Before getting into the meat of this document, we at the PiRate Ratings are not political pollsters. We do know how to look at the data of others and make educated conclusions based on a decent sampling of data.
We look at more than a dozen different national polls recognized as legitimate and accurate from past elections. We purposefully monitor one pollster that skews his polls to the GOP and another polling company that tends to skew toward the Democrats. Those two polls serve as outliers for our predictions.
We do not look at national polling numbers. We do not elect a President on popular vote, so it means very little to know this information. Only the state by state polls with the electoral votes allocated to those states matter. The only number that is important is the number “270,” which is the number of electoral votes needs to win the Presidential election.
We will present this data to you in different views. The first view is our look at how the race would turn out if today was Election Day. We will show this race with no tossup states, allocating all 538 Electoral Votes.
Our second look is the same “if today was Election Day” criteria with all tossup states not allocated to a candidate. If the race in a state is 6 points or less, we consider that state a tossup at the current time.
Our third look is a trending poll, using a four-week moving average, much like stock market analysts look at the stock market. This moving average is calculated from multiple polls taken weekly.
Our fourth look is our own take on where the race is headed. We use past experiences using several tendencies we have noticed over the last 11 election cycles. Some of these tendencies include: how the undecided vote tends to lean toward the underdog after Labor Day; how long the convention bounces last; how likely voters are to actually vote; and how accurate the polling data has predicted the actual elections.
It is our opinion, and many others, that the voting public has mostly aligned with their candidate of choice. There are very few undecided voters at this point in the cycle, and an inordinately high number of voters are 100% sure that they will vote for their candidate of choice. Our current Congress has been an excellent microcosm for our national divide—the public is divided more than it has been since the Civil War.
In most other election years, the polling data would be harsh for the incumbent. When economic troubles have been this prevalent in the past, there has been a sweeping out of the party in control. In 2010 and 2011, the possibility for a repeat of the elections of 1932 and 1980 were strong. The Republican Party needed to find another Ronald Reagan, and they might have been looking at a landslide victory much like the GOP won in 1980.
During the early primaries, we issued a special entry detailing the trouble the GOP would have if Mitt Romney became the nominee. We went into detail relaying how an Eastern elitist would fail to rally fence-sitters in several crucial states that Republicans must win.
Romney will definitely not carry his home state. He will probably not carry his state of birth. He is in serious trouble in the state that absolutely must be won to have any chance of winning the election.
An interesting factoid was e-mailed to us this morning. The last time a candidate lost his state of residence and his state of birth but won the election was back in 1844 (42 elections ago) when James K. Polk lost in his state of residence (Tennessee) and his state of birth (North Carolina) and won the election.
Romney is going to need one if not two major events to occur if he is to pull out a victory in less than eight weeks. Remember also that several states conduct some form of early voting, and some will begin issuing ballots in less than five weeks. A lot of voters have made up their minds, and they will vote early. The psychology here is that by voting early, these voters can tune out the onslaught of constant media advertisements, political pundits telling them how to think, robocalls, and even social media and socializing.
Okay, now for the numbers. Let us first look at our PiRate mean based on more than one dozen polls.
I. If the Election Was Today
President Obama would win reelection with an average electoral vote victory of 333-205. Obama would win: California—55, Colorado—9, Connecticut—7, Delaware—3, DC—3, Florida—29, Hawaii—4, Illinois—20, Iowa—6, Maine—(all 4), Maryland—10, Massachusetts—11, Michigan—16, Minnesota—10, Nevada—6, New Hampshire—4, New Jersey—14, New Mexico—5, New York—29, Ohio—18, Oregon—7, Pennsylvania—20, Rhode Island—4, Vermont—3, Virginia—13, Washington—12, Wisconsin—10, and the Second Congressional District in Nebraska—1 (Nebraska is one of two states that splits its electoral vote.)
The outlier margins for an election held today would be: Obama 374 Romney 164 and Obama 270 Romney 268.
II. If the Election Was Today with Tossup States
National pollsters have deemed anywhere from eight to 12 states as battleground states where the polls could switch from one candidate to the other. The consensus shows Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin are where the race will be won or lost. We concur for the most part, but looking at the actual data, we will alter this list of eight.
Obama has picked up enough support in Michigan to take it off the table for now. We no longer agree that this is a battleground state. That lowers the number to seven. To this group of seven, we are adding these states where the current polls show Romney holds a 6% lead or less: Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and South Dakota.
Removing these battleground states drops Obama’s number under 270 to 238. Romney’s number drops from 205 to 174. At 238-165 with 135 electoral votes still up for grabs. If we give Romney South Carolina, Montana, and South Dakota, three states where the GOP should win almost every time, this brings Romney up to 180. Romney leads in North Carolina, and we will give him the 15 votes to bring his count to 195. While we are at it, let’s give Romney Missouri, where the President is not all that popular, and their Senatorial race would have given the GOP a pickup had it not been for possibly the dumbest politician ever opening his mouth. Add 10 votes to Romney, bringing him back to 205. That leaves 95 electoral votes in states where Obama currently holds the lead: Colorado—9, Florida—29, Iowa—6, Nevada—6, New Hampshire—4, Ohio—18, Virginia—13, and Wisconsin—10.
III. The 28-day Moving Average
Factoring in multiple polls taken with a weekly snapshot over the most recent four weeks, Obama leads Romney 316-222. There has not been that much movement since the two conventions, with Obama picking up an average of 17 electoral votes in that time.
IV. The PiRate Ratings Look At November 6
We preface this category by telling you that there are psychological and historical factors being applied here. These numbers are not based 100% on current statistical data.
Prior to the debates in October, which could greatly affect the outcome if one candidate makes a remark similar to: “Poland is not under the Soviet Union’s dominance;” “I asked my daughter what the most important issue in this race was, and she said it was the nuclear bomb;” or a candidate’s refusal to seek vengeance if his wife had been brutally raped. This debate season looks to be anticlimactic to us. We don’t think either candidate will be able to deliver any major blows.
That said, we do believe that Obama will not garner much additional support. He will maintain or lose a little bit of supporters as voters vote for change.
How much support will Obama lose? At the moment, we do not see how he can lose enough to fall beneath the magic number of 270.
We start at 333-205, which is today’s number. Let’s flip Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin, where we think Romney still has a decent chance of winning. That changes the vote total to 276-262 in favor of Obama. Maybe Nevada could switch as well, which would make the race 270-268 in favor of Obama. We do not see New Hampshire flipping to Romney, as all of New England will go with Obama. That leaves one crucial state—Virginia. Romney must saturate the state known as the “Mother of Presidents.” He needs to spend a lot of time campaigning in the parts of Virginia not in the DC metro area, where tens of thousands of government employees want to keep government as big as it can be.
At the same time, Romney must sink millions of dollars in Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, and even Wisconsin. President Polk won his Vice President’s state in 1844. George Dallas hailed from Pennsylvania, and in 1844 the Keystone State was the second largest and carried 26 electoral votes. No candidate has ever won the election when he lost his current state of residence, his state of birth, and his vice-Presidential candidates state. As of today, Romney will lose in Massachusetts and Michigan as well as Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin.
If this were a football game, we would list Obama as a 14 1/2-point favorite.