lost his party the Senate as well. Virginia’s George Allen returns after a six-year absence. Bill Nelson can’t resist the tide. The Upper House ends up 51-49 while the Lower House sees only two net Republicans go away, leaving it 240-195.
See all the scenarios:
Scenario 1: Nate Silver is right
Scenario 2: RCP is right
Scenario 3: Rasmussen is right
Scenario 4: Gallup tracking poll is right
Scenario 5: Gallup electorate poll is right
And the prediction is . . .