Good morning and welcome to the pre-election edition of O-pinion, the editorial board's blog.
We're less than 24 hours away from Election Day. National polls continue to show a very tight race. State polls show that President Barack Obama has a slightly more favorable map than Republican Mitt Romney.
What are the pollsters and pundits predicting? Our prediction below.
Let's start with the most-talked about poll cruncher, Nate Silver of the New York Times. His FiveThirtyEight blog's calculations, scorned by Republicans but very accurate in 2008, show Obama with an 86.3 percent chance of winning to Romney's 13.7 as of this morning. The electoral college prediction: 307.2 - 230.8.
The reason, says Silver, is simple: State polls don't lie. Historically, they are a remarkably accurate predictor of what happens on Election Day. With polls in critical states like Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Iowa tilting consistently toward Obama, a widespread statistical bias would have to exist for them to be wrong. Not impossible, Silver says, but not likely.
The Real Clear Politics roundup of polls has Obama leading narrowly 47.8-47.4 in national polls, but with a more comfortable 303-235 electoral college lead. Both RCP and FiveThirtyEight have Romney winning North Carolina.
For conservatives who believe the polls don't reflect a Republican enthusiasm that will be reflected in turnout, take heart in Republican-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports, which has Romney and Obama tied at 49 nationally and tied in Ohio - key to a Romney victory.
NYT liberal columnist Paul Krugman says it's stupid to call it a close race.
Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, says data and anecdotal evidence of enthusiam points to a Romney win.
Ben Domenech of the political blog The Transom predicts that Obama's failure with whites and independents will "sink" him. Romney 278-260, he says.
Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics says Obama 290-248.
Conservative blogger Eric Erickson of RedState says he wavers by the hour, but believes (at least as of Friday) that Romney will win Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Florida on his way to a 285-253 electoral college victory.
Time.com political guru Mark Halperin, on MSNBC's Morning Joe today, hints more than predicts:
The President’s team has plenty of enthusiasm. They clearly have a strong turnout operation. Their micro-targeting efforts are much more sophisticated than, I think, they’ve led us to believe so far. We will find out later. But if you’re a Republican and you want something to hang this on, enthusiasm, you go to the storm. You’re right. There are plenty of Republicans close to the Romney campaign who are saying, basically, if we lose this, it will be because of the storm. We’ll never know.The members of ABC's "This Week" roundtable largely favor Obama: GEORGE WILL - Romney: 321, Obama: 217; COKIE ROBERTS - Obama: 294, Romney: 234; RONALD BROWNSTEIN - Obama: 288, Romney: 250; MATTHEW DOWD - Obama: 303, Romney: 235; DONNA BRAZILE - Obama: 313, Romney: 225.
Dean Chambers of Unskewed Polls, which has contended that most presidential polling suffers from sampling errors, says Romney will win Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin on his way to a 311-227 romp.
The O-pinion projection? Conservatives should be encouraged by the comparative enthusiasm of the crowds at Romney rallies over the weekend. A promising sign for turnout in states like Ohio tomorrow? Maybe. But unless the polls are historically inaccurate, Obama has an unmistakeable edge in swing states. Obama 286, Romney 252. Here's our electoral map.
Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Peter St. Onge