Cross-posted from Wallwritings
With less than three months left before voters decide between President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, Obama has a strong lead in the latest Politico poll figures.
Politico identifies 10 swing states that will most likely decide the 2012 election. Obama leads in nine of them: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Romney leads Obama by one percent in the swing state of North Carolina.
If these swing vote states hold up in an election that requires 270 out of 538 electoral votes to win a majority, Obama would gain 111 electoral votes to Romney's 15. States that appear solid or leaning for Obama give him an addiitional 221 electoral votes. Romney's solid or leaning state electoral votes total 191. These figures add up to 332 for Obama and 206 for Romney, more than enough to give Obama the winning total.
A major reason we might safely assume these numbers will hold up can be found in an ABC-Washington Post poll which found that only 40 percent of voters "hold a favorable view of Romney." In a late May poll, that number was 41, suggesting a downward trend. Low favorability numbers this late in the campaign does not portend well for the challenger.
Romney's unfavorable rating increased from May to August by four percentage points, an increase from 45% to 49%. Say what you will about their actions in office (and I would have many unfavorable things to say about the damage they did), Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were "liked" by a majority of the voting public, enough to help bring them to the White House.
Michael Tomasky, writing for Newsweek's The Daily Beast, predicts a possible Obama landslide in November. Tomansky points to a winning trend, beginning with Pennsylvanis's shift from a swing state to a strong or leaning Obama state.
"There's a secret lurking behind everything you're reading about the upcoming election, a secret that all political insiders know -- or should -- but few are talking about, most likely because it takes the drama out of the whole business. The secret is the electoral college, and the fact is that the more you look at it, the more you come to conclude that Mitt Romney has to draw an inside straight like you've never ever seen in a movie to win this thing. This is especially true now that it seems as if Pennsylvania isn't really up for grabs. Romney's paths to 270 are few.
"First, let's discuss Pennsylvania. There has been good reason for Democrats to sweat this state. True, Obama won it handily in 2008, by 10 points. But it's a state that is older and whiter and more working-class than most of America. Obama benefited from all the unique circumstances of 2008 that helped him across the country, but if ever there were a state where the "well, we gave the black guy a chance and he blew it" meme might catch on, it's the Keystone State."
In Pennsylvania the incumbent Obama benefits from a jobless rate of 7.5 percent, well bellow the national average. In addition, the Republican national strategy to suppress voting by minorities has run into a judicial roadblock in Pennsyvlania.
"This odious voter ID law is facing meaningful challenges. A hearing on the law's validity has just been concluded. A state judge says he'll rule on the law's constitutionality the week of Aug. 13. It sounds as if the law's opponents made a stronger case at the hearing than its supporters. In any case, the losing side will appeal to the state Supreme Court."
The one thing that could seriously halt an Obama landslide would be interference by outside forces. That may well have been the case with the Iranian government in the Carter-Reagan election in 1980. Whether Republican campaigners made a secret deal with Iran to hold American hostages until after the election, is still hotly debated.
But the fact that the hostage release was timed by Iran to fall on Reagan's 1981 inauguration day offers strong circumstantial evidence that the Iranians did not want Carter to get any credit for negotiating the hostage release. A release of the hostages prior to the election would have greatly enhanced Carter's chances of reelection.
Gary Sick's book, October Surprise, offers strong support to the belief that Reagan's campaign staff interfered in delicate international matters for their own partisan political reasons.
Is Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offering Mitt Romney another October Surprise? His bellicose threats to attack Iran would impact the election, even as it set in motion a series of events destructive to the region.