Friday, April 13, 2012

The unlevel playing field:
Mitt's long odds.

Let us assume Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.  It was pretty much a done deal before Sick Rantorum dropped out, and now it's as close to a stone cold lock as you can get without being at exactly 100.0000%.

He needs a miracle to become president.

Let us recall that Barack Hussein Obama did not beat John Sidney McCain by a narrow margin.  McCain got WHOMPED, beaten to within an inch of his life, horse-whipped like a red-headed stepchild.

This is the electoral map as it stood at the end of 2008.  The Republicans can look back to the two elections they won in 2000 and 2004, but the picture doesn't get much prettier.  There were 41 contests that either went all Democratic or all Republican in the last three elections.  Since we have to count the District of Columbia, that means 10 states in the last three elections are "up for grabs" in 2012. The number in parentheses is the electoral votes in that state in 2012, some of which changed from the 2008 numbers due to the 2010 census.

2 Democratic wins, 1 Republican win:
New Hampshire (4)
New Mexico (5)
Iowa (6)

2 Republican wins, 1 Democratic win:
Nevada (6)
Colorado (9)
Indiana (11)
Virginia (13)
North Carolina (15)
Ohio (18)
Florida (29)

So far, the story doesn't seem too hopeless, except that all the "1 Democratic win" states are actually "1 Obama win".

Okay, that's less hopeful.

So is this.

2012 electoral votes in states won by Democratic candidates in 2000, 2004 and 2008: 242
2012 electoral votes in states won by Republican candidates in 2000, 2004 and 2008: 180

Obama needs 28 of the 116 "up for grabs" electoral vote to win outright. Romney will need 90 to win outright, and 89 to make it a tie and throw it into the House of Representatives. Let's throw poor Mitt a bone and assume the House stays Republican and Mitt wins if the electors go 269-269. 

If we assume the states all the "up for grab" states are about 50-50, there are 1024 equally likely outcomes and Obama wins 929 times and Romney wins 85 times. That's 91.6% to 8.4%, or pretty close to 11::1 for Obama.

Let's be kinder to Mittens and say he has 2/3 of a chance to win the states Bush won both times, but only 1/3 of a chance if Bush lost a state either in 2000 or 2004.  Obviously, his overall odds have to improve because the 2 to 1 Republican states outnumber the 2 to 1 Democratic states both in number and in electoral votes.

Are my Republican readers (if they exist) sitting down?  This changes the odds to 76.5% to 23.5%, or roughly 13::4 for Obama.

And here's the worse news.

The demographics for the Grumpy Old (mostly white and male) Party are going the wrong way. Even if they could find a dream candidate like George W. Bush, a dry drunk who the Republican electorate decided was "a guy with whom they would like to share a beer", they have to face an electorate that is less white than it was in 2000.

And now the Republican standard bearer is Willard Mitt Romney, a guy who has all the stiffness of Michael Dukakis and John Kerry combined.  Maybe he has unplumbed depths I can't see, but he looks like exactly the candidate the rabid base of the Republican Party never wanted to see holding the flag.

It's April, close to seven full months away from the general.  A week can make a massive difference in politics nowadays. I make no certain statement as to the outcome, but it is uphill for the Republicans. The only question is how steep.

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