THE NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE VS. THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
by Paul R. Hollrah. ©2012
(Oct. 5, 2012) — In a June 15, 2012 column I described a scenario in which Republicans could enjoy a landslide 367 to 171 victory in the Electoral College… clearly, an optimistic prediction. Conservatively, I estimated the Republican candidates would win at least 294 electoral votes to Obama’s 244.
However, a University of Colorado study published in August in the journal PS: Political Science & Politics, a study that has accurately predicted the Electoral College result in every presidential election since 1980, falls somewhere very close to my current estimate (see below).
The University of Colorado study predicts that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will win the national popular vote by 52.9% to 47.1% over Obama-Biden, producing a 320 to 218 vote landslide in the Electoral College. The University of Colorado model has been so accurate that it successfully predicted even the 2000 electoral outcome when the losing candidate, Al Gore, won the national popular vote. So how does the electoral situation look at this point in time? Let’s first evaluate the national popular vote.
In 2000, out of a total popular vote of 101,455,900, the Gore-Lieberman ticket took 50,999,900 votes (50.26%) to 50,456,000 (49.74%) for Bush-Cheney. In 2004, when 121,056,400 total votes were cast, Bush Cheney won the national popular vote by 62,028,300 (51.24%) to 59,028,100 (48.76%) over Kerry-Edwards. And in 2008, with a national popular vote of 128,895,500 votes, Barack Obama and Joe Biden took 69,298,000 (53.76%) to 59,597,500 (46.24%) for McCain-Palin.
Considering the enthusiasm factor among conservatives and Republicans… related more to the enmity they hold for Barack Obama than to their love and devotion for Mitt Romney… it is safe to assume that Romney-Ryan can expect to improve on the 2004 Bush-Cheney vote by at least 5%, bringing their 2012 vote to approximately 65,130,000.
On the other hand, given the loss of enthusiasm for Barack Obama among Roman Catholics (who are being forced to provide birth control and abortion services to employees, in violation of church doctrine), among blacks (who strongly oppose late term abortion and same-sex marriage), among the young (who find themselves saddled with large college loan balances, and no jobs), and among unionized coal miners (who find themselves unemployed because of Obama’s pledge to bankrupt coal-burning electric utilities), it is safe to assume that as many as 10% of those who enthusiastically voted for Obama in 2008 will abandon him in 2012. This will bring his 2012 vote total to roughly 62,368,200.
Romney-Ryan can be expected to win the national popular vote by 51.08%, to 48.92%.
So how do we evaluate the 2012 Electoral College vote?
It might be helpful to first establish the Obama and Romney baselines to help us predict the final outcome, identifying those states that are almost certain to end up in either the red column or the blue column. The Obama-Biden baseline (with electoral votes in parentheses) might appear as follows: California (55), Connecticut (7), District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (20), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (11), New York (29), Oregon (7), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (12), for a total of 165 electoral votes… 105 votes short of election.
The Romney-Ryan baseline is estimated as follows: Alabama (9), Alaska (3), Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Georgia (16), Idaho (4), Kansas (6), Kentucky (8), Louisiana (8), Mississippi (6), Missouri (10), Montana (3), Nebraska (5), North Dakota (3), Oklahoma (7), South Carolina (9), South Dakota (3), Tennessee (11), Texas (38), Utah (6), West Virginia (5), and Wyoming (3), for a total of 180 electoral votes… 90 votes short of election.
Of the remaining states, all of which are up for grabs, and all of which went for Obama in 2008, the states of Colorado (9), Florida (29), Indiana (11), Iowa (6), Maine (4), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), North Carolina (15), Ohio (18), and Virginia (13), with a total of 115 electoral votes, are likely to go for Romney… bringing his total to 295 electoral votes.
If so, and if Obama-Biden are able to hold onto Delaware (3), Michigan (16), Minnesota (10), New Jersey (14), New Mexico (5), Pennsylvania (20), and Wisconsin (10), they would accumulate an electoral vote of 243 votes.
However, it now appears that the states of Pennsylvania (20)… a major coal-producing state with a large Roman Catholic population… and Wisconsin (10)… where Gov. Scott Walker has given the Democrats and the unions a major whipping… may fall into the Romney-Ryan column. If they do, that would bring the final result to Romney-Ryan 325 and Obama-Biden 213. My prediction varies from the University of Colorado model by only 5 electoral votes.
These results, of course, are far afield from polling data broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week by every major TV and radio outlet, including Fox News, and all designed to discourage conservatives and Republicans, suppressing their desire to go to the polls in November. We all have husbands, wives, friends, and neighbors who walk around with glum expressions on their faces because the left wing propagandists have them all but convinced that Obama is a shoo-in for a second term. But that propaganda is all based on public opinion polls that are bogus, at best.
A recent study by the Pew Research Center tells us everything we need to know about public opinion polls. According to the Pew study, the reliance on polls by major news organizations has become so repulsive to voters that polling organization are finding fewer and fewer people who are even willing to talk to them. We find ourselves so inundated with polling data that few people say to themselves, as they once did, “I wish one of those pollsters would call me. I’d like to tell them what I think.”
The Pew study finds that, as recently as 1997, the number of households that pollsters were able to contact was 90% of total calls made. By 2012 that number has fallen to 62%. The remainder of the contact attempts resulted in either no answer or an immediate hang-up. However, it is in the area of cooperation… the willingness of adults contacted to submit to an interview… where we see the most dramatic change. While 43% of households reached in 1997 resulted in an interview, by 2012 that number had fallen to just 14%. As a percentage of total attempted contacts resulting in interviews, that number fell from 36% in 1997 to just 9% in 2012.
What this tells us is that the residents of 91% of the households that pollsters attempt to contact are not having their opinions recorded. Looking at the data another way, 38% of the targeted individuals either did not answer the telephone or hung up immediately; 53% were contacted, but refused to submit to an interview when they learned the purpose of the call; while only 9% of the numbers called were fully cooperative and answered the pollster’s questions.
It is the opinions of that 9% of our population that are driving the endless stream of expert talking-head commentary that focuses on nothing more than what the polls are telling us.
Is it any wonder that a recent Gallup poll, attempting to measure the level of trust placed in major media, provides results that should cause almost every reporter and commentator to begin to think in terms of finding a new line of work?
The Gallup poll showed that, in 2001, 66% of Democrats, 52% of Independents, and 39% of Republicans had “a great deal of” or “a fair amount of” trust in the mass media. That trust has remained relatively constant only among Democrats, falling only 8 points to 58% in 2012. Among Independents the level of trust has fallen by 41%, from 52% to 31%. And among Republicans, the level of trust in the media has fallen by a third, from 39% to 26%.
So the question arises, who are those people, the 9% who agree to answer questions put to them by a total stranger on the telephone? Is it the elderly woman who finds that almost all of her friends have passed on and she is so lonely that she is willing to talk to almost anyone? Is it the elderly man who is so cantankerous that his own children refuse to talk to him? Is it the nerdy 25-year-old who feels as if no one has ever asked his opinion about anything?
Nevertheless, when it becomes clear on the evening of November 6 that Mitt Romney has won at least 34 states with 295 electoral votes, and that Republicans have increased their numbers in the House of Representatives and achieved a 55-seat majority in the U.S. Senate, the country will undergo an almost instantaneous transformation. Businesses, large and small, looking forward to a future of economic certainty, will begin to announce hiring and expansion plans and many of those with offshore capital reserves will make plans to repatriate those funds.
We may not see the oceans begin to fall, but we will most certainly see the country begin to heal.