As the presidential election enters the home stretch, the race is still tight according to the polls. Most recent national polls now give Mitt Romney the edge. Gallup shows Obama trailing by five points nationally. According to a new Rasmussen poll released today, Romney leads 49-47 percent.
In the swing states, many races are trending towards Romney as well. In Florida (29 electoral votes), the majority of polls show Romney in the lead. This is also true in North Carolina (15 votes).
The swing states of Virginia and Ohio remain a statistical tie. In both states, however, President Obama is polling at less than 50 percent, a bad sign for an incumbent. In Virginia (13 votes), Real Clear Politics average of polls shows the president with an average of 47 percent. In Ohio (18 votes), President Obama gets 48 percent. The most recent poll in Ohio is a Rasmussen sample that shows Mitt Romney leading 50-48.
Historical precedent shows that undecided voters usually vote against the incumbent. Polling Report studies found that over 80 percent of the time, undecided voters chose the challenger. The Incumbent Rule holds that incumbents rarely get a higher percentage of the vote than they receive in pre-election polls. This means that Mitt Romney will probably win in both Ohio and Virginia. These victories would give Romney 266 electoral votes, four short of the 270 required to win the White House.
There are many opportunities to win the extra four votes. In six states, President Obama leads in the polling, but with less than 50 percent. These states include Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. A win in any of these states along with victories in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia would seal Mitt Romney’s victory. Current polling suggests that he may win all of them. Currently polling also suggests that Oregon, where the president is polling at 48 percent, may be in play.
The situation is discouraging for Obama because the states in play are all states that he won in 2008. There are no states that voted for McCain in 2008 that are trending toward Obama this year. Several possible swing states (Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) are normally solidly Democratic.
The only swing state in which President Obama is polling at 50 percent or more is Nevada. Polls there have showed the president with 50 to 51 percent according to Real Clear Politics. This suggests a one to two point victory over Mitt Romney.
If the Incumbent Rule holds true, Mitt Romney will win the election with 331 electoral votes to Barack Obama’s 207. You can view the Atlanta Conservative Examiner’s prediction of the election’s outcome in detail on 270towin.com. You can also create your own electoral map.
Mitt Romney will also win the popular vote, avoiding a repeat of the divisive aftermath of the 2000 election in which George W. Bush won the electoral vote by winning Florida, but lost the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore. Based on current polls, Romney should win approximately 53 percent of the popular vote.
The idea of a Republican landslide in the presidential election is also supported by Gallup’s party identification poll. At this point in 2008, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 34 to 33 percent with 32 percent considering themselves independent. In 2010, Democrats still outnumbered Republicans, this time by 32 to 29 percent. Independents had increased to 36 percent. The most recent data, from September 2012, shows 28 percent Republican, 32 percent Democrat, and 38 percent independent. This is almost identical to 2010, when the Republicans won a congressional landslide.
Additionally, the Associated Press reported last week that Mitt Romney had closed the gender gap with President Obama as well. At one time, Obama had a 16 point advantage among women. The recent AP-Gfk poll now shows the two candidates tied at 47-47 among women. Previous polls have shown the president losing support among black voters and young voters, two core constituencies from 2008.
Barring a successful last-minute October surprise, it seems almost certain that Mitt Romney will not only win the presidential election, but that he will do so handily. What was a close race throughout the summer now seems to be trending toward a landslide.