Monday, November 5, 2012

How the Romney Campaign Believes It Can Win the Presidency

By Toby Harnden

Based on conversations with the Romney campaign, including a frank discussion with a senior Romney adviser, here's how they see the Republican nominee winning.

Of course, campaign aides spin reporters because they want their optimistic scenarios to become part of a media narrative that helps drive voters. They are also part of a self-reinforcing campaign bubble in which belief in eventual victory is a prerequisite of getting through gruelling days.

But the adviser quoted here, who correctly identified to me weeks beforehand that the first debate would be a game-changing moment for Romney, has always predicted a very close race and is honest enough to identify states such as Nevada which Romney probably won't win.

If we look at the 2008 electoral college map, when Obama beat Senator John McCain by an electoral college landslide of 365 to 173 (and seven percentage points in the popular vote), we can view the terrain on which the 2012 contest is being fought.

States of the nation: How the voting battleground could shape up coast to coast according to a round up of the latest polls
States of the nation: How the voting battleground could shape up coast to coast according to a round up of the latest polls

Looking back at the 2008 electoral college map, when Obama beat Senator John McCain by an electoral college landslide of 365 to 173 (and seven percentage points in the popular vote), we can view the terrain on which the 2012 contest is being fought.

The distribution of electoral college votes (which are based on congressional districts and U.S. Senate seats) has changed slightly in 2012. Because of the changes, Obama's advantage has shrunk to 359 to 179 in the electoral college. The winner needs 270 votes. So for Romney to win, he needs to take 91 electoral college votes from the states that Obama won in 2008.

We can immediately give one vote in Nebraska (based on winning a congressional district) and 11 in Indiana to Romney. Obama is not campaigning for those. Next up is 15 in North Carolina. Obama won it by just 14,000 votes in 2008 and early voting patterns indicate he's probably going to lose there.

Then we have Florida - its 29 votes are a huge prize. The latest Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald poll has Obama being crushed by six points there. That's the next state Romney needs. The Romney adviser was very confident, telling me: 'North Carolina's baked. Florida's baked.'

From there, it gets more difficult. Virginia, with 13 votes, is tighter than Florida but, again, early voting patterns suggest Romney will win it, though not by much. The Romney adviser said that 'Virginia's baked' though he added that it was 'much closer than Florida'.

At this point, the Obama campaign would be really sweating. But so too would Romney's team. We'd be down to Ohio, just as President George W. Bush was in 2004. This year, it has 18 electoral college votes.

If Romney bags Ohio, he's on 266 electoral college votes and has multiple opportunities to get the four more he needs. Colorado's nine, New Hampshire's four, Iowa's six and Wisconsin's 10 look most likely. It's very hard to see Romney winning Florida, Virginia and Ohio and Obama keeping the White House.

Romney's aides seem very bullish about Iowa - more so, even, than Colorado, where they say he took a hit in their internal polling with women independents after Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy. The latest Des Moines Register poll gives Obama a five-point advantage. But the Romney campaigns that the same poll put Obama up 17 in 2008 and he won the state by 10 points.

Privately, the Romney campaign has effectively conceded Nevada, which has six votes. 'Nevada, we'll probably fall short,' said the Romney adviser. 'That's just tough.' Romney hasn't travelled there since October 24th, just as Obama has stayed away from North Carolina.

More remarkably, the adviser said that Minnesota, 10 votes, and Pennsylvania, 20 votes, were distinct possibiities. He even predicted a possible win in Minnesota.

Pennsylvania is intriguing. There's a Susquehanna poll that puts the two candidates dead level. Obama has to be a heavy favourite - no Republican presidential candidate has won there since George H.W. Bush in 1988
But the Obama campaign has sent Bill Clinton to do four events in Pennsylvania on the eve of election day. After Obama himself - and perhaps even ahead of Obama - Clinton is their most valuable campaign resource. There is clearly some worry there.

So that's the electoral college arithmetic. There is not too much difference between the way the two campaigns view it.

Read the rest here.


  1. I had thought Obama was going to win all along, but the way things are breaking now I think Romney is going to take it and the banksters will get their way, as they almost always do.

    I say that from looking at the numbers of how far down the early voting numbers are for Obama. He still has a chance to pull out Ohio, but the fact that he is sending Bubba to Penn and that he is spending time in WI shows that things are very close there. If Romney wins Penn, MN, or WI, then I don't think Obama wins this since everyone assumed from day one that he would win them all.

    There is going to be massive voter fraud on both sides, as usual, but the GOP may have the edge here. Look at how easily they cheated Ron Paul out of votes in places like Iowa, so if they can pull off the same thing, then it will be a slam dunk win. I actually think Romney would probably win at this point even if it was a totally fair election

  2. Ron Paul primary vote totals rounded down in the states mentioned, not including caucus states since those numbers don't represent popular vote:

    MI: 115,000
    NH: 56,000
    IA: 26,000
    PA: 106,000
    NC: 108,000
    OH: 113,000
    VA: 107,000
    WI: 87,000
    FL: 117,000

    Not to mention how well Paul did and is favorably viewed in Nevada and Minnesota in their caucuses. The GOP could literally win enough of the above swing states to win the election with all other things equal if they had these Paul voters. Paul's votes were far more valuable than a typical GOPer in the primary because a huge percentage of his votes came from independents, Dems, and people who typically don't even vote like myself.

    How many millions would those votes be worth to the GOP right now?

    1. A Paul win would mean a loss for the GOP machine. It would have decimated their power and influence.

      Head to head with Obama I believe Dr Paul would have won 45 of the 50 states- the anti war, anti-DC message alone would have countered the parasite class.

    2. Oh, of course they would do anything to stop Paul. During the course of the debates and the campaign issues being brought up, I kept thinking just how Obama was even more vulnerable than I had previously thought but Romney either flip flopped on the same issue or agreed with Obama.

      I would have loved to have seen tv ads or questions during the debate for the 'fact checkers' about the NDAA, drone strikes, killing a 16 year old US citizen and minority, the drug war and medical marijuana, drone strikes on civilians, warrantless searching and wiretaps, etc - basically every single issue that obama flip flipped on from 08. Look at how freaked out politicians, obama supporters, and media figures get when wearechange asks about obama's kill list and the NDAA!

      Paul would have destroyed obama in a head to head race, and that is despite paul's lack of smooth speaking ability. This is more clear to me than ever.

  3. 11:01, I think the banksters win regardless.

    1. In the short run, but in the long run we are all not only dead as Keynes said, but the genie was also let out with this year's Paul campaign. Too many people know the truth now to stop them in the future.

  4. Where are those Paul numbers from? Those can't be the numbers from the Republican primaries can they? They seem far too large for that.

    1. Go to wiki and google and look it up. I was also shocked at how many votes Ron Paul got when compiling this data. You would have never, ever guessed Paul received this many votes from the MSM/foxnews/talk radio coverage of his campaign. He had over 2 million votes in the primaries!


      You can scroll through and see the vote totals. Honestly even as a Paul fan the numbers are pretty shocking. He received basically 200k votes in California alone, for instance. 174k in Texas, too.

      Only The Stupid Party, as Sam Francis used to call them, would have gone out of their way at the convention to discredit someone who did so well in swing states with independents, dems, and non traditional voters that are more than enough to shift the entire race over to one side.

    3. I was the original anonymous poster and I am absolutely amazed by those numbers. I have been admittedly lazy and fairly apolitical and didn't follow the primary closely (not a registered R so can't vote in them in my state). But that is great news. Happy to see so many people made the "correct" choice this primary season.

    4. I am with you 100%. I actually followed the campaign, volunteered for Ron over the phone, and voted for Ron in my state, and am still shocked at just how many votes he received. 2 million in a crooked system where you have to be a registered GOP member is amazing! Think of how many supporters who aren't registered GOP or don't vote he has? At least two or three million more at the bare minimum.

  5. Photos from Romney rally in VA.
    Photos from Obama rally in WI.

    Proves nothin'...still...

  6. Every minute spent thinking about politics is a minute lost.

  7. "more so, even, than Colorado, where they say he took a hit in their internal polling with women independents after Obama's handling of Hurricane Sandy."

    How did he "handle" it, other than fly in, pose for the cameras, spout off some platitudes, and then leave? Meanwhile, the people there are suffering mightily?

    Just add one more example to the many that proves that voting is totally worthless.

    R: NC, FL
    O: OH, NH, PA, MI, NV

    This is exclusive from Drudge a few minutes before 6pm up on his site....