OutServe Magazine’s Election Predictions
Races and Ballot initiatives to Watch
By Eddy Sweeney
Is it just me or does it seem like the 2012 campaign has been going on since the founding of our esteemed Republic? As a self-professed political junkie, who spends any spare moment frantically checking Twitter, the Political Wire, or Real Clear Politics for new polling updates, even I’m exhausted. But alas, in less than 24 hours, the results of this year’s historic election will finally be revealed.
OutServe Magazine will not formally endorse candidates for political office or represent any political party in these pages. But we do realize that our readers have a keen interest in politics and thus will provide a medium for those who want to know what to look for on Tuesday to see how (their) political party might end up. Below are a list of key ballot initiatives and races that will help determine which party will control both the White House and Congress this coming January.
It is widely assumed among both Democrats and Republicans alike, that the Democrats will fall far short of the 25 House seats they need to regain control of the lower chamber. According to the Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza, it seems likely that the Democrats will make only marginal inroads, with gains in the House likely to be in the mid-single or low double digits. Based on the current predictions, our magazine predicts Republicans will maintain control of the House.
If you were to ask any political observer a year ago about the chances of the Senate switching parties, most would tell you that the Republicans were sure to wrest control of the chamber in the 2012 election. Part of the reason for this is based on pure math: because of strong Democratic gains in 2006, the Democrats are defending 23 Senate seats to the Republican’s 10. Furthermore, the states that the Democrats are defending seats in are mostly red or swing states, such as Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Florida, Virginia, and North Dakota.
However, due to a series of major political gaffes (Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments in August in the Missouri race), unexpected retirements (Olympia Snowe in Maine), or divisive primaries that forced out establishment Republicans in lieu of Tea Party conservatives (Indiana), it seems that the Democrats will cling to their majority…barely. In order for the Republicans to wrest control of the Senate, they need to win a net gain of four seats (if President Obama is reelected) or three (if Governor Romney is elected, with the VP breaking the 50/50 tie). Due to the above-mentioned events and Democrats running a stronger than expected campaign in many of the States alluded to above, our magazine predicts control of the Senate is likely to remain in Democratic hands.
Despite the constant campaigning, money, and debates, the race is essentially where it started off back when Governor Romney won the Republican primary; tied, with President Obama the slight favorite. Since the winner in our system is the person who receives 270 electoral votes and not the majority popular vote, it’s instructive to look at the key swing states to tease out who might emerge victorious on election night.
Anyone with an active pulse will know that the most hotly competitive states this cycle are Ohio, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, and Wisconsin in that order. There are others (Nevada, North Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) but they are likely already in either President Obama or Governor Romney’s column. During election night, key indicators on which way the election will go ultimately rest, in my opinion, on three states: Virginia, Florida, and Ohio.
If President Obama wins any of those three states, he is almost guaranteed reelection. For Governor Romney, he needs to win all of those states in order to win (based on current state by state projections), arguably a much tougher challenge. President Obama could lose Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, and even New Hampshire, and still win. Governor Romney clearly has the tougher path to 270. Due to these constraints, this magazine predicts a second term for President Barack Obama.
Other things to watch
Four states will be considering the issue of same-sex marriage; Maine, Maryland, Washington, and Minnesota. In three states it will be for an affirmative position on the issue, and in one (Minnesota) the ballot initiative seeks to define marriage in the Minnesota constitution as between a man and a woman.
Wisconsin might be the first state to elect an open lesbian to the United States Senate in Representative Tammy Baldwin. Rep. Baldwin is currently locked in a dead heat with former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Massachusetts might elect the House’s first openly gay Republican in its 6th Congressional district Tuesday, Richard Tisei. Tisei is looking to unseat Rep. John Tierney (D-MA), current polling suggests a tight race with Tisei holding the advantage.