[16 September 2012 - Part Three of this series is located - here - ]
[24 October 2012 - Part Four and the Final of this series is located - here - ]
The latest polling information released today by USA Today / Gallup does not bode well for President Obama's re-election efforts. In a poll taken across a dozen key swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin), the President is trailing both of the GOP Presidential candidate frontrunner's - trailing Mitt Romney by 5 points (48-43) and Newt Gingrich by 3 points (48-45).
These results are reflecting trends that are starting to become more apparent the closer we get to the 2012 election - and the policies / agenda of the President fail to stimulate any real economic recovery. All of these 12 key swing states, which went for President Obama in 2008, and comprise 151 electoral votes in 2012, are in play for 2012 as both moderate Democrats and Independents appear to be moving away from supporting President Obama.
Using the excellent site, 270toWin, one can experiment and try to project the impact / ways to win for the candidates in 2012.
Here is the snapshot of the 2012 Electoral Vote map with the dozen swing states showing as undecided. The other states are as they voted in 2008 - which is how they appear to be breaking down for 2012.
President Obama at this point has 208 electoral votes. The Republican candidate is sitting with 179 electoral votes. The swing states represent 151 electoral votes. How they fall will determine the victor in the 2012 election.
Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and New Hampshire are all trending very strong towards the Republican side of the ledger at this point. All three states voted strongly Republican in the 2010 midterm elections, and I do not expect this to change at all based on current information. President Obama won these states in 2008 based on the high enthusiasm towards his candidacy and the large percentage of Independents in these states who voted for him. After 3 1/2 years in office, the President is losing most of these Independents and except for his hard left base, there is little evidence of pro-Democrat enthusiasm on the level of 2008.
With these states in the Republican side of the ledger, the Republican electoral vote total increases to 240 - only 30 short of the 270 needed for a win. At this point, the Democrats have 18 possible winning combinations of the remaining states, the Republicans have 29 possible winning combinations, and there are 3 possible combinations that would result in an electoral vote tie.
Of the remaining 8 key swing states, the largest, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin offer some additional challenges to the President and the Democrat hopes to retain the White House.
Wisconsin in 2011 was a battleground between the Conservative policies and agenda of Governor Scott Walker and the newly elected Republican legislative majority and the Union's that comprise the core of the Progressive Democrat base. Early in 2011, Walker and the Legislature undertook steps to rein in the power of public sector unions in order to enact fiscal reforms at the state and local level to address major fiscal challenges and deficits. Despite Democrat lawmakers fleeing the state, reforms were passed that did address the fiscal challenges. The Democrats attempted to reverse these changes via recall elections, but the Republican majority was maintained. Now the Democrats are trying to recall Scott Walker via an election. This is seen as a longshot as the people of Wisconsin are seeing the positive effects of Walker's policies. It is a strong possibility that Wisconsin will go Republican as they are experiencing the positive effects of the Conservative agenda.
Michigan also went Republican in their last major election as the state suffered significantly from decades of Progressive leadership and policies. Even though it has not voted Republican for a Presidential candidate since George H. W. Bush's 1988 win over Michael Dukakis, there is a strong chance that the momentum of the 2010 Republican swing will remain as the economy weighs heavily on Michigan residents.
Ohio also moved to the right in the 2010 midterms, although their efforts to reform public sector unions and address the fiscal challenges of the state suffered a reversal when the Democrats and their union base were successful in overturning the Ohio legislation to reduce the power of public sector unions. The result of this was a return to the statewide fiscal crisis -and new rounds of layoffs across the state. Will this be enough to swing Ohio back to the GOP? Or will the unions and Democrats flood the state with money and vicious campaign tactics as they did for the reversal of the Ohio law in order to win? I suspect that they will - but this will not be able to swing the state to the Obama column at the end of the day.
Pennsylvania is the interesting story thusfar when we look at the 2012 election. Reports coming from the DNC appear that they not only believe that the state is in play, but that the traditional Democrat powerhouses of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are not going to be enough to offset the anger in the state against the economic policies of the President. There is a real possibility that this state, far more than New Jersey which voted in Republican Chris Christie as Governor in 2009, will flip to vote Republican for the first time in a Presidential race since 1988.
If Pennsylvania votes Republican, and keeping all of the other remaining swing states, including Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, undecided, the Republicans will find themselves only 10 electoral votes short of a victory. There are 9 possible combinations of the 7 remaining undecided states that can give the Republicans a win to only 3 possible combinations for President Obama. If Pennsylvania does vote Republican, that could be the back breaker for the President's re-election efforts.
2012 is going to be an election based on a referendum of the policies and agenda of President Obama and Progressives. The results achieved, or more specifically, the lack thereof, will have a lot to do with the turnout and the voting direction. People will be asking themselves if they are better off now than they were in 2008 - even though the recession and banking crisis was at it's nadir during the election season. The President is looking to not only flood the airways with advertisements spending a targeted $1 Billion to gain re-election, but will also run one of the dirtiest campaigns ever seen as his base attempts to maximize voter turnout and leverage voter fraud as much as they can.
After increasing the national debt by over $5 Trillion in his first term, exceeding the amount of increase of President George W. Bush over 8 years, with Obamacare, Dodd / Frank, and $1.3+ Trillion annual budget deficits standard, the President does not have a record to run on. In a normal world, all 12 of these swing states would vote Republican, but this isn't a normal world any longer. We are in the midst of an ideological war.