Jim Geraghty's NRO newsletter is called the "Morning Jolt," and it certainly earns its title this morning. Brace yourself (if you're a pessimist and want to hear the bad news first, go ahead and skip to the end).
A Cautious Electoral Map Projection
from a Decision-Desk Vet
I don't see a lot to disagree with in this assessment from John Ellis -- guru on all things political and financial, former Fox News decision-desk guy, Bush family cousin, and all-around interesting writer:
1. The great story of this election is Obama's collapsing support among non-Latino whites. Nowhere is this collapse more . . . complete than in the Southern states. That downdraft has taken North Carolina off the table and, I think, dooms Obama's efforts in Virginia and in Gold Coast and I-40 Florida. Those three states all lean Romney in my view.
2. I do think that Romney can win Pennsylvania if he made a major investment there, but itappears that he will not do so. If he doesn't, then I think Obama hangs on to win it. Ditto Michigan, although I think Pennsylvania is slightly better for Romney than Michigan for a number of complicated reasons that are too lengthy to get into here.
3. Polls indicate that Colorado is close and that Nevada is lean Obama. I was tempted to put Nevada in Obama's total, based largely on Mr. Ralston's view that the president will win the state. But I'm a week away from doing that. The Mormon vote there strikes me as a significant "x" factor. I am reasonably certain that Romney will win Colorado, based on a lot of input from friends in the state and pollsters whose judgment I trust.
4. Wisconsin has had two major, statewide recall elections in the last two years (one for State Supreme Court Justice and one for the recall of Governor Scott Walker). The Republicans won the State Supreme Court Justice recall election by a whisker. They won the gubernatorial recall election by a relative landslide. Things haven't much changed there, except that the 2012 presidential election features Paul Ryan as the GOP's vice presidential candidate. It's truly too close to call.
5. President Obama is slightly ahead in Ohio, but the race there seems destined to be decided by 25,000 votes or so. So I left it toss-up.
6. Iowa and New Hampshire are stone toss-ups. . . .
My somewhat larger view of the election is that Romney will win the popular vote. I'm assuming that Obama runs at 36-37% among non-Latino white voters (75% of the total vote, in all likelihood). That puts him at 27-28% of the total vote. If he does exactly as well as he did last time among non-white voters, he adds 21% to his national vote total. And he falls short of a majority.
So it may be that we end up with
a Romney win nationally
and an Obama win in the Electoral College.