John Ransom

Four years into Obama’s term and the economy is still terrible. Yes the 3rd quarter was stronger but next quarter won’t be good, nor will the 1st quarter of 2013. There’s a record amount of cash sitting around in fewer assets than ever before. That’s not a good sign. And the Federal Reserve seems panicky too. It’s never good when the Fed says they want to keep interest rates at zero for the next two years.

Consumer confidence is at the highest level it’s been at all year, but is that really enough?

Anything under 100 is considered anemic and we are currently at 72. And pretending that unemployment and underemployment are still not a drag on the economy happens nowhere outside the president’s council of economic advisors. 

Voters vote their pocket book. And the improvement in economic conditions says more about the blindness of the administration than it does about an economic miracle that will rescue Obama.          

Because, according pollster Chris Wilson at Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research, there is a lot of data from early voting that suggests turnout in 2012 will be much closer to 2010 than to 2008. (Sign up for Wilson's blog here).

“Tomorrow night (or more likely Wednesday morning),” writes Wilson in his election update to clients, “someone is going to look pretty bad.  It might be the pollsters who have continually insisted on using a 2008 model for their polls.  Or it will be pollsters like us and other analysts who have criticized the 2008 model as unrealistic and exaggerating Obama’s advantage.”

Wilson goes on to look at early voting in Ohio, Colorado, Iowa and Nevada, awarding each to Romney because early voting numbers tend to confirm that Obama’s not reaching the critical mass that generates turnout that he needs for a win.

Reading tea leaves

Now, for the very impatient, here are some hints in the latest early voting data distributed today by the AP:

         In Colorado, Republicans lead by two points in early vote turnout.

o   In 2008, Democrats lead by two points in early vote turnout.

o   That’s a four point swing toward Republicans; but not enough to erase Obama’s 2008 advantage without some big shifts among Independents.

o   And, recent polling has shown Obama leading Independents by just two points when he won them by ten in 2008, according to the exit polls.

o   So, based on this, Colorado goes Romney.

         In Iowa, Republicans have an 11 point gap in early votes so far, which compares to an 18 point gap in 2008.

o   Obama won Iowa in ’08 by more than nine points, so there will have to be an even bigger shift in Election Day votes to change the outcome.

o   So, based on this, Iowa goes Obama.

         Ohio is notoriously hard to judge for early voting because the only “party registration” is based on the last primary in which a voter cast a ballot.

o   But, based just on that measure and absentee/early ballot requests, Republicans have shaved a 14 point 2008 gap down to a six point gap (an eight point gain) in a state Obama won by less than five points in ‘08.

o   So, based on this, Ohio goes Romney.

         In Nevada, Republicans trail by seven points in early voting.

o   In 2008, they trailed in the two major counties (which made up 88% of the early votes cast) by 19 points.

o   Even accounting for the fact that the rural counties are more Republican, that’s a significant closing in a race Obama won by slightly under 13 points in 2008 and makes Nevada a very close race even assuming Independents don’t shift.

*But Romney leads among Independents by seven points in the latest Las Vegas Review Journal poll (Obama won Independents by 13 according to the 2008 exit polls).

o   So, based on this, Nevada goes Romney.

By Wilson’s estimate that leaves Romney at 268 electoral votes, just 2 shy of the 270 needed to win the presidency without considering states where early voting data isn’t a available such as “Virginia (Obama at 48% in RCP average), New Hampshire (Obama at 49% in RCP average), and perhaps even a Pennsylvania (Obama at 50% in RCP average), Wisconsin (Obama at 50% in RCP average) or even Oregon (Obama at 50% in RCP average).  All those RCP (Real Clear Politics) averages are based on polls relying on 2008 models.”

Wilson gets paid to do this for a living. True he’s a Republican pollster, but in order to make a living at it, he needs to be right. A lot. And he is. A lot.

He’s one of the smartest guys in the business.

In 2008, Obama won the national vote total by 8 million votes. In simple terms, if 4 million and 1 votes had voted the other way, Obama wouldn’t have been elected.  Obama took the field in 2008 because voter intensity amongst Democrats was higher than for Republicans.

He’ll lose because voter intensity is polar opposite from 2008.

Ask yourself this:  After four years of  Obamanomics, are four million voters sorry they have voted for Obama?

Certainly; more than four million in fact. 

I think I personally know at least that many.

And on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning so will Barack Obama.  

John Ransom

John Ransom’s writings on politics and finance have appeared in the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Colorado Statesman, Pajamas Media and Registered Rep Magazine amongst others. Until 9/11, Ransom worked primarily in finance as an investment executive for NYSE member firm Raymond James and Associates, JW Charles and as a new business development executive at Mutual Service Corporation. He lives in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @bamransom.

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