For us political geeks, this is our Super Bowl! And here’s how I see it playing out…
Barack Obama will be re-elected for a second term as President. His firewall of 271 Electoral Votes (including OH, PA, WI, and NV) will hold, even through recounts. The Senate will remain in the Democrats’s control, though they may lose one or gain one or two from their present count. The House will remain in GOP control. Despite the fact that 90% of Americans think congress is doing an awful job, a vast majority of incumbents – in both parties -- will be reelected. So called “Tea-Party” candidates who unseated incumbents in primaries will not fare very well.
Obama will barely win the popular vote (50.3%), though it will be weeks before that is ascertained, and by then few will care. Even if a low turnout gives Romney a slight (half a point or less) popular vote edge I believe Obama’s fire wall will hold for an electoral vote victory. In addition to his 271 base electoral votes, Obama could win up to an additional 61 electoral votes if: 1) he maintains his current momentum, 2) there are no last-minute October surprises, 3) the weather is good in Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire and Colorado on Election Day. If I had to pin it down, I’d say Obama takes Iowa and New Hampshire for a total of 281 EV’s, and sends Colorado and Virginia to recounts. But you can’t rule out a close race in Florida.
In CT, Murphy will win, but McMahon may do better than she did against Blumenthal. (But hopefully not well enough that she tries again!) Those looking for upsets in the CT Congressional races will be disappointed. But there may be some upsets and surprisingly close outcomes for incumbents in CT State seats, which I’m sure will be blamed on Dan Malloy and redistricting.
Here in Manchester, with no external polling data available, it’s hard to know if Cheri Pelletier will be able to match Chip Beckett’s vote plurality in Glastonbury from two years ago plus pick up enough votes in heavily Democratic Manchester to unseat popular incumbent Steve Cassano, even with the controversial and unsolicited help her candidacy received from a Fairfield County billionaire she’s never met or talked to. Or if business community support and name recognition are enough to make a difference in Tim Devanney’s uphill battle against the personable and strongly labor-endorsed Geoff Luxenberg. Redistricting, a strong record on locally important issues, and a weak opponent should make Jason Rojas an easy winner. And with 13-term incumbent Jack Thompson gone, and the district reconfigured, it will be interesting to see if Mark Tweedie can put the 13th back into play for the Republicans.
On referendums, the school renovations should win easily, but the library vote will be a lot closer. We’ll see if Manchester voters are ready to put the issue to bed rather than see the controversy continue for another two to four years. I’m looking for a razor-thin “Yes” majority, but won’t be surprised if it goes the other way. Ironically, the foes of the library expansion are split into three distinct groups that have very little in common. One group is against any additional bonding/taxes in a bad economy – they’d vote “No” on any spending (and usually come out in force in Presidential Election years). The second group will vote “Yes” on the schools, but want to see the park and the original Cheney building “preserved.” (For who and for what I could not tell you!) The third group actually wants an even bigger and more modern library built in another location (the old Parkade is often mentioned) which would require bonding about three times as much money as the renovation. These groups have collectively thrown out a long list of often contradictory objections (parking, crossing streets, view of the park as you drive by, DVD rentals and yoga classes, should be bigger/smaller, etc.) that have really muddied the issue – which, of course, was often their intent.
Happy Election Day!