by Lindsey Hubbart
Recently, a Huffington Post article written by Cenk Uygur claimed that the election is practically over and the voters have already decided that President Barack Obama will serve another term. He cites that the latest five polls have all shown Obama to have at least a five-point lead. Also, Romney is currently losing Ohio, which is significant because no one in the last 11 elections has won without winning Ohio.
However, I do not believe that the results of this election are set in stone yet. While Romney certainly has some work to do, he still stands a strong chance at winning this election. According to Dick Morris, former political advisor to Bill Clinton, much of the polling data is skewed in such a way to favor Obama. All polls are weighted to accurately represent the voting population, and usually the weights are determined based on the previous election’s results. Comparing previous elections to the last election, Morris writes, “blacks, for example, usually cast only 11% of the vote, but, in 2008, they made up 14% of the vote. Latinos increased their share of the vote by 1.5% and college kids almost doubled their vote share.” However, polls don’t show nearly the same enthusiasm for these groups this time around, but the polls are still weighted this way. Since these groups tend to favor Obama, the polls most likely overstate his margin.
Even though Obama is leading in the polls, Morris notes that he is usually ahead with less than 50 percent of the electorate. He writes that this is a positive sign for Romney because undecided voters tend to vote against the incumbent. For example, Morris notes that when Jimmy Carter was running for re-election, polls showed him winning with less than 50 percent of the vote, but those who were undecided ended up voting for Reagan, costing Carter the election.
Another indication that Romney still stands a chance is the Electoral College predictions from political scientists Kenneth Bickers and Michael Berry of the University of Colorado. They have used the same model since 1980 to predict the outcome every election. Their model predicts a win for Romney, with 325 electoral votes and 52.9 percent of the popular vote.
Finally, we have only had one debate so far, which ended favorably for Romney. In an article titled “Romney lands punches against subdued Obama”, Justin Sink and Amie Parnes of The Hill write, “Mitt Romney dominated the critical first presidential debate Wednesday night.” Even liberals, such as Chris Matthews, a news anchor on MSNBC, accused Obama of being too submissive. Although the debates are unlikely to sway voters who have firmly made up their minds, they can definitely have an impact on undecided voters. It is very important for both candidates to influence this group of voters, since the election will likely be very close.
We will continue to watch the election play itself out before Nov. 5. Romney definitely has an uphill battle to fight on his way to the White House, but it is too early to rule out a win.
Hubbart is a sophomore majoring in economics. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.