Our two-year quest to elect a president will (mercifully) conclude next Tuesday. No more campaign stops in Ohio, no more 30-second attack ads, no more fundraising letters — well, those letters are likely to keep coming. But a cold, hard reading of the most important trends and numbers tells us that Mitt Romney will be elected America’s 45th president. Here are the reasons why.
The composition of the electorate favors the GOP: Polls by both Gallup and Rasmussen predict a partisan electorate modeled more closely after 2004 than 2008. In 2004, the GOP’s edge among self-identified Republicans and the larger category of “lean Republican” carried George W. Bush to a narrow win. In 2008, Democrats held a large partisan edge (Gallup plus-12, Rasmussen plus-7), and then-Sen. Barack Obama coasted to victory. While it was not uncommon for surveys earlier this year to find Democrats’ partisan edge approaching double digits, both pollsters now see an electorate evenly divided between the parties with a slight edge to the GOP due primarily to heightened Republican voter intensity. Other surveys still show an edge to Democrats, but the margins are down to 3 or 4 percentage points.
In addition, surveys by the Tarrance Group find Romney with a double-digit lead among independents , a group vitally concerned about the economy and job creation, precisely the Romney closing message in the campaign. For that reason, Tarrance partner Ed Goeas feels that this Republican advantage could actually grow as Election Day approaches, resulting in a potentially larger GOP victory than is now being forecast.
The GOP ground game rivals the Democrats’: This is a surprising finding of two national surveys (ABC-Washington Post and NBC-Wall Street Journal). The number of households that report being contacted by the respective campaigns is virtually even. It was generally assumed that Obama would outperform his poll numbers because of superior organization, but that may not be the case. A wave of intensity and enthusiasm is powering one of the strongest Republican voter contact programs ever. Given the president’s deficit in the national polls, this can mean only bad news for Obama.