(Providence, Rhode Island) – After nearly being blown off the New Bedford, Massachusetts, Hurricane Barrier and into Clark’s Cove during Hurricane Sandy, I am happy to be heading into safer, drier territory – Election Day! It ought to be interesting. As always, I do election predictions (not endorsements) the Sunday before. Here we go!
“Four More Years” – By my tally, President Obama will be reelected with 277 Electoral College votes to 261 for Mitt Romney. The deciding states are Ohio and Wisconsin, both of which I am calling for Obama. But, if Romney wins either one (he doesn’t need both), then Romney wins the White House. I am giving Romney Florida, Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire and North Carolina, all states Obama won in 2008. But it’s just not enough for the former Massachusetts Governor. Still, he may win the popular vote a la Gore v. Bush in 2000.
“Senate Surprises” – Democrats will keep the Senate, although I predict their margin will drop to 52-48. I always say the worst political wounds are self-inflicted – think Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Anthony Weiner and Mark Sanford, among the most famous cases. This year’s winners of the “Shoot Yourself in the Foot Award” go to Republican U.S. Senate candidates Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana. Without their ill-advised comments on rape, both probably would have won, and the GOP would control the Senate. Again, each was his own worst enemy. In other races, I predict Republican Scott Brown will lose to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts; Republican Tommy Thompson loses in Wisconsin to Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin; but Republican George Allen makes a comeback and wins Virginia, over Democrat Tom Kaine.
“House Keeping” – The Republicans will retain the U.S. House by a large margin and may even gain some Democratic seats. Here in Rhode Island, the 1st District – one of the most liberal in the nation – may go for Republican Col. Brendan Doherty, the retired head of the prestigious Rhode Island State Police. Why? Democratic Congressman David Cicilline remains haunted by the financial disaster in Providence at the end of his tenure as Mayor. Remember, this is Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s old seat. Anytime Republicans can claim a so-called “Kennedy Seat” in Congress, you know the incumbent party is in trouble.
“On the Other Hand” – But if my last statement is true, then why do I predict that Sen. Scott Brown, (R-MA), will lose his "Kennedy Seat" – the one held for almost half a century by Ted Kennedy? Scott Brown is one of the most moderate-to-liberal Republicans in Congress. It’s really the only way a Republican can win in Massachusetts. When Brown won a special election in January, 2010, it was the only race on the ballot, and he won over 70 percent of independents and even 24 percent of Democrats. But this time around there are a whole host of races, including the one for the White House. President Obama will win Massachusetts in a landslide, and his coattails are likely to pull fellow Democrat Elizabeth Warren into the Senate. But Brown will be back. He’d have a good shot at becoming Governor when Gov. Deval Patrick terms out in 2014. Also, John Kerry may become Secretary of State in a second Obama term, so another special Senate election in Massachusetts is possible. Don’t throw those Scott Brown yard signs out just yet!
“Special Assistance!” – So what happened in the last week of the campaign? Hurricane Sandy helped President Obama. Presidential at such a time is the person who is actually President. It’s the luck of timing. The same goes for the unemployment numbers that came out Friday. Sure they ticked up to 7.9 percent, but that is below the “magic” number of 8.0. As I said several weeks ago in this column, if unemployment should be 8.0 or higher, Obama loses. If it is 7.9 or lower, Obama wins. Again, it’s the luck of timing. The final factor is the “me, too” effect. In the waning weeks, we’ve only had about 3 percent of voters still undecided. When push comes to shove at the very end, some undecideds just want to jump on the bandwagon of the person they believe will be the winner. It’s akin to picking the winning horse at the track when the race is three-quarters over. Advantage Obama, especially in the swing states.
“The Fallout” - The world won’t end, folks. Every election I hear scores of people say they are leaving the country for Canada if their candidate loses. It never happens. Never! I’ve checked quadrennial immigration records for the past few decades, and no significant numbers of people ever leave the U.S. when the other side wins. It’s because they are still living in the greatest nation the world has ever known. To the winners, congratulations! To the losers, remember this: The two most productive administrations in the past 50 years in terms of economic growth and relative peace were under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, both of whom had to deal with a Congress run by the other party. Sometimes, divided government can work well. Maybe it will again!
As always, if you have questions, opinions or disagreements, just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com. And if I wind up wrong on my predictions, roast me right here next Sunday! Cheers!