Could Mitt Romney win the 2012 presidential election? What we said before, and now.

Long before the 2012 Presidential election became of interest to the general public, we reviewed what had to be done to win the election. In April 2011, we outlined the key States that would be critical, reviewed the approval ratings, the economic outlook, even the electoral math. In August 2011 we reviewed the situation and updated the approval ratings as well as unemployment figures, we considered the international impact on both an economic and political level. In April 2012 we took yet another look at the election landscape – once again updating the approvals, unemployment, factoring in the declared opponents, and international factors. We now present our last review.

From the outset we identified Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana (in that order) as States vital to a re-election of President Obama. In addition we determined that Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Oregon would be additional States that would be in play for the election.

We identified that the national debt, as factored by us from May 2011, was at $14.29 trillion and currently just exceeds $16 trillion.

We cited wild cards to affect the race as, though not limited to: Supreme Court decisions; Congressional legislation or lack thereof; European economies (ie Greece, Spain, et al); Middle East tensions (Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, continued development of nuclear material by Iran, Israeli reactions to Iran); North Korea; Republican VP choice; and natural disasters.

Obama vs Romney - 2nd presidential debate
Our summation from all prior reviews was that a realistic outlook for the electoral votes could be (270 are needed to win):

  • Romney – 272
  • Obama – 217
  • Unclear – 44

    Thus, as of April 2012, we predicted a win for Mitt Romney even if all the States we could not get a clear outlook on went for President Obama.

    The latest job approval rating for President Obama is 49.4% according to Real Clear Politics. In April 2011 it was 46.6%, August 2011 it was 43.5%, in April 2012 it was 48.3%. As the election has approached, and with the impact of other factors we will discuss, the rating has improved but has steadily maintained less than 50% approval. This is not a positive indicator and has not changed in any of our predictive reviews.

    As we previously stated, only 2 other Presidents have had comparable approval ratings in their 13th Quarter as President Obama’s (approval for the 13th Quarter was 45.9%) – George H.W. Bush (41.8%) and Jimmy Carter (47.7%). Both lost their re-election bids. Every other President going back to Eisenhower had 51% or more approval going into their re-elections. President Obama still has yet to reach this watermark.

    In addition to this, Gallup released a poll on enthusiasm of voters on July 9, 2012 that was not previously available to be reviewed. That poll was focused on the 12 States that Gallup rates as Swing States (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin). The results were that voters in those States were more enthusiastic to vote Republican than Democrat by no less than a 2% advantage. Comparing President Obama to Mitt Romney, there was a 4% advantage to Romney among these voters in this poll.

    As of August 2012, the last date we have data for, only 14 States had approval ratings at or above 50% for President Obama. None were on our list of vital States. The change in our vital States from April 2012 was an increase in all but 1 State (Indiana):

    Colorado – up 2.6% to 43%
    Florida – up 2.4% to 46%
    Indiana – down 1.9% to 38%
    Iowa – up .4% to 46%
    Nevada – up 3.7% to 45%
    New Hampshire – up 5.7% to 43%
    North Carolina – up 1.3% to 45%
    Ohio – up 1.9% to 44%
    Oregon – up 2.5% to 47%
    Pennsylvania – up 1.0% to 46%
    Virginia – up 1.4% to 46%

    The threshold for us to consider a State as potentially for an incumbent President is 50%. This is modified by the unemployment level of that State, especially if that is substantially different than the national average. Thus a growth in unemployment by say 2% over the national average is far more decisive to chances of re-election than a State with no change in unemployment, if both had 50% approval of the incumbent.

    The latest unemployment rates for each of our vital States, as of the most current (August 2012, adjusted) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data is:

    Colorado – 8.2% up .4% from April 2012
    Florida – 8.8% down .2%
    Indiana – 8.3% up .1%
    Iowa – 5.5% up .3%
    Nevada – 12.1% up .1%
    New Hampshire – 5.7% up .5%
    North Carolina – 9.7% Unchanged (since April 2011)
    Ohio – 7.2% down .3%
    Oregon – 8.9% up .3%
    Pennsylvania – 8.1% up .6%
    Virginia – 5.9% up .3%

    Only 2 States had a reduction in unemployment, of which Ohio was below the national unemployment rate at the time. Throughout our reviews, North Carolina has consistently maintained a 9.7% unemployment rate. The average of these 11 States was 8.04% unemployment, breeching an 8% threshold (the average when President Obama took office) in our calculations throughout the reviews. The average of these 11 vital States increased unemployment by .19% from April 2012.

    As for Mitt Romney, his general election poll rating has gone from 43.8% at the time of our last review to 47.4%, a 3.6% increase in electability. That poll rating also exceeds President Obama at 47% – a decrease of .7% from our April review.

    Satisfaction with the way things are going in the country increased 4% from our April review of 26% to 30%. These are levels not seen since mid-2009.

    “According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), 40.1% of the unemployed long-term (27 weeks or more) remained unchanged at 4.8 million. The Labor force participation rate was virtually unchanged at 63.6%… GDP of the nation slowed to 1.3% in the second quarter, the poverty rate is 15% based on the latest figures from the Census, mortgages in foreclosure or at least 30 days late in payment are 11.62% with new foreclosures up .82% in August…the US Debt Clock still has the actual number of unemployed at 22.7 million – 7.2% of the total population, but 15.9% of the actual workforce.”

    Considering all these factors, we previously believed that

    “Having reviewed the data, we believe that the true States in contention at this time are: Iowa, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

    We believe that Florida, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia will all go to Mitt Romney. New Hampshire and Colorado are likely to be narrowly won by President Obama if they can maintain or decrease the current unemployment levels.”

    Upon our final review we modify our position as follows:

    States in contention: Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon
    States for Obama: Virginia, Ohio (possible)
    States for Romney: Colorado (possible), Florida, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oregon (possible)

    Thus our updated call for the election [hit load to see our updated electoral map] is

  • Romney – 293
  • Obama – 235
  • Unclear – 10

    Regardless of the final electoral count, we expect that if President Obama cannot win at least 3 of these States – Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana in that order of importance – any chance of re-election is lost.

    As always, there are many factors that can alter this election. The final debate, gaffes by the candidates, disasters both man-made and natural, international politics, dramatic changes in the economy or reports on unemployment, terrorist actions, and any number of unforeseeable events could all have a demonstrative effect on the 11 vital States as well as the national populace.

    M V Consulting, Inc does NOT advocate any candidate or incumbent in any local, State, or national election. We seek to provide the broadest coverage and information on each candidate and incumbent so that voters may make an informed decision on how they want to vote – whatever that vote may be.

  • About the Author

    Michael Vass
    Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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