Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Sandy, God and The Election

Based on ample factual evidence, it's safe to say an Obama win is expected today. So come tomorrow morning (if not sooner!), expect Republicans to begin the excuse-fest about why they lost.

And the excuses will be many. Of course, none being about themselves, their stand on issues, or in my mind their biggest problem: forcing presidential candidates to win over the far-right base by adopting extreme positions only to then have to try and tack to the middle to appeal to the more-moderate general electorate, in so doing appearing fractured, duplicitous and lacking consistency and convictions. As long as Republicans force their candidates to do this pretzel-twisting, they will never win the White House.

Anyway, no doubt Sandy will come up as a convenient excuse. They'll say Romney's momentum was cut short by the storm.

Problem is this so-called Romney momentum never existed, a complete myth. Instead for the last several weeks, it's Obama who has enjoyed the rising momentum as he has steadily recovered a large portion of the ground he lost post-first debate.

In fact, I would bet that if they had the choice Republicans would've weeks ago invited and prayed for a storm like Sandy to appear, hoping it did something, anything to halt Obama's steady rise. They'd get down on their knees praying it would become Obama's Katrina.

Well, Sandy came and wrecked, but no Katrina for Obama. Unlike the imbecilic GW, Obama has handled the post-Sandy response very well and if anything he's received a boost in approval ratings for his competent performance during this trying time. And Republicans are pissed.

But I ask: where are the usual folks who say God sent Sandy to punish the sinner blue states in the Northeast? Hmm, to me it looks like God sent Sandy to help insure Obama gets re-elected.

Monday, November 05, 2012

I'm Nervous (But Shouldn't Be)

I am nervous about this Tuesday. I know, I know, I fully realize the great Nate Silver has Obama's chances of winning at 80+% (86% to be exact). In fact, I tabulated projections from more than a few electoral map projection web sites. See below (click to enlarge).

Remind me again why I'm nervous? The average of the nine projections that exclude toss-ups gives Obama a solid 303-235 edge (270 needed to win). When you consider just those projections that include toss-ups, Obama's edge dwindles to 256-196 with an average 86 votes up in the air, but still a +60 net lead.

Which way will those 86 toss-up votes likely break? Well, given the fact there are nine projections that force the marginal votes to take a side, resulting in the 303-235 average, it gives you a very good sense which way those votes will break on average. Clearly the marginal (toss up) states tend to on average lean in Obama's favor, and thus the 256-196-86 becomes 303-235, again on average.

What does this mean, other than I shouldn't be so nervous? It means if come Tuesday night Obama wins by a very close call, the Republicans will have a weak case if they chose to become irate and demand recounts. The data above makes the convincing point that polls are swinging in Obama's direction. If anything, it argues that if Romney were to win -- whether by a hair or by blowout -- investigations would then be more justified versus if Obama were to win.

So again, why am I nervous? One reason is I think it's the natural inclination for liberals, to never take anything for granted and always have a healthy amount of skepticism about everything. But let's face it, it's also because we're dealing with an opposition party that has proven time and time again that they will stop at nothing when it comes to winning.

Oddly enough, the one person who has recently helped to allay my fears is NJ Governor Chris Christie. With the devastation of storm Sandy in his home state, Christie spent a fair amount of time touring NJ with Obama. I realize most governors would've likely done the same. However, given we're just days away from an important election and the governor in this case was the keynote speaker at the GOP convention and the president in this case is a Democrat running for re-election, one would've thought that the governor would have limited the time spent with the president and also limited or couched any praise given to said president. But that was not what happened at all. Christie spent an extended period of time with Obama and when it came to publicly expressing his opinions about how the president has been handling the post-Sandy fallout, Christie was extremely effusive in his praise for Obama, lauding him with one gushing compliment after another. It was striking.

I have to believe that if Christie felt Romney had even a remote chance of winning this Tuesday, he would've done things differently, curtailing the time spent with Obama and greatly tempering any kinds words said about him. Yes, New Jersey is a blue state and this obviously isn't lost on Christie, especially since he's up for re-election next November. But the governor is quite popular in his home state, meaning he didn't have to cozy up to Obama to shore up a weak approval rating. Instead, my bet is he did it because he could, he's a strong figure within his party and he has much leeway to do what he wants. That said Christie likely made the decision that it was in his interest -- for both 2013 and 2016 -- to be seen siding with Tuesday's eventual winner as opposed to the near-inevitable loser.

Christie is no dummy and while I don't agree with him on many issues, in this instance we're definitely on the same page.