America’s Most Accurate Political Analyst Sabato Predicts: Obama Will Likely Win Second Term

The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato is arguably the most accurate political prognosticator. He and his ace team of analysts put out the Crystal Ball and political junkies know it is the flip side of Dick Morris on Fox News: Sabato’s painstaking political pieces are the closet to a real political crystal ball that you can get. Sabato now projects Barack Obama is likely to win re-election and that other results will be essentially status quote: the Dems will hold the Senate, GOPers the House and Republicans will pick up a few more governorships:

With a slight, unexpected lift provided by Hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature’s October surprise, President Barack Obama appears poised to win his second term tomorrow. Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.

This has been a roller-coaster campaign, though very tight ever since Romney dramatically outshone Obama in the first debate in Denver on Oct. 3. Yet for a challenger to defeat an incumbent, the fates must be with the challenger again and again. Who could have imagined that a Frankenstorm would act as a circuit-breaker on the Republican’s campaign, blowing Romney off center stage for three critical days in the campaign’s last week, while enabling Obama to dominate as presidential comforter-in-chief, assisted by his new bipartisan best friend, Gov. Chris Christie (R)?

Adding to the president’s good fortune was a final jobs report that was basically helpful because it wasn’t disastrously bad — that is, the unemployment rate failed to jump back above the psychologically damaging level of 8%. Romney could have used that number to build a crescendo for change. Instead, the final potential obstacle to Obama’s reelection passed by as a one-day story. While Romney surged after the first debate, he never quite closed the deal in the key swing states. And now, we believe he has run out of time.

First, the easy ones. Obama has no chance in Indiana and Missouri (the former he won and the latter he nearly captured in 2008), nor in Arizona. This guarantees that a victorious Obama would be the first president ever who failed to win an additional state in his successful reelection bid that he did not win in his initial victory. (We are not counting FDR’s third and fourth elections.) Meanwhile, after having placed North Carolina in the Republican column for more than a year, we have seen no indication that Obama really has a chance there, even though Romney’s margin of victory is unlikely to be huge. We feel less confident about Florida, which teeters between Romney and toss-up status. Obama could steal the Sunshine State from Romney if the Democrat has an unexpectedly strong night.

With two-thirds of the votes likely already cast in Nevada, Obama appears to have a solid lead in the Silver State. Our decision to move Nevada even more strongly into Obama’s column is bolstered by the state’s political guru Jon Ralston, who picked Obama to win his state on Sunday.

Iowa and Wisconsin may very well be tight, as they were in 2000 and 2004. But these states have a Democratic lean (even Michael Dukakis won them in 1988), and according to the poll averages, Obama has never trailed in either state during this campaign. Recent surveys from credible, state-level pollsters (Ann Selzer in Iowa and Charles Franklin in Wisconsin) show Obama with solid leads in both states, and these results have reinforced our inclinations.

We have had Ohio in Obama’s column since late September, and nothing we have heard from our sources in the Buckeye State has caused us to move it anywhere else. Like Iowa and Wisconsin, it may be excruciatingly close, but we favor Obama in all three.

We believe the three closest states are Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire; in reality, all three are toss-ups, but because we feel obligated to pick every state, we’re splitting these 26 combined electoral votes right down the middle — 13 for Obama (nine from Colorado and four from New Hampshire) and 13 for Romney from Virginia. It’s not very scientific, but in these three states the polling averages and our sources aren’t giving us enough to work with.

If Obama sweeps all three of these very close states, he will win 303 electoral votes. If that number sounds familiar, it’s because both Harry Truman in 1948 and John F. Kennedy in 1960 achieved the same total in the Electoral College. In other words, it’s a lucky number for Democratic presidential nominees.

A footnote: Maine and Nebraska award their electoral votes by congressional district, and Romney has an outside shot at grabbing Maine’s Second District, just like Obama has an outside shot at Nebraska’s Second (which he won in 2008). We don’t foresee an electoral vote split in either state this year, but these are worth watching Tuesday night for a possible surprise.

Go to the link to read the complete report about other races.

16 Comments

  1. Well that makes me happy about some issues, but unhappy about others. If he is going to win, maybe I should go ahead and vote for Romney as an expression of my dislike of the President’s stand on the issues I disagree with him on.

  2. Carl, I’ve never understood that reasoning. In all the years I’ve been voting my process is to examine where the candidates stand on the issues, weigh how important each one is to me and in cases like this election, where Supreme Court nominations are likely to be made, add that to my considerations. Romney loses big time in everything this year because I hold what is said in the primaries to mean something. I also look at political party because in today’s environment there is no such thing as simply voting for a candidate, where the majority of their party stands on things is important as well. I don’t consider myself a Democrat as much as an anti-Republican given where that party has moved in the decades since my first vote. Not one thing this year has changed my mind on that. In fact the nominations of people like Akin and Mourdock have just reinforced it.

  3. Carl, I think a better alternative would be to write Mr. Obama a letter stating your views. Or get involved with your county democratic party. How exactly would a vote for Romney bring your concerns to the attention of the President?

  4. Jim

    Thanks. I’ll consider those thoughts. I have become pessimistic, so unfortunately I haven’t paid serious attention to the campaigns, except for some of the crazy stuff I’ve heard.
    The people still have the power of the vote, but that has long been manipulated away into whatever it is the media wants you to care and vote about from whomever buys the media. Politicians never say what they mean or mean what they say. Just deception and beat around the bush subterfuge. It even appears they are stooping to outright lies in their “messages” these days.
    I feel none of them would ever give me the time of day even if my life depended on it. Instead they are building, “America the Image”, but the “Americans” are not to be coddled or entertained by them except to get a vote, then to forget about on their way up the ladder to political nirvana, the Oval Office. Unless you can wave green-backs at them you simply do not count and even that is by degree.
    I will consider your optimism because it lends hope that a nation supposedly of, by, and, for the people will someday actually see it’s occupants as something more than what their bank statement reads. Though I despair.

  5. Carl… just vote…then you can cry with the saints and curse with the sinners… no matter how you vote there will be plenty tears of and angst in the next four years no matter who wins this election… but at least a vote makes a difference within you… hope your lines are not too long…both you and your vote matters…

  6. yoopermoose

    Spent a life time writting to politicians and throwing rocks through the windows just gets you a fat fine and/or jail food. It’s useless.

  7. Rcoutme

    Yeah I’m paranoid too. Most people have negative opinions about politics in this country. Money is such the issue with anything that few have any faith left in the so called, “America”, unless you want to bomb some poor backward people somewhere. We do that real well.

  8. ordinarysparrow

    OK, just for you and I’ll bring my lucky silver dollar to flip so I won’t hold up the line trying to decide.

    BTW I read your earlier comment about Jackson county MO and the Mormons. Pretty funny. Just put out the wolf-bane and garlic cloves and report any bites to the health department right away.

  9. Carl, I’m with you, most of what you say is true and sadly we are in a box. There is nothing wrong, IMHO, with protesting/voting against a candidate if you seriously think he is basically wrong in his approach to matters. But, not just on a single issue or a few issues, though; there are shades of gray and the only way either side pays any attention is by looking at the vote numbers. They don’t care what you say or write.
    The closer the pop vote numbers are the more they have to consider us “all” not just their core supporters (see 2010).

  10. Carl, I guess I am sometimes still a shiney eyed idealist. I would rather write letters than throw rocks. Although sometimes throwing rocks would be more cathartic. I still believe in government of, by and for the people, and the ability of regular folks to make a difference even when I’m faced with evidence to the contrary. I still hold this truth to be self-evident. That we are all created equal even though I see those with the most money have the most say. I also still believe in the power of the voting booth.

    I’m feeling especially patriotic today. :)

  11. dduck

    We can keep plugging along until they plant us under a stone marker if you like.
    But whatever happened to cream pie in the face or rotten tomato activism? I am disgusted with the way politics is going and I believe the vast majority of the population feels exactly the same way. I really would welcome more displays of disrespectful public dissent at the whole process. We hold the right to vote as sacred, but we allow the process to be sullied and corrupted with a ridiculous media circus and campaign subterfuge by not going to war against the dishonest process. It’s become a media money boon and the media just eggs on the stupidity of it all, presumably for the entertainment value, at the expense of the nation. People really don’t know what they are voting for or against because the campaigns and the media are not forthcoming with anything straight forward!
    Details of what candidates want to do is always, without fail, intentionally vague. Question are not answered directly and debates are a complete waste of time to watch. If we are going to hold their feet to the fire to get to the truth then dammit start a fire!

    …but I digress.

  12. Carl, meantime while you wait for Nirvana, vote for whomever smells the least.

  13. dduck

    Meh, I’m leaning Romney. Simply because he’s not the incumbant.

  14. Carl:

    The president is a lot like a quarterback, he gets too much credit when the team wins, and takes too much blame when the team loses. I would argue that the most important choice the president has over the next 4 years is 2 supreme court nominations…which president would you prefer to nominate 2 justices who will be on the court for the next 30 years?

  15. S, good point.

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