• Could we see a split popular vote-Electoral College outcome?
• And could the carnage from Sandy influence the outcome?
One week out from the election, the Real Clear Politics average of national polls shows Mitt Romney leading by a slight percentage in the national popular vote. However, the closer we draw to the election, the less relevant the popular vote is.
By almost every other yardstick out there, President Obama is leading in the Electoral College — the tally that matters. Barring a big influence on the election by Hurricane Sandy in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he appears destined for re-election next Tuesday with something like 290 electoral votes.
Over at Five Thirty Eight Blog, prognosticator Nate Silver rates Obama’s chances of re-election at just under 73 percent. That’s because on Friday, 10 days out from the election, Obama seemed to have durable polling-average leads in the 11 of the all-imporant “swing” states, while Romney seemed ahead in only four. Silver has a detailed analysis of how improbable it would be for Romney to overcome this advantage.
If Obama wins re-election while Romney edges him in the national popular vote, it would mark a reversal of what happened in 2000, when the Democratic nominee, Al Gore, pulled about 500,000 more votes nationally than Republican George W. Bush. Bush won the Electoral College and the White House with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that named Bush the winner in Florida.
And rather than put to rest a lot of the incredibly partisan crap we’ve seen, it would probably make the nation even more hyper partisan, as Republicans hurl cries that deny the president’s legitimacy and dig their heels in even harder.
At that point, the interesting thing will be “fiscal cliff” this nation is facing as a result of the failure of the White House and Congressional Republicans to reach a compromise on spending and taxes in 2011.
Recall, the White House and Democrats were willing to compromise in those negotiations, with most of the deficit reductions managed via cuts in spending and a small proportion of them handled via tax increases on the wealthy.
But the Republicans said, “No way!” they would only agree to spending cuts. It was their way or the highway. That amounted to economic treason, with them holding the nation’s economy and credit rating hostage.
If the “automatic” cuts are instituted, it will certainly throw this country into another recession, if not a depression. The question is, is that the outcome the Republicans truly want?
For that reason, it’ll be interesting to watch the future votes of western Virginia’s members of Congress:” Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R- Roanoke County; Morgan Griffith, R-Salem; and Robert Hurt, R-Pittsylvania.
If Obama wins, will they and the other GOP members of Congress follow their leaders over that fiscal cliff? Or will they pull back at the edge of it in a last-second display of sanity?
And if they go over, will it be out of spite, for losing the election? I for one, hope that doesn’t happen. But it appears more and more likely that the House has a Jonestown-style leadership that’s willing to take the whole country down if they don’t get want.