History and the numbers say Barack Obama will be re-elected tomorrow. History and the intangibles suggest Mitt Romney will unseat him. Which will prevail?
Let’s look at each.
The numbers have moved solidly in Obama’s favor. He caught Romney in the Real Clear Politics average of national opinion polls on Halloween after trailing for the better part of the previous three weeks. More importantly, he holds leads — usually narrow leads, but leads nonetheless — in enough swing states to push him past the threshold of 270 electoral votes (EVs).
There’s been much parsing of the polls this year, much of it focused on the partisan-ID breakdowns that various pollsters were using. A poll of “likely voters” inherently tells us something about who the pollster believes will actually bother to vote, and that’s as much art as it is science. Many pollsters have been forecasting an electorate similar to that of 2008, a wave election that saw Obama rack up 365 EVs and the Democrats claim a huge