Election Predictions from PJ Media Columnists
Will Obama win re-election in a nail-biter? Is a landslide victory in the cards for Romney? Do Republicans have a shot at taking control of the Senate? Find out what Roger L. Simon, VDH, Spengler, Claudia Rosett, Roger Kimball, and the rest of PJM's columnists think will happen on Tuesday ... (Updated with prediction from Andrew C. McCarthy)
November 5, 2012 - 12:00 am
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY
This is the most extraordinary election in American history – dismayingly so. In the Obama years, the American press has gone from mere cheerleader for the Democratic candidate to adjunct of his campaign. It is therefore more difficult than it has ever been to get a read on the dynamic of the race. For almost all of President Obama’s term, polling has been more a media device to shape public opinion than a dispassionate barometer to report public opinion – reporting as “mainstream” the perceptions and programs of skewed samples.
Now, as we’ve come down to the wire, the press is worried about its reputation (talk about locking the barn after … reminds us of post-Lewinsky Clinton fretting over his legacy!). Suddenly, the polling is tighter and elucidates a tide running in Gov. Romney’s direction. But who really knows how much? I suspect Romney was never really as far behind as suggested by wishful media dispatches – many of which had the election over before the conventions even convened. Such reporting was always ill-premised because the election was never about Romney. It has always been about Obama. It has been about whether the real-world perception of how bad things are registers more than the Potemkin portrait, fashioned by the Left’s opinion leaders, of a nation on the brink of sunny times thanks to Obama’s strong, steady hand.
I don’t pretend to know the answer to that ultimate question. But I do know two things. First, it has only been two years since Americans were inspired to give Democrats a historically significant “shellacking” – at every level of government. Read the legacy papers and watch the near-extinct dinosaurs of establishment TV news, and you’ll hear little about Tea Partiers beyond sniffling from the bipartisan ruling-class and commentariat, painting them as unrepresentative racist Troglodytes. My sense, to the contrary, is that the Tea Party – which is a grass-roots movement, not a “party” – is actually quite representative of ordinary Americans, that its legions have not faded away, that the things galvanizing them have gotten worse since 2010, and that they are more broadly motivated to dispense with Obama than his forces are to retain him.
Second, regardless of what the polls say, Obama obviously believes he is in big trouble. He finds himself having to fight for votes in places he needs to have in the bag if he is going to be reelected. And it is not a propitious time to fight for votes when the tide is running in the other guy’s favor; when a hurricane has just reminded people in key states that infrastructure was utterly ignored while the administration paid off its cronies with over $800 billion in our “stimulus” money; and when the drip, drip, drip of Benghazi, despite the Obamedia’s best efforts to black-hole it, evolves from monumental debacle to an impeachable debacle.
Mitt Romney wins … decisively.
– Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor and New York Times bestselling author.
ROGER L. SIMON
I have never been superstitious. But this election is so important, so really… titanic… that I find myself suddenly throwing the I Ching and reaching for Ouija boards to determine what will happen.
Well, not really, because as a natural worrier (an ethnic tradition) I often fear the future and part of me doesn’t want to know. And this time more than ever because an Obama victory would mean the country I love is not what I think it is, that it has turned into a land of thoughtless sheep.
Nevertheless the part of me that is not superstitious trusts the one person who knows more about elections than anyone I know — my friend Michael Barone. Michael says Romney will win. So I’m choosing to believe him, when my blood sugar is okay anyway.
But as another man once said, “Trust, but verify.” We will all verify on Tuesday.
– Roger L. Simon is the co-founder and CEO of PJ Media.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON
I think Romney will win by a point and the Republicans will come up one or two seats short in the Senate. Three things are happening in Obama’s favor. First, the time between the debate lengthens, and the electorate now sees him prancing around in a bomber jacket, not as the petulant, interrupting, unpresidential sophist who seemed unappealing before millions on TV. Second, the storm simply cut short Romney’s momentum: one day all the stories were about Romney’s new huge crowds and soaring clips of his message, the next day Obama and Chris Christie, arm in arm on the shore, dominated the news, with gaga media reports of presidential leadership. Third, the news from Benghazi just gets worse each day — and the silence from the Romney campaign becomes deafening. There is this quiet recognition that all hell is going to break loose after the election, but for some reason criticism of the deadly catastrophe has become off-limits. So I can see why a week ago Romney was starting to create wave-like momentum, but now, based on independent voting and Republican turnout, I think he has just enough thrust left to hang on by a point — if he can barnstorm and give ‘em hell these last two days.
– Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.
It seems safe to predict that if President Obama wins, it will be close. If there’s a landslide coming, it’s for Romney. But apart from that, I’d be lying to suggest that I could with any confidence foretell which way this election will go. Were this the America of, say, 32 years ago, I’d be predicting a Romney landslide, and a GOP majority in the Senate. But for all the torrents of data, demographics, and media accounts now at our fingertips, I think the character of this country is harder to gauge right now than at any time I can remember. I don’t trust the polls, and I don’t know how much weight the voters at the margin will assign to the latest weekly-news-cycle photo-op tableaus flashing across the iPad screen, or the realities of terror in Benghazi, and an economy choking on red tape and burying itself in government debt, for which the real bills have not yet begun to come due.
We have seen a massive expansion of the entitlement state, and a troubling loss of memory about the vital role and full virtues of free markets — not only in creating wealth, but in protecting freedom. We have tried abdicating world leadership, but the ensuing tumult is only beginning to make itself felt. Modern technology has made us richer than I think we have fully been able to measure, and yet I am reminded too often these days of T.S. Eliot’s line: “Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?” The jury is out right now, on whether the boundless proliferation of 140 character tweets enhances or substitutes for backbone and clarity of thought, and whether such luxuries would have helped or hindered Paul Revere. We will know the results of this election soon enough (barring the nightmare of an endless recount). It is this election itself that will provide some badly needed insight into the basic character of 2012 America. (I’ve placed my bet, with a couple of folks whose company I prize. The stakes are modest: the losers pay for a round of pulled pork sandwiches at a local pub. But this was more by way of a hedge than a prediction — banking on an evening in good company, whatever happens at the polls.)
– Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and heads its Investigative Reporting Project.
Romney is going to win, big time. Why? I can tell you in three syllables and a few numbers. The syllables are: Ben-gha-zi. We will not get to the bottom of the cover-up of why Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were left to die in that god-forsaken Libyan city, their desperate calls for help repeatedly ignored, before the election. But it has been clear for some time now that there was a cover-up of major proportions. The story is not being pursued by the New York Times or other representatives of the legacy media. (Just imagine what round-the-clock howls of indignation and rage the legacy media would be emitting over this heinous bit of political calculation were there a Republican administration in office!) But the studied “hear-no-evil, see-no-evil, report-no-evil” if it comes from the Left has not done the trick this time. The “Fast and Furious” scandal, which has left scores of Mexicans and at least two Americans dead, has been effectively keep from public consciousness. This is not the case with the Benghazi scandal. Hardly a day goes by now when more details are revolved and repeated by the alternative media from giants like Fox News to the hundreds of bloggers that do the job the legacy media has avoided. As my colleague Roger L. Simon suggested on PJ Media last week, even if (per impossible) Obama were reelected, he would likely face impeachment proceedings of a virulence that would make Watergate appear like a walk through the park.
But Benghazi is a late-breaking scandal. I had put Romney down as the victor long before the September 11 attacks in Libya. The reason can be summed up in a few numbers:
$16 trillion: the amount of the federal debt.
$1 trillion: the amount of money we are now paying out in welfare benefits.
$1-point-something trillion: the size of the deficits Obama has run every year he’s been in office.
23 million: the number of Americans un- or underemployed.
7.9 percent: the current official unemployment rate (the real rate is much higher).
46.37 million: the number of people on food stamps.
$4-plus: the price per gallon for gasoline.
You can extend the list. For the first time in his life, Barack Obama has to run on his record, not his race. There is no way to look at the numerical profile of his tenure and come to any other conclusion than that it has been an unmitigated disaster. Blaming George Bush, or Europe, or global warming, or the Republicans just won’t wash. Obama’s policies, minted in the left-wing, spread-the-wealth-around ideological factory, are clearly to blame. People understand this in their bones. The next four years under Obama would be same as the last four years, only worse, because we would be that much poorer, that much more heavily regulated, that much more under the thumb of an engorging activist governmental bureaucracy.
No, Obama is toast.And for the same reason, Republicans will also take the Senate, and by more than a couple of seats.Tuesday, I predict, will be a blood bath for Democrats as fiscal reality, not to mention a sense of enraged national honor, washes like a tsunami over the hapless Democratic Party, denuded now of everything except a viperish petulance and demand for what the President tellingly called “revenge.” The adults in the political process are just about to make a big comeback, which will be good for the country but decidedly unpleasant for the party of redistribution and statist triumphalism.
– In addition to his work at PJ Media and The New Criterion, Roger Kimball is the publisher of Encounter Books, a purveyor of serious non-fiction titles from a broadly construed conservative perspective.
Who is going to win the presidency? I don’t know. Furthermore, nobody else does either. Everyone is biased; everyone has an agenda. Even those who imagine themselves to be neutral.
There are actually three kinds of bias this year when it comes to political predictions: Liberals who invariably declare Obama will win; conservatives who invariably declare Romney will win; and neutral nonpartisan analysts who invariably insist that it’s possible to predict the outcome at all. But they’re all wrong.
The most important PJ Media post I made this season is “WE ARE THE 91%: Only 9% of Americans Cooperate with Pollsters.” That’s really all you need to know: Every single poll is a joke, because only 9% of people even cooperate with them. There is almost certainly a huge self-selection bias among the 91% who refuse to participate, meaning that as a group they most likely share some characteristics. And since this group of stubborn unknowns is literally ten times the size of the sample group from which laughable conclusions are being drawn, the potential for massive polling errors is extremely large. For all we know, either Obama or Romney could be up 70-30 or 80-20.
In my post I argued that the non-respondents are more likely to tilt Romney than otherwise, and I still think that’s true. But in reality no one really knows who the non-responders are — by definition their beliefs are unknown.
Since this disqualifies polls and polling from any predictions I may make, all I can go on are vague impressions of “enthusiasm” and “energy” in either political camp. At the moment it really seems like the enthusiasm advantage goes strongly to the Republicans, but that impression is itself basely entirely on media and blog reports, and I have no idea how accurate they are, since the anecdotal reports could be slanting facts as well.
I could lie and say I “know” Romney will win, but that would merely be my attempt to further inspire confidence and enthusiasm among conservative voters. Do I want Romney to win? Yes. Do I suspect he will win? Yes. Do I have a gut feeling he will win? Yes. But that’s all I got. No stats. No numbers. Just a feeling. And the same is true for everyone else on both sides of the aisle, whether they realize it or not.
– Visit Zombie’s PJM blog here.
Romney by an electoral college landslide — more than 300 votes. The swing states will all swing the same way; Romney stuns Obama early in Pennsylvania, then cruises through Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.
Romney’s upper Midwest strategy pays off when bellwether Wisconsin pays back the Democrats for their recall treachery and delivers the state to the GOP.
The Republicans keep the House and narrowly retake the Senate, even without Todd Akin, who’s this year’s Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell rolled into one.
There are minor civil disturbances, quickly quelled. On Wednesday, the stock market goes up 300 points. Hiring booms. Flowers bloom. Pretty girls smile again. The sun comes out.
And we do it again four years later.
– Michael Walsh is weekly op-ed columnist for the New York Post and a regular contributor to National Review Online.
DR. HELEN SMITH
A few months ago, I felt depressed about the state of the country and figured that Obama would take the presidency. The country, I thought, was filled with too many people intent on entitlements and looking for a handout rather than those willing to take personal responsibility for themselves and their lives. Of course, at the other extreme are their enablers: those at the high end of society who have so much and live in such a bubble that they are shielded from or think they are shielded from too much government intervention. Either way, I had doubt in my fellow Americans to turn things around and lead our country back to its roots of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
My husband Glenn and I interviewed Mitt Romney on our old podcast shows a couple of times, and the first time I heard Governor Romney’s voice, I felt that he was a good guy. As I see him in action on the campaign trail, I feel that way more than ever. He wants Americans to have jobs, to keep more of what they earn, and to have the opportunity to grow their businesses and dreams in a free society. Obama, not so much.
That said, two people have changed my pessimism about the election. First, my husband Glenn, who has never wavered in his faith that Romney will win, even months and months ago when it seemed impossible. We were at dinner one night with an entrepreneur and reader of Glenn’s blog who said that Instapundit was the only place he could go that made it sound like Romney had a chance. Another place I turned for encouragement was Roger Kimball’s blog. He also believes that Romney will win and win big.
And now as I see the crowds and the momentum that Romney is building, I have hope that Romney might win, just as Glenn and Roger Kimball do. I am naturally a pessimist at times, but I predict (hope, pray?) that the American people will not let the great American experiment go down the drain that easily. I predict and hope for a Romney win.
But even if my prediction doesn’t happen, I take comfort in the knowledge that there are a great many people in this country who will continue to fight to keep the American dream alive and will not let one man and his enablers destroy the vision that has brought prosperity to so many.
As far as the GOP and the Senate races go, I don’t have a clue.
– Dr. Helen Smith is a forensic psychologist and a distinguished writer who has written for a variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
I think Obama is stronger than most conservatives think. If the president’s base were fully mobilized, he might win re-election despite his poor first-term record by 51-49. A recent poll showed that certain sectors, like ideological liberals, are really locked into him, and while other groups might be less loyal it is nevertheless the case that much of his base will vote for him because they “can’t vote for Romney.”
However, the confidence conservatives feel is real. But that confidence is based on the comparative difference in the motivations between the two sides this year. Obama’s supporters may be loyal, but they are dispirited. Their heart is no longer in the fight. Taking this into consideration, the probable popular result is probably 48-52, advantage Romney.
The Democrats know this and they are putting their trust in the discontinuous nature of Electoral College vote tallies and their “ground game.” If they can get the swing states, by any means necessary, then even the smallest of popular margins will give them all their electoral votes. Using this structural difference, they hope to edge Obama past Romney in EVs.
But in all of these calculations, everything depends on factors which cannot be accurately predicted. Just how energized are the conservatives? Just how dispirited are the liberals? Just how effective will the “ground game” be? Because the margins are so narrow and the true coefficients of the factors are only estimates, the election can “break” much more sharply than one might think.
Think of this as a pencil standing on its eraser. The forces unbalancing the pencil are very small, but when it tips it will go big either way.
If I were to guess, there’s a 50% chance it will be Romney by a squeaker, a 30% chance it will be Romney by a landslide, and a 20% chance Obama will pull it off. The House will stay with the GOP. The Senate is probably going to be retained by the Democrats. But in the event of a Romney landslide, there’s a small chance it will go to the Republicans.
The future is hard to predict, principally because it hasn’t happened yet.
– Richard Fernandez has been a software developer for nearly 15 years.
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS
Romney will win because Catholic voters, particularly in the belt from Harrisburg to Minnesota, break for Romney. Obama will lose the election because he invaded one of the most sacred American traditions — religious liberty. There will be a surprise or two for Romney in either Pennsylvania, Michigan, Iowa, or Wisconsin. The Senate, however, remains barely in Democrat hands. Lackluster candidates and lackluster campaigns in places like Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, and Montana keep the Senate 53-47 Democrat.
– J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice.
DAVID P. GOLDMAN
The Senate is virtually a lost cause due to Republican errors in Kansas and Indiana. The presidency is a toss-up. The crosswinds are too strong to calculate the vector sum. It is astonishing that Barack Obama, who did a terrible job on the economy and made no friends on any major issue, should have a chance at re-election. He is playing to fear. As Joe Biden put it ever so clearly in the VP debate, “Who do you trust” to keep the welfare coming? The number of Americans receiving some kind of means-tested federal support rose from 20% in 2008 to 32% today. Romney’s message of entrepreneurial revival may not resonate. Most of the entrepreneurs who took a shot during the past fifteen years were carried out in body bags. Venture capital has underperformed the traded indices by a huge margin. Corporate America is cartelized to an extent we have not seen since the 1950s. We are in the middle of an unprecedented retirement wave for which Americans are financially unprepared, after the 40% median per capita wealth decline of 2008-2012. And we have a burgeoning underclass that is white as well as black or Hispanic. Forty percent of all births in 2011 were outside of marriage. We don’t know to what extent Americans feel beaten. If they feel beaten, they will vote their fears and re-elect Obama, and the country’s decline will accelerate. I am hoping and praying for a Romney victory. But it’s beyond my capacity to forecast.
– David P. Goldman joined PJM after nearly 10 years of anonymous essaying at Asia Times Online and two years of editing and writing at First Things.
I very rarely make political predictions because predictions generally involve the future, and since the future hasn’t actually happened yet it’s often very difficult to know anything about it. If I were asked to predict the past, I wouldn’t hesitate.
What I do often do, however, is ask other people for their political predictions and listen carefully to the ones who have been right in the past. Whenever I have done that this fall, I have been told that the election will be very close and when the smoke clears Obama will have won by a small margin. Most of these people believe, in one way or another, either that human nature is such or that our culture has been degraded to the point that the majority will prefer promises of free stuff to actual freedom.
In fact, I do not believe this. I believe Mitt Romney is going to win by a fairly large margin. I believe this will happen because, ideology aside, Obama has done a bad job as president and everyone knows it, including the left, and Romney has made the case for himself.
So now you know everything I know. Don’t bet dinner on it. I already did that.
– Andrew Klavan is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and media commentator.
ION MIHAI PACEPA
There is no doubt in my mind that the overwhelming majority of Americans will vote for Mitt Romney. The United States became the leader of the world because of its successful capitalist economy, and most Americans will do everything in their power to protect their country’s free, capitalist market. Unfortunately there are more and more reports that some voting machines are changing Romney votes into Obama votes – the Chicago political machine is well-known for such shenanigans, as well as for “vote early and often.” For this reason, we may need the November 2012 and the November 2014 elections — when 33 of the 100 seats in the U.S. Senate will be challenged — in order to fully restore America’s traditional capitalism.
This brings me to our PJ Media. Not long ago it published an imperative editorial signed by its CEO, Roger Simon, titled “Changing Minds in Crunch Time.” That editorial might be even more timely now than it was then. The Democratic Party’s nomenklatura spent $5 trillion (with a T) to buy American votes for its socialist agenda, and we should therefore start a new offensive, this time aimed at helping all Americans understand that in the end the only thing socialism has left behind it are countries looking like trailer camps hit by a hurricane. All the leaders of the former socialist paradise countries have ended up in hell — all, from Trotsky to Stalin, from Tito to Zhivkov, Enver Hoxha to Mátyás Rakosi, Sékou Touré to Nyeree. All had their days of temporary glory, but all ended in eternal disgrace. Some, like Khrushchev and Ceausescu, were even found unworthy of having their final resting place marked by any gravestone. A few remnants, like Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, are still hanging on, but they certainly have a place reserved and waiting for them in the netherworld.
American essayist George Santayana, an immigrant like me, used to say that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
– Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc.