With less than a week to go to the November national elections, popular polls show Obama and Romney are either in a dead heat tie or Romney slightly ahead in the popular vote. What counts, of course, is not the popular vote but the archaic US system of electoral college votes—a legacy of one of the most undemocratic procedures borne from the US Constitution.
Much focus by the press in recent days has been on the so-called ‘swing states’ which will decide the election outcome. Apart from the swing states with their potential electoral votes, this writer’s estimate is that Romney has 204 electoral votes firmly in hand while Obama has 224. Romney’s total includes states like Arizona (10) and Montana (3) that some pollsters erroneously indicate as swing but will go, as they always have, to the Republican candidate. Obama’s total includes Pennsylvania (21), Michigan (17), Minnesota (10) and Oregon (7), all leaning comfortably toward Obama.
That leaves the true swing states with electoral votes as follows:
Virginia 13, Colorado 10, Ohio 18, Florida 29, North Carolina 15, Wisconsin 10, Iowa 6, Nevada 6, and New Hampshire 4.
Pundits have identified Ohio and Florida as the key swing states. Whoever wins the two, easily wins the election. But Ohio and Florida are not the key. That’s because it appears increasingly that Romney and Obama will split these two largest states. Obama is ahead in Ohio, giving him 18 more votes and Romney in Florida, giving him 29 more.
The tally then is Obama with 242 and Romney with 233.
Of the remaining swing states, this writer predicts Nevada (6), Iowa (4) and even Wisconsin (10) will go to Obama—the latter the home state of Republican VP Ryan. That gives Obama another 20 electoral votes, for a total of 262. 270 are needed to win. Should Romney prevail in North Carolina (15) and New Hampshire (4),where he is ahead, he would have 252 total electoral votes.
That leaves Virginia (13) and Colorado (9) as the remaining key states. And they are in a statistical dead heat toss up. Both states polling show 47.8% popular support for both candidates in both states.
Obama has to win at least one of the two, Colorado or Virginia. Romney has to win both. That means a slight advantage to Obama, but with a dead heat in both and momentum in the final week going to Romney, Obama could easily lose both states.
The coming election promises to be the tightest not only in terms of popular vote but also electoral votes, with margins of less than 20 and even as little as 10 between the two candidates. This writer has noted since 2011 that the outcome will depend upon whether Obama can turn out the vote for those who supported him in 2008 but who have become deeply discouraged and disappointed in his pro-corporate policies and constant concessions to business and Republicans since the summer of 2010. If these erstwhile supporters vote with their backsides and stay home, Obama will lose. That raises the ironically strange outcome of the US electing a financial speculator-banker, Romney, four years after the same crowd of banker-speculators brought us the banking crash of 2007-08 and the chronic no-recovery economy (for us, not them) of the past four years. The choice for the US electorate in this strange national election year has been to vote either for a set of policies that have not brought general economic recovery (Obama) and that will likely not do so for another four years, or to vote for a set of policies (Romney) that will make conditions still worse and return the US to yet another reshuffled version of Bushonomics-Reaganomics that has contributed much to the current continuing economic crisis.
It’s all the more strange, given that a national Gallup poll recently showed that 61% of independents are in favor of another political party, neither Democrat or Republican, and even 60% of liberals and conservatives say the same.
What the current election debates and the past decade together have shown is that there isn’t a two party system in America. There’s a one-party system with two wings. Time to create a true alternative, is it not?
Jack Rasmus is the author of the 2012 book, ‘Obama’s Economy: Recovery for the Few’, and host of the radio show, ‘Alternative Visions’, on the Progressive Radio Network, PRN.FM. He blogs at jackrasmus.com and can be followed on twitter at #drjackrasmus. His website is www.kyklosproductions.com.