So my completely arbitrary math we’re roughly at the 1st quarter of my Election 2012 predictions, and I figured it’d be a good chance to see how I’ve done so far, see how things are looking, and try and project how the rest of this thing is going to shake out.
Back in November I made three major predictions about Election 2012:
1. Mitt Romney would win the GOP nomination- So far, so good. My prediction is looking good on two fronts – one, that Romney would sew up the early states before the opposition could coalesce, and that Gingrich would be the one to mount the primary opposition to him. In my follow-up post during the 1st Gingrich “surge”, I predicted that Gingrich would be better at sidestepping landmines than the other one-week wonders – I’m not sure that’s true, as he’s had his fair share of dirty laundry aired, but I think he’s been much, MUCH better at turning the attacks around and trying to gain advantage (see: South Carolina debate attacks on the media.)
My summary from November is still looking good, so I’ll leave it on the board for February:
I think that the rest of the field will stay in the field for long enough to muddy the waters. Romney will continue to consolidate his support and run as if he already has the nomination. He’ll do well in the early primaries and Republicans will start to read the writing on the wall, and he’ll have a commanding lead before any of the other candidates can unite the opposition to Romney.
2. Bob McDonnell will be the GOP Vice Presidential Candidate:
I said in November this was my most-likely-to-be-wrong prediction, but I stand by it. He’s already been on the campaign trail for Romney and he hasn’t exactly played the rumors down. My logic in November was that Romney needs a Southerner with solid evangelical and/or Tea Party credentials to fire up the base – if it’s not McDonnell, it will be someone that looks just like him. It’s pretty much impossible to be anyone in the current field – the fight has been way too bloody to make nice and start campaigning together.
3. Barack Obama will win reelection for President: Specifically, I predicted:
[A] decent-size victory for Obama, with a 2M-3M vote edge in the poopular vote and a more narrow Electoral victory
In November, I predicted that the Mormon factor would cost Romney turnout. It’s essentially impossible to measure how much this has hurt him, and I may have overestimated it – it’s possible that because Mormon’s have a relatively clean and conservative reputation, even hard-core Evangelicals will be OK with a Mormon candidate, as long as he can beat Obama.
That said, I’m quite certain the “rich guy” factor is going to hurt him -he’s likable enough most of the time, but he’s he has a tin ear. When he gets the nomination and is head-to-head with Obama, I think it’s almost a given that he’ll keep making those sound-bite moments and it will make it very difficult to sell the “outsider” image he’s going for.
The economy is showing signs of life right now – I stand by my follow-up prediction regarding the election:
If the economy lapses back into recession, Obama almost certainly loses, my earlier prediction notwithstanding. If it improves substantially, he almost certainly wins, regardless of the GOP nominee. If it stays the same or only improves slightly, I still think he wins…..but by a much more narrow margin.