For today’s discussion from  “The Unmitigated Word: Arma-Lection Edition”, my fellow blogger the Hippie Conservative and I, the brave and intrepid host of this blog, offer our bold predictions for next week’s election. Check it out!

Opening statement by The Hippie Conservative (HC):

The 2012 presidential election is winding down and in a few short days we will all know the outcome. It’s been a spirited and sometimes contentious past few months. I’ve very much enjoyed our debates on this site, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you and especially Andre for allowing me the privilege of writing here. Knowing how different people view issues and ideology is very important to understanding each other and celebrating the diversity that I’m sure will keep America strong. No other nation can compete with our diverse human resources and it is that strength that will see us through whatever lies ahead. Despite the attempts to divide us by both sides we should all remember that Mitt and Barack are both outstanding citizens, fathers, husbands and patriots who want only the best for this country. They differ only in their view of what is best for us. No matter the winners, we will march on as we have for centuries and we will learn what makes us better as a nation and what does not. I would invite everyone to join me in supporting whoever wins, no matter the past and to remember that it is fear and hate that divides us. It has no good place in our future together.

…now, for our predictions:

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

HC: Of all my predictions, this is the hardest. With most states now winner take all (only Nebraska and Maine are proportional) the map has tightened to a point where one or two states could shift the votes that actually count-The Electoral College.  Recently, new information has come to light (for me) about the way the Electoral College allocates votes that I found very interesting. Due to a new initiative that I was unaware of, several states, including California, have signed up for something called the National Popular Vote. While it is not in practice yet, this would require states to allocate their E.C. votes to the Presidential candidate who wins the nation’s popular vote. You Obama supporters should thank your lucky stars that it didn’t get the states necessary to enact it yet, as it’s still possible, and your best hope, for President Obama to take the E.C. (as I’ve posted before) while losing the popular vote. An absolute irony considering that it’s being pushed in response to the 2000 election. While I’m predicting that Romney will win the E.C. (barely), it’s so close in Wisconsin that he may also take that state. That would give him a larger edge. Romney at this point only has to win either Wisconsin or Ohio by my figures. President Obama, on the other hand, has to win both. I’m predicting that Romney will take Ohio and thus the E.C. and possibly Wisconsin (50/50) to take the Presidency. It will be close. Romney: 271, Obama: 267

Me: Though we should never get in the habit of politicizing tragedy (no names mentioned, Rudy G.), Hurricane Sandy will – pardon the expression – blow Obama ahead and ultimately lead to him winning the election, even if it’s only the Electoral College. His swift reaction to a major disaster coupled with a very calculated decision to suspend his campaign in order to supervise the relief effort from the Oval Office has given Obama a leg up. As I said on my Twitter, while Romney was taking about leadership, Obama took a step back from the campaign to BE a leader. Much like President Bush’s post 9/11 bump, Obama’s post-Sandy bump will provide the edge he needs to win. In addition to that, Democrats have been quick to blast Romney’s past opposition to FEMA; particularly his contention that states – more than the federal government – should be responsible for the most significant disaster relief efforts.

Now to the Electoral College directly. The biggest states still in play would be Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. With respect to each state: Colorado will be close. VERY close. Uncomfortably close But Obama will pull it off. Wisconsin, being a pro-union state despite the recent victory by Gov. Walker against unions, will also go to Obama by a larger margin that I once expected (4-5 points would be my estimate). I see Virginia shifting in favor of Romney, despite a significantly shrinking unemployment rate. Obama will need huge turnouts from Northern Virginians, which I don’t see happening this year. He will, however, win Michigan largely due to the blue collar, automotive industry. Romney’s op-ed (regardless to what he actually meant) will spell his doom. Democrats have been looping it over and over again and their message will hit home in the Wolverine state. Ohio will once again be the state to determine the election, where I believe Obama will win by the slimmest of margins. The unemployment rate is lower there than the average national rate, which will will boost Obama. The general consensus is that Romney will take Florida. I happen to agree. Obama only managed to squeak out a small win in 2008, but he won’t take Florida this year. Not even the Republican attack on immigration will be enough for Obama to win there. Iowans are generally populists and give a side eye to neoconservatism, especially when it steps closer and closer to the fringe. This will favor Obama, as he pulls off the win. Pennsylvania will be fought pretty hard for, as I don’t predict Romney will concede this state until the last vote. But this state is making a gradual shift to being permanently blue. It won’t stop now. Obama wins and ultimately wins the Electoral College. Obama 290, Romney 248

THE POPULAR VOTE

HC:  This is much easier. I’m predicting that Romney will take the popular vote by a decent margin (2-5%). This is quite contrary to the skewed polling (oversampling of Dems and women) most of you have been seeing. I have noticed that several media outlets like MSNBC, CNN, and ABC have been selectively using polls that are out of the norm in favor of Obama. I can only assume this is to keep you encouraged and set the stage for accusations of fraud. I would highly recommend that in the future you turn to more reliable sources like Realclearpolitics that uses most all polls and then an average of those polls. Another reason it’s not going to turn out as your polls are claiming is there’s going to be some Bradley effect, the enthusiasm gap favors Republicans by 10% which is uncommon, men are going to be way down for Barack, particularly white men who came out for Obama in 2008 with the biggest numbers since Jimmy Carter but are now not feeling the love and to top it off Jews are going to stay home and some will even change sides due to a feeling of abandonment on Israel. In the end, all of this I believe will combine to give Romney a 2% advantage not seen in the polling and lead him to a solid popular vote advantage.

Me: I’ll make this one short and simple, since it’s really the Electoral College that matters. That said, I see Obama winning the popular vote by 2-3 points.

SENATE

HC: Control of the Senate will be very close. I’m predicting a 1 to 2 Senate seat advantage for the Democrats or a tie. This means a 50/50 Senate would give Romney the win with Vice President Paul Ryan casting the deciding votes. My prediction is not in line with most pundits that are predicting the Senate will easily stay in Democrat control. I am, however, giving an edge to the Democrats (70% vs. 30%) to remain in control possibly up to 3 seats but no higher.  This will be a nail biter. I can’t see any way the Republicans could have anything better than a 1 seat advantage. For the record, I would prefer the Democrats control the Senate as I feel divided government governs the best.

Me: I predict big gains for Republicans in the Senate. When Congressional approval ratings are low, the electorate tends to do partisan-based ‘spring cleaning.’  Of the 33 Senate seats up for grabs this year, 23 are Democratic. So you can probably count on more Democratic senators getting the boot. Adding to that dynamic is a lethargic economy and a stubbornly high unemployment rate, opening the door to a massive flip in control. In 2006, the nation was growing decidedly disillusioned by the botched war in Iraq, which led to a changing of the guard in favor of the Democrats. In 2008, they increased their margin significantly, ending up with fifty-nine seats. However, 2010 saw a Tea Party-led rebellion and looming economic/housing crises, resulting in Democrats losing the House and watching their cushiony majority in the Senate dissolve. This year, I see the Dems control vanishing altogether.

Because the vice-presidency is crucial to control of the Senate, in order to take over control, the Republicans will need to have a positive gain of three to five seats in order to make a significant dent (assuming Romney wins and Paul Ryan becomes VEEP). With 23 seats up for grabs, Republicans getting that much needed swing is not only doable, but pretty likely.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

HC:  Control of the House is the easiest of all my predictions. The Republicans will control the House as they do now with the Democrats picking up several seats. How many is a little harder to predict as House races are very local. I’m going to put down an educated guess (it’s the best I can do) and say the Dems will gain 5 to 10 seats. Of all my predictions, the exact number is the prediction I am the least sure about.

Me:  I’m no fool. Though House Republicans have pulled some ridiculous shenanigans over the past couple of years since the midterms, I join HC in predicting their control will hold. But I think Democrats will make things interesting by winning several seats. There are a couple of reasons why:

First, straight ticket voting might be their saving grace. Party loyalties are much stronger now than they’ve been before. In that same vein, congressional elections are getting more and more nationalized after each election. Given that split ticket voting has decreased over time and more Americans are blaming failed Republican policies on many of the social and economic issues we face, you can expect to see a rise in Democratic support. Unfortunately for the Dems, it won’t be enough to secure the House. But it will be enough to cause a dent.

Secondly, redistricting may favor Democrats in certain key areas. In states where Republicans control redistricting, the GOP may be able to redraw the lines to protect potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents. However, the ability of Republican legislatures to protect their party’s House incumbents may be limited by the dramatic increase in the past decade in the nonwhite share of the population in many states. Simply put, the drastic redistricting after the 2010 midterms might hurt Republicans, given recent demographic shifts by key voting blocs.

Closing remarks:

HC:  Ok, that is my 2012 Presidential race predictions. I’m anxiously waiting to see how I did on November 7th. No matter your political leanings, please go out and vote. It is your most sacred duty to yourselves and our nation. Remember that people in other countries like South Africa have stood in the rain for days to do what most of us take for granted.  I’m sorry to say that no matter the winners, there will be the usual accusations of fraud and disenfranchisement. No election is completely clean and we should all strive to keep them as pure and honest as possible. People who are caught and convicted of voter fraud should be punished harshly, but I’m asking all of you to accept the results as I will and support your President, whoever it shall be, as I will and always have.

Me: I have a pretty good history of making predictions. I predicted Obama’s landslide electoral college victory last year, I successfully predicted a Michigan BCS win, and I called the 2010 midterm election turnaround with freakish accuracy. So I think I’m pretty on base with my predictions this time around. Though it’s too early to tell anything even at this point in the contest, I think President Obama has a pretty good chance of keeping his spot in the Oval Office. With Obama winning, I see that translating into big wins for the Democrats in the House, though not enough for them to secure control. Mostly though, I’m interested in seeing a few things: (1) how redistricting will effect this year’s electoral outcome, (2) whether the electorate will resemble the one from 2008 or 2010, and (3) how straight ticket voting will impact the election. Whatever happens, I can promise fireworks.

Either way, don’t miss your chance to take part in this election. I won’t tell you who to vote for…just that you need to get out an vote.

Holler at us!

H.C.  and ACL